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FLTeacherMom FLTeacherMom is offline
 
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How do you teach spelling?
Old 05-19-2018, 07:57 AM
 
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We still do the weekly 10 word list and test on Friday deal. Kids just memorize and forget. I know this doesn’t work or help. I want to convince my team to try a different approach. We are required to have a language arts grade, so still need to test or grade. How do you do it? Thanks!


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Old 05-19-2018, 02:12 PM
 
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There are a few things I do:
  • Introduce the words on Monday. Then, throughout the week, when I have a few minutes, I dictate the words and have them write them on their white boards and hold them up for me to see. I correct them as I walk around.
  • Play "What's Missing?" Use magnetic letters to put up a spelling word, leaving out one letter. Have someone come up and find the missing letter and put it where it belongs.
  • Use magnetic letters to show all the letters in order, then mix them up and have someone put the letters in order.
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Lillybabe Lillybabe is offline
 
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Spelling
Old 05-19-2018, 07:22 PM
 
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For spelling I really like All About Spelling. It's a program that can be used with any age and really works best if you can do it in small groups. I've used it in groups as large as 10-12 successfully but it would be more successful in a shorter amount of time in smaller groups. The nice thing is it's pretty much grab and go. You don't need to photocopy lists each week, create activities, plan homework, etc. There are easy assessments that can be added in to grade as well though.

Chunk spelling is also an option that is easy to differentiate. You pick a concept to do with the class or with each group. Again the smaller the groups the more successful as everyone is working on the skills they need. However, you can easily have everyone in the class focus on one spelling concept like ar words and then more advanced students spell more advanced words. With chunk spelling you typically have students create their own lists to learn for friday.

Finally, Words Their Way is also differentiated and many students have success with it. It is easy to implement classwide as there are many resources online for it.

Personally, I feel language arts grades should be based mostly on writing skills, grammar, and such versus just spelling. Like, how well can they use their resources to write. Can they compose a sentence independently? I also think at first grade level many students should still be spelling things based on the sounds they hear and the editing when ready/as needed. I think requiring students at this level to check spelling really slows down their ability to get ideas on the page. It leads to lots of canned sentences and stories. For example: I like recess. I like the slides. I like the swings. I like the playground. I like my friends. This is a very typical story someone might encourage a first grader to write. It is canned and has no creativity. It is simple to write but I think will lead to students who can't write unless they are fed material. My kindergarteners have written some great stories this year when just encouraged to put sounds they hear and use our word wall. I had a little boy writing about ninjas. A little girl writing about princess cats who saved trapped puppies. Sometimes I might have had to get them to tell me what it said but the ideas were there. It's way easier to work on grammar and conventions after the fact than it is to teach creativity.
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Old 05-19-2018, 10:17 PM
 
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At my school, in younger grades spelling is connected to the phonics patterns kids are learning in reading. No "spelling list" is given ahead of time, because if kids understand the pattern, they should be able to apply it to spelling words without having to memorize the words. For example, if the phonics skill that week is consonant blends, the test would be words like drag, stop, flat, etc. I would also recommend adding in "contrast words," like for the blends adding in some CVC words to make sure kids are really listening for the blend and not over generalizing. Obviously, you have to make sure the words you choose for the test follow the regular patterns that the students have already learned. We teach "heart words" (sight words/irregularly spelled words) differently.

I find this method to be far more effective than having kids memorize a list that they will immediately forget after the test. Getting parents on board can be tricky if they're used to a traditional spelling list/test. I find that since this tends to be the one thing that has been the same for parents since they were in school, they latch onto it as something they can help their child do well in, even though IMO memorizing spelling words should be low on the totem pole for struggling readers. Back when we did "regular" lists, many parents of my students with disabilities would spend hours per week working on the list because they saw it as something they/their child "could do." Of course, even kids that did manage to do well on the tests never retained the words or applied them correctly in writing.
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MissESL MissESL is online now
 
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Spelling
Old 05-20-2018, 06:02 AM
 
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Great suggestions! I teach second, but here’s what we do:

Our spelling is pattern based for 10 words. It also incorporates 5 vocabulary words from weekly content/story. These words become part of our word wall. Further, they are part of our “sight word” list assessed each quarter. They are also often used for cursive practice words, too.

I think the reason kids memorize and forget is because we don’t revisit the words.


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Old 05-26-2018, 06:03 PM
 
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I like the idea of different activities every day and agree the students should be able to write more 'meaty' sentences.
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Song of Joy Song of Joy is offline
 
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Old 05-27-2018, 09:46 AM
 
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I believe spelling should be taught multiple ways. I've seen a great deal of progress this year in 2nd grade by using many ideas from Wired for Reading which advocates using mouth work, pulling apart sounds and putting them back together again. We also use finger spelling and beats on the body.

Another thing is to explicitly teach some spelling rules and repeat, repeat, repeat in authentic and relevant ways.

Diction is also extremely important. Students who can't correctly pronounce a word find it difficult to spell it. So if a student writes "acspoded", I require them to isolate the syllables and pronounce it correctly: "ex" "p.l.o.d" "ed". All of a sudden they can spell the word since their misspelling had more to do with pronunciation than anything else.

Some poor spellers have trouble with visual memory, so they can improve that by color coding the difficult parts of a word.

And, I'm in the camp who finds nothing wrong with a weekly spelling list since it's only one tool among many.
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