Friday, December 16, 2011


I have a couple important questions to ask and would seriously appreciate your feedback.

1.  Reader's Workshop:  If you use a reader's workshop model for instruction in your district, how was the curriculum presented to you?  Did you get the direct instruction only and were asked to come up with your own lessons?  Were you given completed lessons to follow?  Were you allowed to deviate from the lessons to make them your own?  I'm wondering what you were given, in hand, from your district as far as a reading curriculum based on a workshop approach.

2.  Words Their Way:  Does anyone use this in their upper elementary classroom?  I sort of love it, but I'm wondering how other upper elementary teachers work it.

Please, please, please take a minute to respond if you can.  Or, if you have a blog and have posted on either of these topics, please comment with the link.  I will be tremendously thankful.
Thank you!!!!!!


  1. Nancy- I use reader's workshop. Our district gives us the curriculum for the mini lessons. They are based off of Lucy Calkins. And I also use Words their way. Check out this post:

    That was in the beg. of the year so it has been tweaked a bit but you will get the general idea.
    Hope this helps.


  2. I use Words Their Way in my 4th grade classroom. I have 4 different skill groups this year. I see one group per day Mon-Thu to introduce the sorts. I make a generic "spelling packet" with activities for each day of the week. Once I introduce the sort words, the group completes one activity per day of the packet. By the time I get back around to them, they've had a full week to complete the packet. This way the words are individulized but all students get the same practice activities. It makes it more of a "word study" than simply spelling.

  3. Also, I made a post with an example of my weekly spelling packet at

  4. We are given the curriculum based on Lucy Calkins. I tweak it a bit. We use words their way with a twist. We have 6 words their way words and 6 high frequency words.

  5. We use CScope in our district. We HAVE to follow the scope and sequence, but we do not have to use the exemplar lessons. But we do anyway. At this point, it felt "safest". They incorporate many of the aspects of reading workshop ... Without calling it that. Aaahhhh...cscope .... *sigh*

  6. I use both in my first grade classroom! By choice too. WTW- we do the pre test 3 times a year to develop 3 different groups. From there the students take their word study folders to do their homework and centers.
    Beth Newingham has great explanations and documents on her site. Have you been there?
    If you email me, I will send you documents I use with my class for both RW and WTW.

  7. Our district has adopted the Dorn model It involves a deep study of genres at specific grade levels. Our literacy time consists of a language workshop lesson that revolves around a mentor text where we focus on author's language, and investigation into the genre or author study. We have a writer's workshop and reader's workshop both of those have mini lesson we teach. We are not given lessons to teach, those are based off student needs and our own rubric/assessments we have to give quarterly. The mini lessons are only 15 minutes at most and focus on skills specific to the child as an author and as a reader. We have some resources but not a lot, it is a lot of assessment and monitoring combined with intervention groups for students at various levels. It is too detailed for a quick blog response. You may be able to find more information online.

  8. I am about to be doing a full fledged reading and writing workshop in my 6th grade classroom when we come back in January. I have been wanting to do it all year, but I just could not get it to work like I wanted. All my district gives the middle school teachers for our curriculum is the textbook that we adopted. which is horrible! Even though this is only my first year, I have been doing a lot of research about some ideas. I have read The Daily 5 and use components of that and I am currently reading Guiding Readers and Writers and will use aspects of that. Like the comment above, my district used CSCOPE for some of our curriculum. We have currently only adopted it for Science and Math, but we have access to all of it. This is what I am going to be using this coming semester because I was really struggling with the lack of a plan. I will be doing a bunch of posts about it as it unfolds in my classroom, so be sure and check it out.

    As for Words Their Way, I have never even heard of that? Is it a word study program?

    Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher

  9. At the end of last year we were given a Focus Unit (Non-fiction Informational Text) with the directive to follow it exactly. There were Language, Reading and Writing Workshop models to follow. The unit consisted of copying charts, flagging and doing the same thing over and over again. Many times the books they wanted us to use were not available or the wrong page numbers were listed. There were plenty of "bugs" that had to be worked out. So this year we were given three new units and more flexibility in how to implement them in our classrooms. They are supposed to be more classroom friendly. We have more mandatory focus units coming up that we have to follow. During these units a team of "experts" from the district conduct walk throughs complete with a checklist to see if we are following the GRR program.

  10. I use Wtw in my grade five class and my colleague who teaches next to me and I combine our two classes. We split them into four equal groupings and each work with two groups three times per week. I also use many activities from Cafe and Guiding readers and writers. We do combined literature circles with intermediate grade groupings based on a Faye Brownlie model of student choice. Each teacher is responsible for three to four books, students move from reading to responding to blogging and discussion groups throughout the week. It is fantastic!

  11. I would LOVE some examples of what this looks like in your classroom. anything written that you could share?