Saturday, October 5, 2013

Words Their Way Implementation in Kinder

Last week I was so happy to show Ms. Optie how to do Words Their Way with her Kinders. Now, I've never taught kinder before, so that was new for me, but with Melinda's knowledge about kinder + my knowledge about WTW, we made a fab team! 

So on Monday, we started by introducing the kids to the sounds and the picture cards. Our kinders aren't reading text yet, but that doesn't mean they can't read pictures! We worked on the sounds /b/ (bell), /m/ (mouse), /r/ (ring), and /s/ (sun). Each of the four sounds has an anchor word, which I listed in parenthesis.

We started by showing the kids how to say the sounds, like this: "Mmm, mmm, mouse. Buh, buh, bell. Rrr rrr, ring. Sss, sss, sun." Here you can see me telling the kids, "My turn..." and I model, and then I point to them and say, "Your turn..." and they repeat.

Monday was also the day that we intro-ed all the words. There were some pictures that all the kids didn't know, like rake and roof. So we did a lot of gestures - using our rake, and making a roof with our hands. The gestures and acting out are good for the ELL kids, but also just engaging, good instruction for all the kids.

After we finished all together at the meeting space by the Smart Board, kids went back to their seats to cut out and then do their first sort. Looking back, we probably gave them too many directions all at once. We should have had them cut, then come back, so we could SHOW them how to do the sorts.

Here is one of Melinda's kiddos sorting for the first time. It was helpful to have the kids point and touch each picture as they said their sounds and words. Also, notice that the headers with the letter and anchor picture are in yellow. The kids know that they yellow cards go up at the top.

On Monday, after we finally finished sorting, we had kids draw pictures of words with the sounds. Again, we didn't do directions well enough (chalk that up to my inexperience with kinder...but I'm learning!) but the kids did some great work! Here's one boy doing a drawing:

Here's Sophie's /s/ words. I sat with her and asked her what each picture was and wrote those words out for her. Notice that she drew circles....I explained to her that circles was an oddball because even though she heard the /s/ sound, it was spelled with a c, so we crossed it off. But I was so excited for the see-saw, since that was not a picture in the word sort! Extension of learning - awesome!

And here is Erica's work. Let's see if I can remember everything: a boy, a bunny, a scooper, (forgot the next B word), and a road. Such smart thinking! Scooper wasn't in our picture sort. So proud of her!

Moving on to Tuesday, the kids began with the sorting again. One of the goals with WTW is to develop speed and automaticity, so we were well on our way to figuring out the procedures for the sorts.

On Tuesday (or maybe this was Wednesday?) after we did the sorting, we brought some guided reading books (Fountas & Pinnel,  level B) so kids could look in the books for words that began with the words we were studying that day. Each child got a book and a paper to write words they found.

The kids had to differentiate between initial letter and finding the letters in the middle of the words. They were able to find the words and make the connection of word study to authentic books. Well, I guess they're leveled readers, but an important part of WTW is that the kids understand that all the sorting, comparing, contrasting, and constructing of knowledge is applied in books.

On the next day, I think Wednesday, we began again with a word sort. After, we had the kids using magazines to find pictures of words that started with each of the sounds. They pasted them on a page that had four squares, each with the letters and the anchor picture. I think the novelty of the magazines worked well, but....

Marshmallows and Ribs

It was like a magazine explosion with the kids! Scraps everywhere, but they were having fun!

So cute - look at this little guy with his four pictures: mouth, can't remember the b word, red, and forgot the s word. He was so excited....and so was I!

We finished up on Friday by doing a sort first. Here is one of our ELL teachers, Ms. Escobedo, working with one of the kiddos she services:

It was awesome because Gissel said that she could totally see growth in the kids over the course of the week! And I noticed it too. By the end of the week, they knew that the yellow cards went at the top, they knew how to sort, how to say the sounds and letters. Joey stopped asking me, "Ms. Brezek, where does this word go?" (To which I always replied, "Joey, say the word! What sound do you hear?")

After our last sort, I was ready to find out how much the kids learned, so we did some "secret" practice.

I asked Melinda how we can separate them since I wanted them to do their own work. We knew this was assessment, they thought it was just a secret game.

Each child got the chart below on paper....

Then we showed them 10 pictures. The first 6 were pictures from the word sort we did all week, but then there were four more to extend their learning. We did bed for /b/, moon for /m/, rainbow for /r/, and sad for /s/. As we showed each picture to the kids, we had them draw it in the column it belonged.

In between, we asked them to show us they were ready by setting down their pencils and folding their hands. This little one looks like a little angel in this picture, doesn't she?

Well, I haven't seen the results yet, but I'm excited that we have concrete data to inform our instruction about what each child needs. I'm already thinking of ways to track this data. I'm kinda excited about that nerdy or what? I get excited by data collection?

So that's one week of WTW in kinder. Love it and Melinda has said she thinks it's just what they need. The best thing about it? The kids are making their own meaning by comparing and contrasting sounds. Plus - they are building their vocabularies with new words. Next week on the list: goose, pail, nails, tire. Good stuff!

Well, I'm going to watch the rest of this ASU - Notre Dame game. We better come out on top!

Happy Saturday!


  1. Your centers look like so much fun and so easy to assess the little ones like that. =) Yay for being your newest follower, drop by. =)

    Just Wild About Teaching

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