Teachers LOVE Words Their Way!

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The Question:
We are starting Words Their Way next year in kindergarten. Does anyone else have this program? Any insights?
The Answers:
Melissa
 Yes, please fill us in! We are also starting the same spelling program next year in K. Looks like a ton of copying, cutting and organizing!!
Michelle
Practice, practice, practice! set up routines early!!
Noelle
 Small groups if possible! I don’t do it anymore with my class of 28 with no help.
Jennifer
 I changed the order that I teach the lessons and also individualize for my students! Organize and set expectations for kids early.
Kristina
I love it. Kids lOve it. I only do the copies they do all the cutting and sorting. Create small groups like guided reading. It works great
Barbara
 I love it! By the end of the year the kids have memorized their routines and know exactly how to cut, put the headers at the top, and sort. I do send a second copy home each week so my students can practice at home too. I tried sending my copy back and forth, but too many got lost and it made me grumpy. We have a spiral notebook that the kids glue their sorts into on Fridays. We had a teacher from UVA come and give us a couple of training sessions- that was really helpful too. I don’t do the sorts out of order though- I do pre and post test the kids. I have the Gansky set of sorts too for kids who didn’t master the skill the first time around and need a different sort to practice.
Jennifer
 Love it!!! Set routines early and they can do it. I see a big difference in the classes that use it (in order) and those that don’t.
Margaret
Thanks for the comments! It seems like (so far) everyone likes it!
Kat
Make sure you give each student a number or color. They can write their number on the front or back of each card before they cut. So when someone loses a card you know whose it is! Love this program!!
 Also, copy each sort on a different color card stock and laminate for a great review word work station!
Jenness
Start out the beginning of the year with everyone doing the same sort so that they get the hang of it. Then you can start doing the spelling inventory assessment mid-year and differentiate for your students. Practice it maybe during reading groups. I would cut the sort for them because it takes too long for k students to cut.  We put their sort each week in a little manilla envelope with their names on it and send home on a certain day each week to practice as homework. If kids are doing the same sort, color the back of each sheet a different color just with a crayon so that if one word gets dropped on the floor, they don’t mix it up with the person sitting beside them.
Andrea
 Monday: introduce sort and practice in a group.
 Tuesday: they color (scribble on the back, each a different color) and cut and if they have time they practice sort. (The color on the back is great for when cards get left out, you know whose it is)
Wednesday: practice sorting, check their work and glue sort down.
Thursday: “brain sort” which is what I call the part where they have to either think of something that begins with the letters that were in the sort for the week (lower group) or write down a list of words that are part of the word families they studied that week (higher group)
This was my first year with WTW and its been good. I could probably do it better, but that’s what worked for us this year!
Cyndi
This was our first year with it, and the three things that really helped me were:
A) don’t overwhelm yourself by having too many groups. For the picture sort starters, do everyone together, then, as you test your kids and determine their individual levels, split up your groups.
B) Don’t do more than 3 groups for sanity purposes until you really, really feel comfortable (and your kids all know their routine for each morning of the week), and even then, don’t do more than 4 groups.
C)  Have groups sorted by different colors of photocopied sorts (I do green, yellow, and peach). b) Constantly remind yourself that reading skill is different from writing skill. That has never been more evident to me than it is now that we do WTW.
My highest comprehending reader is not even in my top 3 kids for writing.  Remember that you can always start a child lower and move them up… it is much harder to move a kid backwards (and a sort being too hard to understand is awful on their self-esteem).
Oh, and also, the KSI and the PSI are good to have as a guideline, but after I administer those, if a kid sometimes has the short o sound, but other times doesn’t, I give them another evaluation so that I can see if it’s really that they don’t understand the sound completely, or if it’s a word that they’ve heard mispronounced all their lives (like when kids write jress for dress). Enjoy!
Angie
LOVE, LOVE LOVE Words their Way! I have noticed such a difference in my students’ phonological growth by using the picture sorts at the beginning of kdg. This is one of the best word programs out there! We do individual sorts, but then I copy, back on construction paper, and laminate sorts to use for one of our word work jobs during daily five…. this allows the kids to review all the sorts we’ve done.
Rachelle
Love it!!!!  Very developmentally appropriate in very NOT developmentally appropriate times!!!
Randy
 I like it…not sure about using every step …many of my kids just did not need so much of each thing…but still love the idea and the strategies…but I was picky about what we did
Susan
 Get LOTS of glue sticks! Use the concept sorts to teach the students how to do the sorts, find the headings etc. You can do this in small groups or practice on the SMARTboard in whole groups until you have time to test your students. Limit the number of groups to three or you will go crazy. Going slow at first is faster in the long run.
Anita
 Don’t feel you need to get through a sort every week. Feel free to spread them out over 2 or even three weeks if your kids need it. Spend time letting the kids do the games and various activities throughout your language arts time. Focus on the patterns…
Julie
It is good. Buy the resource book for yourself and read up on it (in your free time). Try a book club so you can discuss, begin and get organized.
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