Making Words is a program the district bought and dispersed to first grade teachers without any explanation. It's a shame there wasn't some explanation or professional development around the book arriving, because the program is good. It's based on Patricia Cunningham's work. I had used the program many years ago and liked the concept but struggled with all the little individual letters that students were suppose to have and manipulate. They got lost. They got mixed up. I just never found a way to manage all the little slips of paper.... but I liked the concept...
So when I found this updated program in my box, I wasn't impressed. However, I kept looking at it on my desk and wondering how I could fix my earlier management issues. I really liked the way it took a set of letters and built words. It was suggested as a Tier 2 intervention for RtI, but I just didn't need "another" small group. However, I am very happy to say, I think we have found a great solution that uses the best of the program for several different group of students.
I introduce the letters and words. For most of my kids, having them write the words on a white board works just fine. When I say, "1-2-3 Turn." they turn their white boards toward me so I can do a quick check to see who has the word and who doesn't.
For the majority of my kids, they don't really need the extra step of manipulating the letters. For my highest kids, I challenge them to figure out the mystery word, which uses all the letters for the day, before I get to it. They take this challenge seriously and you can see them trying out words in their minds and boards until they figure it out! My co-teacher pulls a group for Tier 2 RtI intervention and has the students do the same words with the class sitting at a table and actually manipulating magnetic letters, while the ESE teacher pulls her students that need the extra manipulation to another table and has them do the same words with class with a set of paper letters (you can easily manage the paper letters with a very small group of students).