June 02, 2009
"We use the program by Kathy Ganske, Word Sorts and More. There are four different levels of words and books to accompany each level. All students are given a basic test that looks at word patterns. Each student then works on the pattern list that best meets his/her learning needs. It is more than spelling, as words in isolation are not helpful. The students learn word patterns that they can hopefully apply to unknown words they come across during reading and other subjects. The top-level word list (Derivational Constancy) has very difficult words to spell, which are also challenging vocabulary. These words can be a good extension for those students who master the spelling, but don't know the meaning of the words they are using.
“The program can be a bit cumbersome at first, but with good management, it can work well. We have devised a system wherein the students use their words in a variety of activities, including alphabetizing them, cutting the words from newspapers, illustrating them, writing poetry, summaries, or similes using their words, defining them, etc. The students work in class and at home with their words. In addition to the differentiation of the word lists, the activities are differentiated as well to meet a variety of learning styles. The problem, as with anything, is the class time needed to ensure the effectiveness of this program."