Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

Last week, we had a great week for words. I can't remember the last time I felt this excited over a school topic. It all started with us looking at the graphemes , , and . On a side note, thank you for the previous posts on true/truly. Those posts really helped me understand the grapheme, if it even is still a grapheme. My kids were looking at lots of words and noting the spellings. One of my kids stumbled across and asked "Is sub a prefix?" I asked him what he thought the word meant and he said "to be a king over your land." I saw a great opportunity to move away from what we were doing to start looking at this word. The only tool I knew to use was the word web. I'll have to post more on our exploration of , because it really showed me that anybody can hop in. I was pleasantly surprised that not only did the students share the words they knew, but how we were able to learn about clips (sub - from submarine sandwich), temperature (from subzero), and social studies (subway - forms of transportation). I'm sure not all words provide the same opportunities to integrate, but this one was amazing. My first graders lasted about 25 minutes before they began to get antsy. I thought that was pretty good for a word investigation. 

What was most revealing about our investigation was how it showed me the need to master the tools. I'm getting the sense that word knowledge is vast and my priority needs to be on providing the kids with practice in word investigations. This brings me to my questions:

In a classroom, what do you see are the essential tools for a teacher to implement?

What resources could I provide for myself and my first grade students to investigate words?

My guess would be the word sum, word web, and the word matrix. The word sums and word webs are what I'm most comfortable with. So they get the most use. The last month has been full of word sums and word webs. I even have a station where the kids practice word sums and reverse word sums. Any other thoughts? 

Thanks for sharing all your experiences. I can't tell you great it was to just jump in and learn with the kids. The great thing was that all my readers, from every background, had a chance to share what they knew. Subzero was shared by a boy who played a video game with a character that had that name. For those of you who were wondering, he attacks his enemies using ice. We had a good talk about temperature after he named that one. Thanks everybody! 

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