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Daily 5 Word Work Ideas

Since I am in a primary classroom this year I needed to revamp my literacy program. I had the opportunity to go visit another primary classroom where they were doing Daily 5. I immediately knew this is what I had to do in my class.

I thought I would share with you the activities we are doing for word work.

I do Daily 5, three times a week (nothing else would get done if I did more) and each day we have 3 rotations. For the Word Work, which everyone goes to each day, students have to finish one page of their spelling worksheets and then they get to pick a Word Work tub to practice their words with. The benefits are…I only have one page to mark a day, rather than all of it at once, AND students get to practice their spelling words all week. Some never practice at home so this gives them the chance to practice.

For all the tubs that have students building words, they build the word then write them in their notebooks with a pencil (see below).

Here’s what I have for tubs!

*Smell It — smelly markers (this is the preferred tub)

*PomPom Words — build words out of mini pompoms

*Magnet Words — Bright colored alphabet magnets (easy to get from a Dollar Store) and the cookie sheet to build the words on

*Fancy Pens — different colored pens, glitter pens, markers, etc.

*Spider Words — For Halloween I bought foam spiders and wrote letters on them. Students build words out of spiders. Fun but takes up a lot of room.

*Bead It — pony beads with letters on them. Students string them onto the plastic string. I have 6 different strings for students to build their words on.

*Stamp It — alphabet stamps and stamp pads

*Rainbow Writing — Another favorite! I found this FREE on TpT and students roll a dice. The number matches a color for students to write their word with.

*Clip It — I bought colored clothes pins from the dollar store and wrote letters on them. Students find the letters they need and clip the pins to a popsicle stick.

Since I took these pictures I have rotated my tubs and I now have a few new ones.

*Sand Writing — I found colored sand at Michaels and with a small wooden dowel students print their words in the sand.

*Wooden Letters — I also found at Michaels, mini wooden letters. Pretty self explanatory … students build the words with the letters then print them in their books.

*Say It, Write It — I bought some Toobaloos
from Amazon and students whisper into them and then write their word. They are amazed that they can  speak so quietly and still hear what they are saying.

*Doh It — I have a tub with alphabet cookie cutters (I found mine at Michaels) and a couple containers of Play Doh. Students take a Play Doh mat (thin cutting board from the dollar store) and roll out a slab of Play Doh. They then “stamp” their words into the Play Doh using the cookie cutters. When the word is “Stamped” they then write it in their word work book, roll over the Play Doh word and go on to the next word. This is the most popular tub year after year. 

*Text It — Can also be called “Call It”. I have taken my old flip phone and put it in a tub. Students will write their word in their notebook and then find each letter on the cell phone. They will write the number that the letter is found on. When they are done with each letter of the word they will have the words phone/text number. This is another SUPER POPULAR bucket and kids love the old cell phone. 

*Cube It — I found some foam dice at the dollar store and I wrote letters on them. Students have to build their words with the foam cubes and then write the words in their notebook. 

*Search It — I have a blank word search template, a glue stick, pencil/pen, and a highlighter in a tub. Students create a word search with their weekly words. They then highlight the words and glue the page into their notebook. 

*Code It — I have an blank alphabet code template, a glue stick, and pencil in a tub. Students will create a code for the alphabet and then write each spelling word in code. Some codes students have created are numbers for each letter, random letters for each letter, or small pictures for each letter. The code template will be glued into their notebook. 

Here is what my Word Work shelf space looks like. Nine tubs (rotating when I find new ideas or with the season), baskets with each groups words on the top shelf, and Word Work notebooks in basket. Hmmm.. maybe I should have straightened them BEFORE I took the picture 🙂

Close up of the spelling list baskets.  I have 4 different groups and when they are done with their Word Work rotation they put the words back so someone else can use them. This is a great way to save paper and not have to make lists for every student, every day.

Here are some close ups of the Word Work notebooks. Students have to print the name of the tub they chose and the date. If they finish all their words before the timer goes off they just write them again.

In this picture you can see the black construction paper. Each notebook has piece of construction paper in it and when students are working on their Word Work the construction paper is placed behind the page they are working on. This makes it so the sharpies, markers, and stamps don’t bleed onto the next page.

I hope this was useful for you. As I find new Word Work tub ideas I will post them here. I would also love it if you had any ideas, if you could comment and share with everyone!


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  1. Terri, love your ideas! What words do they write in the "Say It, Write It?" Is it their spelling words or any words in the room?

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  3. Thanks for sharing your ideas and organization! How many students do you have? I have pipe cleaners(chenile stems) to bend and make words with. Also I have seen wiki sticks for making words, watercolors to write words and scrabble tiles with their trays if you can find an old game.

    1. I use to do them one at a time and it would take forever and I would have to find something to occupy the other groups. Now I use the website kidsa-z.com and they can all do their tests on the computer at the same time. It is a paid site but it saves me so much class time and marking time. It marks the tests and gives kids instant feedback. They can also play games to practice throughout the week. I use to use Spelling City but they sold to Kids A-Z.

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