Reflections and Resources from Tarheelstate Teacher
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Upper Elementary Morning Meetings: Compassion Theme

How do we teach our students to become more compassionate towards others? Today I'm sharing with you some of the lessons and ideas I've used in my upper elementary morning meetings during my compassion theme unit. These activities have helped me have conversations with my 4th and 5th grade students about compassion, empathy, and ways that we can show more concern for others.

If you plan to do upper elementary morning meetings in your classroom, you're going to love the ideas presented in this post! Your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students will be exposed to a literature-rich environment that encourages personal improvement, character development, community building, teaching themes in literature and ELA skills. Suggested read alouds/books, materials, and activities will engage your students in compassion related lessons. Used by classroom teachers or counselors to promote character education.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here.

I think it is so important to teach students to think outside of themselves, to become more aware of the needs and feelings of others, and to be able to relate to others on a deeper level. This endeavor is one of many reasons why I devote time to Community Meetings.

Not only can I impact students personally and socially, I am able to teach many of my literacy standards through theme-based morning meeting routines. Read on to find out how I focus on compassion.

First, introduce the theme topic and definition:
To launch my Compassion-focused Morning Meeting Theme Lessons, I define compassion for students as "having understanding or empathy for the suffering of others." From the Latin language, compassion means "co-suffering."

Read Aloud Each Kindness
Next, I read Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson as my key read aloud. Most likely, my students have already been exposed to this book during my "kindness" themed morning meeting lessons.

If you are unfamiliar with Each Kindness, you are going to want to grab a copy for your class. If you've ever read The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, it has almost the same story line but in a picturebook format.

In Each KindnessChloe and her friends refuse to play with the new girl, Maya. Maya reaches out to Chloe's group again and again at recess and in the classroom trying to befriend the girls. We can tell from the author's details and the descriptions that Maya is poor and does not have proper winter clothes or ever wear new clothes. The girl's jokingly nickname Maya "never new." Abruptly, Maya moves again. Chloe is left with the guilt of knowing that Maya was lonely and trying to make new friends and that she continually pushed Maya away.

Although Each Kindness is a story about kindness, I think it's really more about having compassion and the consequences and guilt that are associated with not doing what is right and not having compassion for another human being.

How I turn this read aloud from Kindness-Focused to Compassion-Focused:

I like for each of my morning meeting read alouds to have a few key questions that get to the heart of what I want to discuss with students. For Each Kindness, we delve into the following key question:

How would this story be different if Chloe or her friends had demonstrated empathy and compassion? (Students jot their thoughts in their community meeting notebooks and then we discuss their ideas).

We focus on the quotation "Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering." I ask students:
If you plan to do upper elementary morning meetings in your classroom, you're going to love the ideas presented in this post! Your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students will be exposed to a literature-rich environment that encourages personal improvement, character development, community building, teaching themes in literature and ELA skills. Suggested read alouds/books, materials, and activities will engage your students in compassion related lessons. Used by classroom teachers or counselors to promote character education.
  • Did Chloe and her friends see that Maya was suffering?
  • Did they care that she was suffering?
  • What kept them from feeling compassion towards Maya instead of pushing her away?

Rewrite the Story with more Compassion {Day 2}
During our next morning meeting lesson, I put students into groups of three and have them revise parts of the story with Chloe showing more compassion towards Maya.
If you plan to do upper elementary morning meetings in your classroom, you're going to love the ideas presented in this post! Your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students will be exposed to a literature-rich environment that encourages personal improvement, character development, community building, teaching themes in literature and ELA skills. Suggested read alouds/books, materials, and activities will engage your students in compassion related lessons. Used by classroom teachers or counselors to promote character education.
I choose four pages of the book where I thought Chloe was the least compassionate. As students discuss the story's events more deeply and collaborate to rewrite a few scenes in the story, they get closer to the details of the text, the way Chloe treated Maya, and Maya's emotional responses as she tried to reach out. I think this rewriting activity really helps students "walk in the character's shoes" and realize that although Chloe was never outright mean or even bullying Maya, she was also never kind and never showed compassion for Maya's situation.

