Disclaimer... and credit where credit is due!

This blog is simply my thoughts, ideas, and suggestions related to the Daily Five and Cafe. I give full credit to the creators of both Daily 5 and Cafe, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, also known as The Sisters. I have attended their workshops, read their books, and subscribe to their website. Everything else, I've interpreted on my own! :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Getting the Teacher Started with Word Work

When thinking about the Daily Five, it's the Word Work component that requires the most "stuff" for my classroom! Word Work is a time for children to independently practice our focus words for the week, as well as review words that are already listed on our Word Wall or the many charts around the room (for things like compound words, nouns, contractions, etc.)

The materials we use for Work on Writing are:
*individual whiteboards and markers (with socks for erasing)
*magnetic letters
*letter tiles
*linking letters
*magnetic words (practice making sentences, ABC order, sorting words)

These materials stay the same throughout the year, but the words being practiced change. This goes back to Gail and Joan's belief that by keeping the tools the same, children are focused on the work not on the novelty of the tools! Children may use any tool they would like; my "rule" is just that once they've chosen something, they do that the whole time.

I have tried Play-Doh during this time. Depending on the class, this can be very successful (especially for those tactile learners!) Children can mold the playdoh into letters to spell words. It can also be very messy and lead to play time, so lots of modeling is needed!

I didn't put alphabet stamps on my list, although they are in the picture and have been a choice. These particular stamps are very tiny, which leads to lots of fingers, hands, papers, and tables covered in ink! I'm trying to find sets that are a little bigger to help with this problem.

I love these containers from WalMart! They help keep everything together (neatly.) The tubs also fit nicely onto the cookie trays used as magnetic surfaces. I'm very fortunate to have shelves under my large whiteboard, which is the perfect place for storing Word Work and other materials.

Before I actually introduce Word Work, I start introducing many of these materials to the whole group. We might all take out whiteboards and play I-Spy with our word wall words. I might introduce the magnetic letters to a small group and have them introduce it to the whole group. By doing this, it eases the transition into independence when Word Work is officially introduced.

There has been a lot of Twitter talk lately about websites and apps for Word Work choices. I'm excited to learn more about these options!

Any questions? Suggestions? How do you handle Word Work in your classroom?

~Komos :)


  1. For work work, there are some amazing ipad apps. The montessori spelling app is great, and only costs $5. I also like the montessori writing app - which is similarly priced.

    I teach in 4th grade, and so for me word work has moved into sentence work for most of my students. For that, I have my students do sentence stalking. They learn about a type of sentence, and then find it in other books and make examples. (I learned about that in Mechanically Inclined).

    I teach them about the different sentence types in class, but also through videos. Here is one of my examples: http://luria-learning.blogspot.com/2011/04/soba-sentences.html


  2. I am a first grade teacher just starting Daily 5 this year. I understand all the materials, but which words are students actually making? Sight words, phonics words, or spelling words? We use Words Their Way so my kids don't all have the same spelling words, which seems like it might get tricky. I read the chapter in the Daily 5 book but they never explained exactly what the kids were doing with the materials. Any ideas? Thanks!

  3. I have the same question as Nancy... should Word Work be sight words or spelling words?

  4. I also wonder about using Words Their Way in conjunction with the Word Work choice of Daily 5.

  5. I use Words Their Way and the students have a copy of their words that they cut up on Monday in a zip lock bag. Their routine is to begin Word Work by sorting the words and recording them in a word book. After they have done that, they can work on the new high frequency words for the week.They have a choice of making them with playdoh (different colors for consonants and vowels, magnetic letters (playing mix it and fix it) or wipe off boards where they use the words in a sentence. But each time they choose word work, their first task is to sort those words and read them to someone. This makes them accountable for really doing the sorting before moving on to something else.