As a first grade teacher, I spend tons of time working with my kiddos on reading, spelling and writing words. Since we do this so often, it's really easy for the kids to get burned out on the same ol' activities over and over again. Here are a few of our favorite word work activities. I try to vary them up as much as possible to keep everyone focused!
I love using my pocket chart to show pictures which follow our given sounds for the week. I find all of my pictures with google images. The photos are great to use because the kids don't have the word to look at. This way they really have to think hard about how the word is spelled instead of just looking at the word and seeing the given letters. I have the kids sort the words and then write them on a piece of manila paper. This way, we don't use copies! The kids are so good about folding their paper, labeling the categories and writing their words. I have them look over their words when they are finished writing them to see if they make sense. These are typically the same words for the spelling test, so it's great practice in centers.
When we move on to a new week and a new sound, the picture cards are placed in a container for the kids so they can review previously learned sounds during their "free" time.
I love magnet letters and cookie sheets!! I've collected magnet letters over the years and still feel like I don't have enough! They are so convenient and fun to use!! I found my cookie sheets at The Dollar General for $3. What a deal!! I really should go back and get more. We use these during centers and for making words during small group time. We practice making high frequency words, spelling words and words that follow our phonics pattern with the magnets.
If you have access to SMART software for an Air Slate or SMART Board, you should really check these out!! Basically, they are refrigerator magnets that can be used with the SMART technologies. My kids love using these to practice their words. I've had this in centers before where the kids use a spelling list. They would give each other a practice spelling test using the magnet letters on the screen. Here's a quick picture of the manipulative from SMART Exchange. The magnets are the first download if you are intersted.
I wish I had a picture for this game. My kids LOVE it! It's called "Pop!" The only thing you need for the game is a small white board or piece of paper. I use the white board so I can erase it. Basically, you write a word on the board without showing the students. After you write the word, show the class. If the students know the word they raise both hands in the air and yell, "POP". Whoever raises their hands and says "POP" first gets to read the word. I keep writing new words and try to give everyone in the class a chance to read a word. They go nuts about this!! It's also a great way to keep everyone paying attention. I love to catch the kids off guard by showing the word quickly.
Finally, here is a game my kids LOVE!! The game is basically Tic-Tac-Toe...with reading! I bought pockets from the teacher store and laminated them on a poster board. Then, I cut into the pockets so you could place something inside of them. I fill the pockets with high frequency words or other weekly words. The students chose which pocket they'd like. They pick the card out of the pocket and attempt to read it. If they read the word correctly, they place either an X or an O on the sticky note. The game goes back and forth just like Tic-Tac-Toe. The winner is whoever gets 3 in a row! The kids love it and it's super easy to differentiate by level.
What kinds of Word Work is happening in your classroom? I'd love some more ideas!!