To close up this lesson, I allow students to share their rewrites of the story with the rest of the class. You can do this through a quick gallery walk, too!

If you plan to do upper elementary morning meetings in your classroom, you're going to love the ideas presented in this post! Your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students will be exposed to a literature-rich environment that encourages personal improvement, character development, community building, teaching themes in literature and ELA skills. Suggested read alouds/books, materials, and activities will engage your students in compassion related lessons. Used by classroom teachers or counselors to promote character education.Morning Meeting Discussions to Deepen Understanding {Day 3}
Now that students have a deeper understanding of compassion, I use my whole-group discussion journal page to have students brainstorm a few ideas about compassion. They focus on:
  • Ways We Can be More Compassionate
  • Verbalizing Why it is Important to try to Understand Others
  • How Being More Compassionate Can Improve our World
  • Create an illustration to represent compassion
I choose 1-2 of the journal prompts to discuss in whole group and create an anchor chart for. With this anchor chart, we can keep adding big ideas as we discuss the topic. At this point, I like to set a shared compassion goal as a class and have students set a personal goal for being more compassionate. {They have another journal sheet for this where they can record their goal for the week and reflect on at the end of the week.}

If you plan to do upper elementary morning meetings in your classroom, you're going to love the ideas presented in this post! Your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students will be exposed to a literature-rich environment that encourages personal improvement, character development, community building, teaching themes in literature and ELA skills. Suggested read alouds/books, materials, and activities will engage your students in compassion related lessons. Used by classroom teachers or counselors to promote character education.I also love that at anytime, I can pull this anchor chart back out and have students reflect on previously learned themes.

Compassion and kindness are not topics that I can just talk about for a few days and then expect students to perfectly behave with compassion. I like to spiral back to these themes during my morning meeting again and again. As a follow up question for a later meeting, you could ask "Has anyone found a new way to show more compassion? to be more compassionate?"

Build the theme with Additional Read Alouds, Video Resources, and Related Songs {Days 4-5+}
After introducing a morning meeting theme, I like to continue building the theme with additional read alouds and any online video resources I can find.

Other great read alouds to use in your Upper-Elementary Morning Meeting Compassion Themed Unit:
1) A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead

This video from Dr. Brene Brown is SO PERFECT and illustrative! However, it was created for adults and at 1 minute 56 seconds, it mentions miscarriage and divorce. If you can play up until that point, students can relate to the comparison of empathy versus sympathy. Students will even get a lot of benefit from watching the video without the narration. At the end, she has a perfect response when you don’t know what to say to someone’s situation, “I don’t even know what to say, but I’m so glad you told me.” You may want to fast-forward a few seconds and let students watch the end. Preview this video to see if it works for your needs, but I just could not leave it off of the suggested ideas list!

I also LOVE to use songs during my morning meeting lessons when I am able to. I think Bill Withers' Lean on Me is the ULTIMATE theme song for compassion! You know your students will be singing and humming along in no time and sharing the song together really creates a bond in the classroom. You can discuss how the song relates to compassion by having students write a quick text to text response (perhaps comparing the song with the definition for compassion) or by pulling out examples that shows the singer is compassionate towards their friends.

Incorporate Quotation Analysis into your Discussions! {Last day of theme reflections}

 Morning Meeting Compassion Theme SetI'm also a quotation lover and always incorporate at least two key quotations and some quotation analysis lessons into my morning meeting plans. The quotations, "Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." and "You never really understand a person..." from To Kill a Mockingbird are two of my favorites for this theme unit.

Responding to a quotation is the PERFECT way to close up your theme study before you move on to your next theme. I LOVE using a response to quotation as a reflection and assessment opportunity to see how much students have thought about and learned during our compassion-themed discussions.

