Co-Teaching Problems #2: Words Their Way (WTW)

Thursday, July 16, 2015
Lets face it, implementing something 3/4ths of the way into the year isn't really best practice, but hey, I gave it a try anyways. Now, this isn't a big problem - it has to deal with my organization of the system and some co-teaching issues.

After our first round of PARCC, I complained about how students weren't getting their LLI time - time where they sat down with an adult and worked on reading aloud, new strategies, vocabulary, etc. This doesn't mean they were sitting there doing nothing when I was gone, oh absolutely not! I made sure before testing even took place I had Google book clubs ready and Raz-Kids assignments in place.
You can get it here.

However, to supplement Raz-Kids and their book clubs, we implemented Words Their Way.  I spoke to Julia about the process, stole my roomies (Joanna, thanks boo!) textbook, and skimmed through the basic stuff. Julia offered to create the skeleton of the system for me, (weekly assignment sheet, the vocabulary words, some of the games)  and we implemented it immediately after we ran the assessment on the students.

This was what was left after the school year ended. Thanks Julia!
Now here's the problem. The system worked great when I was in the room. I worked with the students on making sure they knew when to ask and what to ask for when I saw them down and asked "what are you missing?" However, the moment I stepped out - all types of chaos broke loose. Vocab words went missing, things weren't initialed, co-teachers forgot all about it, students took advantage of the chaos ... I mean the list goes on!

So this summer, one of my goals was to make this more accountable and more independent. Similar to what I did with the LLI system, I'm going to make this as simplified as possible for the student and for my co-teacher in case I am out of the room. Also, I know a student coming up from 5th grade has been using this system - so, I'm preparing for him also! Which means I'm eliminating the cutting, gluing, etc in order to make it more age appropriate.

  • Inventory on what was returned to me at the end of June - cleaned off game boards.
  • Organized vocab words (hole punched, binder ring) into a bin with label.
  • Put all game supplies into a bin with label
    You can find the bins I used for the word sets/ sorts here, the gameboards here.
  • Print copies of weeks assignment, place into a folder (with prongs for storing old work).
Left: words and word/picture sorts
Center: Games, tokens, word sort templates, and spinners
Right: Folder with copies of the weeks assignment
Now here's the tricky part. How do I set up a procedure that is easy for both my co-teacher and the student? I Googled, Pinterested, TeachersPayTeacher'd it ... no luck. Finally, I decided it's better for me to just set up a small magazine holder that held: the students folder, the weekly pack of cards. and the games bin beneath it (if it's the day for games). When school starts I can introduce the routine to the student, and eventually fade out when they catch on to the system. Here's what my anticipated WTW station would look like:

Not Pictured: Magazine Holder. This is what my WTWstation of the room will include.
The magazine holder would keep the students folder, current words, and a game board.


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