I'm so excited about this Chapter. I've replayed and adjusted and maneuvered how word work is going to look and function in my classroom. All this thinking and pondering usually happens in the middle of the night when I'm in a dead sleep and wake up to an A-HA moment. Does this happen to anyone but me? Well, I've learned to sleep with a notebook next to my bed and as a result, I think I have a pretty good plan of action.
First of all, I like the idea of being an area where students can CHOOSE what they would like to work on. In order to accomplish this, I am going to start out with 6 activities for students to choose from and probably expand it to 9.
I plan on housing them in Steralite drawers like these that I currently use for my math stations. These are big enough to house almost anything I have and big enough that I can put differentiated activities in them. Students can easily pull them in and out so they are great for maintaining independence.
Will my stations always be the same? Probably not ALWAYS (I get bored when things are always the same and if I'm bored then I know my kids are too.) I know that there will be times when I want to add different skills or manipulatives. So for that reason I don't necessarily want to affix a permanent picture label to the front of my drawers. Instead, I will probably be affixing them with velcro so I can easily change them as needed.
When I start planning for differentiating word work I want to have a good plan of action so I created this planning sheet to guide me. Of course, I'm going to doing on-going assessment to know where my kiddos are and the skills which they need more practice. I like to tier by color because I can simply write my kinders names on an orange, blue or green laminated card and they know which envelope, bag or bin from which they need to work. Because the cards are laminated, I can adjust quickly and easily as needed or as skills change.
So back to my planning template:
With differentiated instruction, we are always working toward a core principle or concept and I want to be mindful of that so I have an area to write that down on my plan. Then there is a spot for me to write down the name of the activity and three areas of tiering. Sometimes I tier for two and some activities aren't tiered at all. That's OK. You don't have to tier everything. I also quite often will add a little code for multiple intelligences and learning styles in the corner so that I know I am being mindful of my student's different learning profiles. You don't want to have only spatial activities or only logical activities. Make sure you have a wide variety to appeal to all your learners.
Ok so let me show you a completed example.
Before I give you an explanation of each of these, let me just say. It's pretty much impossible for me to know at this point how I will tier my stations. That something that comes as you assess your students and figure out what skills and concepts they need to work on. I could very well end up with students who have already mastered all there letter sounds and be onto segmenting short cvc words or they could be ready to start their Dolch (I call them BALL Words) word study. If that's the case, this template would look very different. Still, students would be completing the same activities, just working on different skills and concepts. Ok that being said . . .
Here's a short explanation of each station and how (if) they are tiered:
Station 1. Wild For Write The Room.
Station 2. Top Bananas Letter Recognition I-Spy
Station 3. Banana Splits Letter Game
Station 4 See-Bead-Write
This is a self-correcting (can't get much more independent than this) letter recognition activity where students string letter beads (Does anyone else have a bunch of letter beads lying around their room?) in sequence and then write the sequence below. (There is also a CVC-CVCC/CCVC version of this activity in my store as well and a Dolch word version coming.) The activity has cards for either lowercase or capital letter beads so you can use whatever beads you might have lying around your room. It appeals to your kinesthetic learners and IS excellent for strengthening fine motor which I can never get enough of at the beginning of the year.
Station 5. Top Banana Letters In A Bottle
Top Banana Letters in a Bottle is another activity from my TOP BANANAS unit. Students search for letters in the bottle. When they find one, they circle whether it is a capital or lowercase letter and then write the letter on their recording sheet.
Station 6. Buggy for Rhymes
This is a free activity that you can use for rhyming in your sensory/sand table. I like to use my sandtable for other things besides sand. Of course you can always just throw the cards in a bucket if you don't have a sand table readily available. Students match up the rhyming pictures and pin them together. Musical and kinesthetic intelligences will love this and, of course, it's great fine motor practice.
Station 7. Play-doh
Because so many of them still need to strengthen those hand muscles and because they just love it so, I almost always have some kind of play-doh activity. Whether it's making letters on letter mats out of play-doh or stamping play-doh with letter stamps. There are alot of free resources out there for play-doh. This is just a little free one I made up for my play-doh stampers. If you'd like it go ahead and click on the picture to get it.
Station 8 Pokey Pins.
This is not one of my products but I love it so that I will be including it in my word work stations this fall. It is an activity from Mrs. Miners Monkey Business store. Students use little push pins to reinforce different concepts AND, of course, it's GREAT fine motor. The set I have includes letters, letters and sounds, and site words. So it will last me for most of the year. If you would like to check it out, you can click on the picture to get more information.
Station 9 Top Banana Slap
This is another activity from my Top Banana unit where students use flyswatters (I also do this on the floor with beanbags) to slap the letter or letter sound that is called out. I usually save this center for a volunteer to run if I have one for that particular day.
If there isn't a volunteer, then students can do another letter sorting activity called Monkey Vines (from my Top Bananas unit). Students sort letters by CAPITALS or Lowercase, In my name/Not In my Name, or short, tall and in the basement and pin them to a vine (rope) hanging from the ceiling or between two chairs.
So that's my plan. Students will get to choose which station to complete when they have a Word Work day. I'll keep track of who has gone where by having a check sheet on a clipboard like this.
When they go to station 2 they put an X under station 2 next to their name. That way they know and I know which stations they can choose from next time they go to Word Work. My plan is to change the stations up every 2 weeks.
Some of the Word Work Stations will have specific spots where the activities need to be completed such as play-doh needs to be at a table or Banana Splits is played at a pocket chart, but there are also many activities that can be played either on the floor and they will be able to choose.
I'm excited to see what everyone else has lined up for their Word Work, so I'll be linking up and I hope you do to. Just head on over to Kreative in Kinder for Word Work and Little Miss Kindergarten for Writing.