These quotation reflections can also offer you some insight into what themes you should plan to teach next and what ideas you want to come back to as you spiral back with similar themes like kindness, belonging, accepting others, etc.

Want more ideas? 
 Compassion Themed Morning Meeting Lessons for an Upper Elementary Morning Meeting Routine
If you are looking for other ideas and activities to spark discussions with your students about compassion and to encourage them to find ways to be more compassionate, I have additional ideas in my Upper Elementary Morning Meeting Made Easy compassion theme set. You can compare and contrast the words "empathy" and "sympathy," create a recipe for compassion, generate compassion synonyms (and discuss their nuances), and more!

This theme set also includes key vocabulary and materials for creating your own morning meeting theme bulletin board display, student journal pages, and more video and resource links to help you plan for your compassion theme unit.

If you plan to do upper elementary morning meetings in your classroom, you're going to love the ideas presented in this post! Your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students will be exposed to a literature-rich environment that encourages personal improvement, character development, community building, teaching themes in literature and ELA skills. Suggested read alouds/books, materials, and activities will engage your students in compassion related lessons. Used by classroom teachers or counselors to promote character education.
I highly recommend getting this theme in the bundle that includes 4 other themes: belonging, kindness, conflict resolution, and perseverance theme materials, but you can click here if you just want to grab the compassion theme set.

Can't get enough of literature theme-based Upper Elementary Morning Meeting Ideas? {Believe me, I'm with you!}

I've written a few other blog posts about my morning meeting lesson plans that you may also be interested in:
Integrity
Belonging

And if you are just getting started with morning meetings, I highly recommend reading these posts:
Why I Devote time to Community Meetings
4 Reasons I LOVE a Theme-Based Morning Meeting
Ideas for What to Do if you Feel like You Can't Squeeze in a Morning Meeting

If you plan to do upper elementary morning meetings in your classroom, you're going to love the ideas presented in this post! Your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students will be exposed to a literature-rich environment that encourages personal improvement, character development, community building, teaching themes in literature and ELA skills. Suggested read alouds/books, materials, and activities will engage your students in compassion related lessons. Used by classroom teachers or counselors to promote character education.

If you plan to do upper elementary morning meetings in your classroom, you're going to love the ideas presented in this post! Your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students will be exposed to a literature-rich environment that encourages personal improvement, character development, community building, teaching themes in literature and ELA skills. Suggested read alouds/books, materials, and activities will engage your students in compassion related lessons. Used by classroom teachers or counselors to promote character education.

How to Modify and Differentiate your Word Study Routine

In January, I wrote a quick little blog series about my Word Study Activities and Routines and how I use Words Their Way. I could {obviously} talk about word study forever and I found that there was another aspect of word study that I'd like to share more about.
Are you hoping to tweak your word study routines to better meet your students' needs? I've got a few modifications, suggestions, tips, and ideas for differentiation in your Words Their Way word study activities. Those lower and higher spellers often need something a little different and these ideas are useful for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classrooms. Plus a link to a FREE word study resource!
If you have not read about my word study routine, I highly recommend reading that post first. The main activities I incorporate into word study are 1) "blind" word searches, 2) spelling city or other word study games, 3) meeting with the teacher to sort words, review word patterns, practice spelling, and discuss unknown words, and 4) "blind" assessment.

Although my average/middle groups of spellers don't need many modifications from the schedule that I shared with you, I've always done things a little differently for my lowest spellers and my highest spellers. You can probably see some of the differentiation steps I take for them in the schedule below:
Are you hoping to tweak your word study routines to better meet your students' needs? I've got a few modifications, suggestions, tips, and ideas for differentiation in your Words Their Way word study activities. Those lower and higher spellers often need something a little different and these ideas are useful for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classrooms. Plus a link to a FREE word study resource!

