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Weekly Spelling Tests
Old 11-10-2006, 05:31 AM

Wow...I SO agree with maryteach and the merits of incorporating word study and word sorts. I have been teaching for almost ten years but am now at a new school (second year). I am VERY frustrated with what I see going on in the primary grades with spelling instruction. I teach kindergarten (utilizing Kindergarten Building Blocks) and feel like I am wasting my time when I see "my" kids (from the previous year) going into a classroom and being given these "one size fits all" lists of developmentally inappropriate spelling words...week after week...test on Friday. *SNORE* I like the "Words Their Way" process of instruction which involves assessment guided, direct instruction utilizing sound and word sorts (depending on the level of the child). The lessons are multilevel and multisensory and very appropriate for primary grades. (There are also books for upper grades, but I particularly like how the children are touching, seeing, saying, and then can/will transfer their knowledge to writing.) Yes, one will have to invest some time setting up the program, but the efforts are well worth it because instruction is EFFECTIVE. Why waste a school year with practices that you KNOW don't work well and do not feel good about implementing?

I also agree with the comment about doing the weekly lists because that's what they've always done, but I also think it's because a lot of teachers just DON'T KNOW what ELSE to do! I think that the administration is partly to blame for this if they are not providing professional development opportunities for the staff to enlighten teachers of the best, research based, and most effective practices.

(I've also taught 4th grade using the "Nifty Thrifty Fifty" from Patricia Cunnigham's Big Blocks and thought it was very effective AND, more importantly, the kids enjoyed the lessons...and RETAINED and UTILIZED what they had learned! )
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