All Abingdon teachers utilize a workshop model for reading and writing instruction. These workshops follow the same format so that students become familiar with the structure as they progress through each grade level.
At the beginning of the reading or writing block, teachers pull their students together to teach them a focused lesson about an important reading or writing strategy.
Teachers differentiate their instruction to meet the individual needs of students by conferring with them while they are working. This collaboration inspires students to outgrow themselves while building their confidence and accelerating their progress. As the teachers confer, other students spend a lot of time reading and discussing literature with their classmates or conferencing with their peers about their writing.
If you're new to Arlington County schools, you will be wondering why your child brings home little slips of paper, puts them into columns, and calls this his or her "word study" homework. Why is it helpful for students to sort these words? Word study is a research-based, developmentally appropriate way to learn spelling. Instead of giving students lists of words to memorize, word study lets students figure out how to make sense of spelling -- and reading -- by figuring out letter patterns and sounds. Instead of making every student in a class study the same set of spelling words, our students progress at their own rate, learning what they need to know when they need to know it. Children do this by sorting words into groups, explaining why they go in that group, writing the words in sentences, hunting for the spelling feature in books, and playing games with the words.
It can also seem odd to parents that we let students misspell some words when they write. We hold children accountable for spelling a word only after they understand the spelling features in that word through their word study. And we learn a lot about what our students know and don't know by how they misspell their words - what we call "using but confusing" a spelling feature. That helps us decide when they're ready to move on to a new spelling feature.