3 Ways I Modify For my Letter-Name Alphabetic Spellers

Yes, even as a 4th and 5th grade teacher, I always had a small group of students in the Letter-Name group. Students in this group were also my struggling readers and needed a lot of basic spelling work and help making sure they could read the words correctly.

Here are some tips for how I further modify their word study routine:
I've found that my lower groups just need practice, practice, practice, and immediate feedback in order to improve their spelling {aka--more one on one attention}.
  • I always schedule a "meet with the teacher" day with them before their "word search day." This gives them exposure to the word patterns they will be working with and hopefully a boost of confidence as they search for their words the following day.

  • When these kiddos meet with me, I give them a white board, marker, and eraser and fire off words from the list they are on and from previous lists. We often have to focus on short sounds vs long sounds, words with double vowel patterns, and making sure we have represented all of the sounds found in the words. I want the time I spend with this group to be focused on spelling and immediate feedback. If students miss a word, I am sure to throw in another word with the same letter pattern later on in the meeting.

  • As often as possible, I try to pull in compound words that still fit the patterns these students are studying. Compound words are often made up of two words that follow regular spelling patterns (hotdog, pancake, birthday, etc.) This allows students to practice DOUBLE the words and will allow them to feel like they are working on words just as large as other groups in the class. This is a great way to boost confidence for a group that can become stigmatized. {You can even make coming up with compound words part of your meeting activities! How fun!}
Extension Activities for the Derivational Relations Spellers

Students who fall into the Derivational Relations Spellers (the blue group) are my best spellers. After years of using the Words Their Way Word Sort books with these students and incorporating my word searches, I still felt that the Derivational Relations Group needed a little something more for their word study activities.

Students who fall into the Derivational Relations Spellers group can often spell the words provided in their sorts with much ease. Typically, these students also find it easy to quickly attain word meanings and spellings for new words. Their word study assignments become more about learning word meanings and word etymology (the study of the history of words their origin). It's also important that they spend time connecting the words they are studying to other words in the English language.

In the past, I have had this group complete Frayer Model-type activities (pick 10 words, record synonyms, draw an illustration, make a personal connect, write a definition or a sentence, generate other words that contain the word part, etc). and create crossword puzzles for others in their group to complete as extension activities.

However, these default activities never felt organized or worthwhile enough, and quite frankly, I never gave this group enough attention or oversight.

So a few years ago, I finally decided I wanted to get ahead of the game and have individual extension activities that made sense for each of the Derivational Relations Units. I felt like word study notebook activities would give this group more structure as they completed extension activities and as I met with them to extend their learning about the words they were studying.

Extend the learning for your higher, gifted spellers with the Derivational Relations Spellers notebooking and extension activities. These are a great modification to your word study routine and activities that allow you to differentiate for your 4th, 5th, and 6th grade spellers.

These Word Study Notebook Activity sheets for each sort in the Derivational Relations Spellers book have students analyzing spellings, sound changes, and the meanings of their word study words.

The activities are designed for independent exploration and reinforcement of concepts that are embedded in the unit of study. However, these activities could also be used to guide your small group lessons with this group.

As a side note, I also think that the Derivational Relations Spellers sorts would be perfect for 5th-6th grade as a whole-class vocabulary/word study program combined with differentiated spelling/word study. 4th and 5th grade teachers could use these activities during whole-group language lessons to expose students to prefixes, suffixes, and Greek and Latin roots--the main focus of the blue book.

Based on the level of difficulty of the activity pages and how progressed your students are with being “independent thinkers,” you may choose to have them complete some of the sheets independently and save others for their small group meeting with the teacher. These sheets can also be completed in partners.

To plan for this group, you can specify how you want the activities completed prior to students beginning the set of activities for each sort. Allowing students to work in partners at the beginning of a unit (say the first and second sorts in the unit) and then expecting students to complete later activities in the unit independently is another way you can provide extra support and scaffolding. I like to have students pair up and share their work after they complete the activities.

