After 3 years of teaching kindergarten, I really thought I had it! I knew what to expect and where my kids were going. Small group planning was easy and fun, I felt like my kids were getting what they needed and I wasn't having to stay 4 hours extra after the bell rang.
Well this year I was moved to second grade. I heard so many teachers tell me that second grade was the best and that I would love it! Well I do! I still love kinder, but second is pretty great. The only frustrating part about moving to second grade was that I felt like I was starting over in many aspects. I'm sure every teacher has felt that way at one point in their career.
I spent a lot of time last summer looking at second grade teacher blogs and websites, trying to get a feel for what second grade teachers taught. I reread professional books with a different perspective. I really tried to prepare myself. However, nothing can prepare you 100% until you are just THERE.
After my first year in second grade, I'm so excited to start out my next year. Just because I feel like I know where I'm going and I have a much bigger box of tools to get me there. I tried with all my heart to dig into Words Their Way at the beginning of last year, but I was just so overwhelmed that I could only manage to skim.
This summer, I've read the first few chapters and I'm loving it. It really makes a lot of sense. Words Their Way is pretty much telling me to do what I normally do with kids during guided reading and guided math...teach them on their instructional level. It sounds so simple but with the words block, it can get fuzzy.
This year I had differentiated spelling celebrations (we call our tests "celebrations) and I definately worked on words during my small group. However, I think I can do much better next year. Right now I'm reading about the spelling assessment I'm going to give my students and how to level them into 3 word study groups. The nice thing about Words Their Way is that it isn't just another thing I have to do in my day. It suggests that you connect the word study with what you're doing during guided reading. Sounds very managable. But I think many teachers will agree, sometimes we just run out of time!
I'm going to keep reading until I have a well thought out action plan of how this will run in my classroom. Bottom line: word study should be differentiated and should happen every day for every student, regardless of the skill level. (This is why I love Daily Five!) Words Their Way is just another tool to help me identify the gaps and help the kids fill them in. :)