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Friday, October 25, 2013

Super Sleuth Blog Hop - Stop #27

Hello my fellow detective!  You made it!  This is stop #27.  You are almost there!  If you are starting here, you will want to go to stop #1.  Otherwise you are going to miss some VERY important clues, and that's where you will download the all important recording sheet!

I think that being a detective is all about finding patterns and being observant.  I know that you know this, but students sometimes have to be reminded that most of the words that we use when we read and write have patterns (except those "jail" words).  If you are explicit with your teaching of those patterns, students will pick them up.  They may just have to put their detective skills to work!

I used this strategy all the time when I taught third grade and have been using it with my small reading groups. This blog hop gave me a chance to clean and spice it up!

The nice thing about this freebie is that it is great to use with any grade!  The students start by making sure that they have their detective hat on.  The detective hat is just the hat provided for you copied onto card stock and laminated.  I then attach construction paper strips to it to make a "hat" that wraps around their head, but also looks like a detective's hat.  I then make sure that they have their magnifying glass.  This helps them examine the words that they are studying more closely!  Every little gimmick helps right?

I then tell the children that hey are going to hear me say some words.  Their job is to guess which column the word I am saying goes in.  At first, they have no idea which column the word goes in and are just merely guessing.  As more words are up on the board and on their papers, they start to detect (pun intended) some patterns within each column.  Here are some of the organizers.

They are also in black and white.  They would be great for a Smart or Promethean Board.  Then the students could use the black and white ones to have their own copy as you go through the lesson.

Here is an example, I recently used this with one of my first grade groups.  My word-work target was for them to notice and hear the "sh," "ch," and "th" sounds.  I started naming words and the students were guessing the columns.  They knew what the rule was before I even had the 3rd word in each column!  I then challenged them to each give me a word of their own to put in each column.  I had every hand raised.  It was awesome!

It also works for some of the older students.  In my third grade group, we were differentiating and sorting for the short a and long a sounds.  I used a Words Their Way sort for this.  Once they were pretty proficient at hearing the difference between the two, I told them they were now going to be a word detective.  They have been studying mysteries in the classroom, so being a detective was right up their alley!  I used 4 columns and had them guessing which column the words went in.  My sort was:  column 1 a-e, column 2 ai, column 3 ay, and column 4 oddball.  They started to understand by about the 3rd or 4th word in each column.  We then named each column with the rule.

Their job was not done!  Now they had to look for anything else they noticed about the columns.  One student detected (there I go again) that "ay" was always at the end of a word (all were one syllable words at this time).  "Yes!" I said, "What else?"  One of my quiet girls said that she was not sure of tail and tale because both were right and you needed to know the definition to know which one you were talking about.  "Yes, yes!"  I said.  Well, I could keep going, but this post is getting long and you have one more stop!

Anyhoo, where do I get the words or ideas for sorting?  From a few sources actually.  I do make some up as I go.  When in doubt, I turn to the experts.  Here are a few:

I love the assessments in the Words Their Way books and the Phonics From A to Z is a really good tool for understanding different patterns.

Well, that's it!  Click on the picture below to grab your freebie!

Here is your letter:

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And finally, here is your next stop!


  1. I love the sorting cute! Thanks for sharing them!
    Carla at Comprehension Connection

    1. Thank you! I have always played up the detective part of the lesson. This hop forced me to make it more concrete and fun for the kids!

  2. Amy- I love how you've incorporated WTW into your word detective product! I've used WTW for a few years and always love hearing new and engaging strategies. Thank you for sharing your talents!

    1. I know, I really love Words Their Way too! It just makes sense! :)

  3. Oh my kids will love sorting their words on your cute sorting mats. ANd the hat and magnifying glass are adorable!

    Read With Me ABC

  4. I love having my kids be "word detectives" and we actually had a center for it when I had a full class- but the sorting mats are such a great addition! :) Thank you for sharing!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

    1. Jenny, thank you! I have now been following your blog really closely and I am loving it! You seem to have some of the same reading philosophies as me!