Since these students have an entirely different assignment to incorporate into their word study routine, you will notice that their activities (on the schedule) are different. 

My derivational relations group still starts with a "blind word search" activity to launch a new word list (this means that they do not receive a copy of the word list and must "blindly" search for correctly spelled words in the word search). This group spends day 1 and day 2 working on their word searches.

For their next two word study blocks, they work on the Derivational Relations Notebook Activities to extend their understanding of the words they have discovered. 

On the last day of their word study routine, I meet with this group. This meeting provides an opportunity for us to go over activities that students had difficulty with and to reinforce specific word study concepts based on the word list students are working on. I may also have saved a word study notebook activity for us to work on in whole-group. 

 Words Their Way Derivational Relations Word Sort Activities and Notebooking FreebieIf you are interested in taking the Derivational Relations Activities for a test drive, I have shared Sorts 1 and 22  as a freebie.










I've also created a similar set of Word Study Notebook Activities for the Syllables and Affixes group. These are your mid-higher spellers who may also benefit from completing extension activities with their word study words.

Are you hoping to tweak your word study routines to better meet your students' needs? I've got a few modifications, suggestions, tips, and ideas for differentiation in your Words Their Way word study activities. Those lower and higher spellers often need something a little different and these ideas are useful for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classrooms. Plus a link to a FREE word study resource!
Modifying the Word Search Routine with Younger-Grades Students

If you a younger-grades teacher who is adding word searches to your word study routine, you may modify the schedule entirely to have your "meet with the teacher day" before each group works on their word searches. This will allow you to expose students to their word sort before they begin searching for their words in the word search.

You could also give students a copy of their list of words to accompany them as they do their word search activity.

As students become more confident with the word search activity, you could phase this scaffolding out and reorganize your schedule so that you meet with them after they have attempted to find words --perhaps at the start of a new quarter. I also encourage you to consider giving them a few words from the list to get them started and then having them search for words with similar patterns. The word searches are a challenge for students at any level, but I have found that they grow more and more confident as they repeatedly complete this activity. 

If you have not purchased the Words Their Way Word Sorts books, I highly recommend checking them out. You can find each one here (Note: These are affiliate links to Amazon. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here.):

Letter and Picture Sorts for Emergent Spellers
Word Sorts for Letter-Name Alphabetic Spellers
Word Sorts for Within Word Pattern Spellers
Word Sorts for Syllables and Affixes Spellers
Word Sorts for Derivational Relations Spellers

If you can't get enough of thinking about how to improve your word study instruction and routines, you might check out my other posts in the series: a 7 Day Overview of my Routineshow I really organize my schedule, and my best tips for managing word study and making the routines go even smoother!

This post outlines how to modify, differentiate, and extend your word study routine for your elementary classroom or homeschool. It's a great way to see exactly how to make word study with Words Their Way work in your classroom. Perfect for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade word study and spelling programs.

Integrity Themed Morning Meeting Resources for Character Development

Integrity can be defined as "the quality of being honest, adhering to strong principles and character." Today's post is here to help you find morning meeting resources for character development - specifically integrity.

Here is a set of FREE morning meeting resources for your upper elementary students. They'll learn about integrity, honesty, and protecting their reputation through the books, ideas, quotes, and more at this blog post. This freebie is great for your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classroom or homeschool students. Build a stronger classroom culture and a community of kindness with this download. You add the picture books and you have everything you need to get started!

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here.

One quickly finds that our reputation is highly connected to our integrity, that the ways in which we choose to act make up what others think about us and what we think about ourselves.

I have used Morning Meetings/Community Meetings in my classroom as an avenue for having important conversations with my students about topics like these.

