Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Words Their Way, OUR way Part 3: Planning for Differentiated Word Study Groups

Data drives instruction! You already have the data from the Qualitative Spelling Inventory. You already grouped your students. Your resources are ready. You are ready to “rock on”.

Planning for Differentiated Word Study Groups

I have a basket for each Word Study Group labeled with their "Rock Band" name right above my filing cabinet. Once the year is under way, within a third of my planning period I am able to pull resources for the next week’s Word Study groups in a pinch.

In each bin, I place the necessary resource files, leveled readers, games and other resources that will support that group’s word study.

If you would like to download a copy of the planning bin labels and related resources to help make planning your differentiated Words Their Way goups a breeze, visit my TpT store:

Pre-prep As you go…

Use your “high” group as your guide for the year. At the beginning of the year if your leading spellers (ex. Within Word group) are studying Long vs Short Vowels to start, make a class set because by the end of the year the groups that follow them will need them at varying times throughout the year. File the extra copies. Do the same for any other resources that support each spelling pattern such as reading passages and Anchor Activities. Follow suit with your second highest group, make a set of copies that will prep for subsequent groups following them (perhaps 3/4th of your class). Do the same for your third highest group (a set of copies for ½ of your class…etc. ) You will save yourself time at the copy machine. Be sure to stop this process three quarters through the year, because the other groups may not get as far as your leading group of spellers. This sounds tricky, but it’s a little helpful hint to make your prep a bit easier.

To be honest, at the beginning of the year, prepping for the following week’s word study will take up one of your planning periods (if you make your own copies).

Anchor Activities

When you are prepping your resources for your differentiated word study groups it is important to keep in mind that you will need to run additional copies of resources that you will include in the Anchor Activities folders.

When you are facilitating your morning tune ups (differentiated mini lessons), the students who are not working with the teacher are completing independent activities in their Anchor Activities folder or playing games that reinforce their Word Study for the week. If you have 4 groups running at a time, the students will be working independently for a total of 15 minutes when they are not “rehearsing” with the teacher, they will need to remain “anchored” in their learning.

If you would like a FREE copy of the Anchor Activities Cover  and bin label you will find it at my TpT store:  Anchor Activities Folder Cover and Bin Label FREEBIE

The anchor activities folder contains a multitude of activities that reinforce and review the skills they have learned in previous tune-up lessons. Those worksheets include activities that will strenghthen their decoding skills for the word sort they are currently focusing on or have previously learned. The activities may include a reading comprehension worksheet, a puzzle, word search, and other various resources you have accumulated for each spelling stage.

It is important to note, that the students should be able to complete the activity independently without teacher support. You may also throw in a few Math review worksheets as well.

Now that you have prepped your resources, you are ready to forge ahead with your differentiated Word Study groups. But before you do, I have some tips to help you motivate your students to achieve with goal setting!

To learn more, read 
Words Their Way, OUR way Part 4: Motivation & Goal Setting

If you would like to download a copy of the planning bin labels and related resources to help make planning your differentiated Words Their Way groups a breeze, visit my TpT store:


  1. I like your idea of pre-prepping with the high group- seems to make the entire process go so much smoother as implemented. We are moving toward Words Their Way next school year so I will be coming back to reference your posts about this! Thanks for sharing your knowledge of this content!!!

  2. Another great addition to your other two parts! Definitely passing this along to my K teacher peeps.

  3. Thank you for sharing your great ideas!