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Word Study Workshop…Units 3, 4, and 5 Visited!

So, being 40 weeks pregnant I’ve slacked with posting highlights from these units! They have been posted though, and are available in my TpT store! I’ll give some snapshots from these units now!

Unit 3– My. Favorite. It’s all about our visual memory.

When I wrote this unit, I interviewed some people I know that are really great spellers. Most of the spellers that I talked to would always respond to my “how do you spell things correctly?” question with “I don’t know…I just see it in my head.” They have good visual memories. Not every one does! I, for one, don’t have a great visual memory. Thankfully, this is something that can be improved upon with practice! Here are some activities and mini lesson teaching points:

Teaching Point: Today I want to tell you that visual memories are different for everyone. (You can tell your own story here OR you can use mine!) In college, I remember seeing a movie called “White Christmas” for the first time. I loved it so much that I wanted to order it online. By the time I’d gotten back home, I forgot the title! I asked my roommate who hadn’t seen it either and without skipping a beat…she said, “White Christmas by Irving Berlin!” I was so confused. I asked her how she remembered so easily and she said “I just saw in in my mind!” I was so surprised because I looked at the same movie and my memory didn’t capture it the way hers did. Some of us have to work a little harder to access our visual memories than others…and that’s OK. We can all improve our memories by playing games and working on it.

Teaching Point: Today we will do a quick activity that will activate your visual memory. I am going to show you a tray that has some items on it. Your job will be to remember the items on the tray. You can either draw or write a list of items that you remember seeing. Try to remember where you saw the items on the tray and add as many details about the objects as you can (like write “red fuzzy ball” for example). Complete the activity with students and share what they managed to remember. Show them the tray for about 30 seconds and then hide it. Have students record what they remember.

…and here is a sample of one of the visual memory games! 
To activate their understanding of visual memory, I had them close their eyes and visualize a logo that they could remember just from going out shopping with their family. Here are two samples: 
Another activity that the students LOVED were the visual memory flip cards. Check them out! 
….And so much more!! 
Unit 4 – Tips and Tricks for Spelling Practice! 

This unit offers opportunities to teach our spellers to read as much as they can, pay attention to handwriting, and think about the meaning of the words all in the name of spelling. There are lots of teaching points that provide spellers with habits of mind and examples for teachers to model!

Here are a few sample mini-lessons and snapshots: 

Teaching Point: Today I want to teach you that you can be clever spellers who learn all the words you can so you can see them in your mind’s eye. How do we do that? By reading as much as we can! Spelling experts tell us that exposing yourself to different types of texts will increase your knowledge of the way things are spelled. Through reading newspapers, novels, blogs, even billboards, your brain memorizes spelling patterns!

Teaching Point: Today I want to teach you that there are tons of ways that you can practice your spelling words in tons of fun new ways. No matter how you practice you have to keep one thing in mind: your visual memory!

We celebrated the unit by creating a self-help book that other classes could use to help with spelling! 
Unit 5 – Write the Right Way 

Unit 5 is all about writing outside of the word study workshop. The biggest complaint I hear from writing workshop teachers is that the skills don’t transfer into their writing. It often sounds like, “They got a perfect score on their spelling test, but spelled the exact same words wrong in their writing piece…what gives?” This unit focuses on TRANSFERRING the skills learned to daily writing! 

Sample Mini-Lessons and activities: 

Teaching Point: Today I want to teach you that word investigators have their word study folder/notebook along side them when they write. Every time we start a new word study pattern, we’ve been taking our old list and moving it to the back of our folder so that we can have a collection of past words at our fingertips. Today, we will put that folder to good use!

Teaching Point: Today want to teach you that careful spellers pay attention to spelling- even when they are doing a small writing assignment. They understand that no task is too small for good spelling!

To celebrate the end of this unit, we started a business! Mrs. Tabb’s Spelling Consultants were established! We created advertisements for services and found places to hang them! They LOVED this and they made lots of great writing partnerships across classes and grade levels.


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