I've always felt that our greatest endeavor as human beings is to work hard to help our inner beliefs and character shine through on the outside and that's why I'm such an advocate of theme-based classroom meetings and taking the time to encourage social and emotional development in our students--even when it's not in the curriculum map. #SHUTYOURDOOR&TEACHtotheirHEARTS #igiveyoupermission

It can be so tough for a child to always have their actions match their intentions and their beliefs. Children's emotions are constantly out of whack, people are constantly telling them what to do. They may feel that they are constantly making mistakes, and quite a few upper-elementary students I've taught have also felt their reputation was already tarnished and that there was no point in making changes because other students wouldn't give them a chance to grow.

We are so fortunate that we have the daily opportunity to make an impact on impressionable young people. I know that many a teacher made an impression on me and made me believe that I could change the world and make a difference.

Today, as part of the #kindnessnation and #weholdthesetruths campaign on teacherspayteachers, I've teamed up with other sellers to provide FOREVER FREE resources that can make a positive impact on our future world and our students' lives. Many participants have included resources focused on Acts of Kindness, Civil Rights, empathy, and our nations constitutional and ethical ideals. You will find a plethora of wonderful free resources by checking out those two links.

I decided to make my INTEGRITY morning meeting resources theme set my forever freebie for this endeavor. Just like all of my other morning meeting theme sets, the free integrity-themed resources include related Quotations, Key Vocabulary, Lesson Ideas, and Student Journal Pages.

To launch my morning meeting theme, I always begin with a key read aloud. I LOVE Mr. Peabody's Apples by Madonna as my key read aloud for integrity, honesty, and discussions focused on reputations.

Other Good Read Alouds for an Integrity Theme:


1) Babushka Baba Yaga by Patricia Polacco
2) A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting
3) The Empty Pot by Demi
4) Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
5) A Hen for Izzy Pippik by Aubrey Davis

Quotation analysis is another big part of my morning meeting routine. The following quotation is my FAVORITE from the set and gets at the relationship between integrity and reputation. I LOVE the ending, "the way to a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear."
Here is a set of FREE morning meeting resources for your upper elementary students. They'll learn about integrity, honesty, and protecting their reputation through the books, ideas, quotes, and more at this blog post. This freebie is great for your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classroom or homeschool students. Build a stronger classroom culture and a community of kindness with this download. You add the picture books and you have everything you need to get started!
One of the journal pages includes this quotation and questions to help students analyze the meaning of the quotation.
Here is a set of FREE morning meeting resources for your upper elementary students. They'll learn about integrity, honesty, and protecting their reputation through the books, ideas, quotes, and more at this blog post. This freebie is great for your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classroom or homeschool students. Build a stronger classroom culture and a community of kindness with this download. You add the picture books and you have everything you need to get started!
I also try to pull in music and other videos and sometimes I come across news articles that are perfect for sharing with students and adding to our discussion. 

I love sharing this article about Ivan Fernandez Anaya, a Spanish runner who intentionally lost the race so his opponent, who was in the lead but fell down, could win. I like to have students discuss whether or not they would have made the same choice and what we can infer about Ivan based on his choice.  We relate his actions back to integrity and what kind of belief systems he must have to do something so courageous and selfless. 

I found this movement called “Because I said I would” whose mission is to
be a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity. We make and keep promises to end suffering, establish peace and build happiness. Our mission is to strengthen humanity’s will. We created the“Promise Card” to help hold people accountable to their commitments. Make and keep a promise to improve yourself, your family or your community.


BISIW will even send you promise cards if you request them.

A fantastic extension of this mission and project would be to create a classroom book or individual cards where students make commitments to themselves and their classroom community. Just imagine all of the ideas they can come up with...B.I.S.I.W. be kind to a classmate who needs it; stand up to a bully; use a kind voice when speaking to classmates; apologize when my actions don't represent the person that I want to be.

I think an effort like BISIW in your classroom would help students be more courageous in their actions and act with more and more integrity! We can make being the kind of person who sticks to our commitments and our convictions #COOL in our classrooms! 

Another option would be to create general “because I said I would” cards together based on desired classroom behaviors, copy these cards as a set for each child as a reminder. Perhaps children can receive a “because I said I would“ card from the teacher or another student when caught doing the expected behaviors.

Additional Videos You May Like to Share with Your Students:
An Introduction to Because I said I Would
What is Integrity (at minute 5:59 this video talks about God as the ultimate example of a leader with integrity. Please PREVIEW THIS VIDEO before watching with students.)
A Life of Integrity (1 minute video)
Integrity for Students (1 minute description)

You can download all of the morning meeting resources, including a handy lesson ideas and teaching resources page, in the Integrity Journal Theme Set and the Integrity Bulletin Board Quotations and Vocabulary set for free. Just click on the images below!

Here is a set of FREE morning meeting resources for your upper elementary students. They'll learn about integrity, honesty, and protecting their reputation through the books, ideas, quotes, and more at this blog post. This freebie is great for your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classroom or homeschool students. Build a stronger classroom culture and a community of kindness with this download. You add the picture books and you have everything you need to get started!
Here is a set of FREE morning meeting resources for your upper elementary students. They'll learn about integrity, honesty, and protecting their reputation through the books, ideas, quotes, and more at this blog post. This freebie is great for your 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classroom or homeschool students. Build a stronger classroom culture and a community of kindness with this download. You add the picture books and you have everything you need to get started!








Check out these other amazing resources from participants in #kindnessnation and #weholdthesetruths.

Additional Tips and Suggestions for Your Word Study Activities

If you've caught my past few blog posts, you know that I am focusing on Word Study for a little mini blog series. I've written about my 7 Day Words Their Way Word Study Routine and shared my Two Biggest Tips for Making Your Word Study Routine Work (even if you are not using Words Their Way). But today I want to focus specifically on more word study activities.

If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

Today I'm sharing additional tips and recommendations that I've found helpful:

Note: Links to the Words Their Way books are affiliate links. This means that I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here.


Getting Started

  • After you pre-assess your students, it's important to know that I (and most other Words their Way teachers) recommend that you only try to juggle 4-5 different word study groups in your classroom, otherwise, you may just go nuts! This also keeps your group sizes small--I find that my lowest groups need to be fairly small (3-4 students) in order for them to get the attention they need. My higher groups are manageable with around 6 students.

While I highly recommended a staggered word study activities routine in my last post, at the beginning of the year it is important to introduce, model, and complete each activity as a whole-group so that students are able to independently complete the daily activities once regular word study begins.

I just choose a word list for the whole class and model the routines in one or two cycles of word study until students understand the expectations. (You could choose a lesson from your lowest word study group that you know you are going to skip OR focus on a big spelling rule that you noticed many of your students missed on their word study pre-assessment like "drop the y, add -ies".)

Share Students with a Colleague

If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

  • Do you have a colleague that can do word study activities at the same time as your class? One year I was able to partner with a colleague for word study block and it was AWESOME! This may be a way for your and other teachers on your grade level to serve more student groups.
I LOVED sharing a few students with him and vice-versa because
  1. We were able to give the lowest group (made up of a few students from both of our classrooms) TWO meet with the teacher days-one with me, and one with him. 
  2. Having a shared word study activities schedule made us both ACCOUNTABLE to word study because we had each other to consult with. 
How do you make sharing students for word study work? We created one master schedule with all of our students on it. We ended up with 6 student groups in all. Then, we decided which groups would meet with which teacher. You could change this each quarter so that you get to work with your students. I chose to give him my "knuckle-head" group so that maybe they would listen more and get more out of word study.

Our daily word study schedules were exactly the same since we made it with our students combined, so each day at lunch we confirmed which day we were on. If one of us needed to cancel word study, we had choices: do another writer's notebook day, give more time for word searching, or continue a Greek/Latin word-parts or vocabulary study lesson.

Getting Organized

How do I get organized for word study activities? Well, I use the Words Their Way Word Sort Books and my Words Their Way Word Searches that were created for and aligned to the levels in each sort book. 


If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

After I have pre-assessed students, created my groups, and decided which sorts each group will begin with, I spend an afternoon at the copier making copies of the Word Searches and Word Sort Sheets. I get at least 5 sorts ahead for each group (which means I'm copied/planned for 10 weeks since my routine is a 7 day cycle)

If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

As I'm printing the copies, I paper clip the sets together and organize them into folders that match the color of each leveled word sort book. I've seen some teachers copy each word sort onto colored paper to match each level---I think this is a fabulous idea for keeping the different word sort sheets organized!

If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

Before we start our first 7 day cycle, I spend a word study block helping students organize their word study notebooks. Students glue their word searches on the left side of the page so that they can record the words they find to the right of the word search.  I have them skip 2-3 pages between each word search for word work activities and for "Meet with the Teacher." If you are using the word searches, remind students to keep the word searches in order as they glue them in!

If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

My Derivational Relations Group (the blue group/highest group) also have Word Study notebook activities that are part of their routine. So, they must place the activity sheets for each word sort after their word search and "found words" list.

You may find that it's easier to pull students into small groups to help them glue their pages into their notebooks, or some years, I've just printed all of the Word Study Notebook sheets off into a separate booklet for them. (I do have to admit that this was MUCH less stressful than the years I had them glue the pages into a notebook).

Additional Tweaks You Can Make to Your Routines

  • On writer's notebook day, you could have students keep up with the misspelled words they find in their writer's notebook on a list that is kept in their Word Study or Writer's Notebook. This is especially beneficial if you have time to analyze common patterns students are missing or want data on how the transfer of "word study" to actual spelling is going. 
If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

I personally find that my students make a lot of progress out of having to focus on going back through their entries in their writer's notebook to find misspelled words without me requiring them to create this list, but recording misspelled words on a chart like this is an option to keep in mind and perhaps a modification for your lower spelling group.

If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

You can grab the "Misspelled Words Chart" and a Personal Words Chart from my google docs for free.

If you use my Words Their Way Word Searches

  • Be sure to teach students that they will almost never have a three-letter word in their word list (except for the Red Group). Students really have fun finding words, but I have found that stopping them from highlighting three-letter words keeps their word searches clean and they are better able to see the empty spots where another word may be hiding. 
If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

Y'all you might have realized it all ready, but I could just keep on talking about word study activities! I'm going to take a break from this 3-part series, but I'm sure I'll be back in the future with more tips and tricks for your word study routine. 

If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!I don't believe I've confessed this up until this point, but I used to HATE word study (and planning for it) with a passion!!!! 

I spent countless hours combing through spelling books and trying to find the right systems that would work for ALL of my students' needs (my high-flying spellers and my kiddos with spelling disabilities and low word-attack abilities).

I would beat myself up again and again because I didn't really have any direction for how best to instruct my students in spelling and learning word patterns.

It wasn't until the Word Sorts books came along that I truly FELL IN LOVE with WORD STUDY because instantly, I had the resources and word lists I needed.

The books come in 5 Different levels and each one is broken down into chapters. I could start my word study groups at the beginning, middle, or end of one of the sort books depending on where they fell in the pre-assessment. 

If you have not purchased the Words Their Way Word Sorts books, I highly recommend checking them out. I can't say enough about how much of a lifesaver they are for word study instruction. You can find each one here:


Until next time, have a blessed and glorious teaching time! 

If you're looking to add word study activities into your day, you're going to love the suggestions, tips, and ideas presented here! Click through to find out how one teacher uses Words Their Way to enhance the word study routine in her classroom. The strategies presented here can be modified to work with any 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th grade classroom! Plus there's a FREE download to help your students better master their misspelled words! Great for spelling AND writing practice! Get it now!

Have any questions you want me to answer about word study activities? Drop them in the comments! 

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