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Different Spelling lists?
Old 08-24-2006, 09:23 PM
 
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My 4/5 grade level has kids ranging from a preK- 5th grade level in reading. I'd like to do spelling words, but I don't want to work *way* above the kids' levels, nor do I want to "dumb down" the lists for the kids who are more on par with grade level.

Do any of you do different spellings lists for different groups? Is this feasible? Any suggestions for me? These kids are all fluent English speakers, but they've been immersed in a different language for first part of their school career, so it's a bit of a unique situation.


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separate lists
Old 08-24-2006, 09:46 PM
 
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i teach 6th, and i usually have at least 3 groups--advanced, "on grade level", and below. (they aren't called that.) i've had 4 groups, too.

*part of my survey the first day asks them to tell me about their previous spelling list--advanced, number of words, etc--this helps me target the low ones faster. i then try them at my regular words, but reduced list to see how they do.

*this is how i give spelling tests: i give 3 lists at a time (that's the max i can do and they can follow). they get into the pattern pretty quickly--i always give one group's first, the next second, and the third last--so they know to ignore the other words. (and i say all three words 2 times--then when finished with the lists, i go back and repeat only the first list words, then second, etc.) when i have 4 lists, i do the 4th list afterward, or i have an assistant come in to do that list while i do the others. hope that makes sense--good luck to you.
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:17 PM
 
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ok, so you give the test at the same time to all the students and say the first word of the first list two times, then the first word of the second list 2 times, then the third list, then on to the 2nd word of the second list, etc... so all kids are working on their spelling tests together, but they learn to listen for their own words? I never thought about doing that! I know from the spelling pretest I did for all the kids, they really need a little time to think, so they'd get that while I'm saying the other two groups' lists.

Thanks for the idea!! If I can ask another question- where exactly do you get your lists from? We have one spelling "curriculum" (from the early 80s when I was in school-lol) that is at a 6th grade level. None of my kids are there Do you have an easily accessible source for grade level appropriate lists?

Thanks so much for the feedback! And let me know if I'm misunderstanding the way you do it.
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Old 08-25-2006, 04:10 AM
 
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My kids each have individual lists -- we have spelling notebooks. We pretest as a class together. Then the words that are missed from the pretest are put onto your list. We fill in the remaining (depending on ability, they have between 10 and 25) with words from the weekly list of brainstormed words from current events and curriculum.

On Friday we do partner tests -- each child gets a partner and a clipboard. We do the dictation sentences together as a whole class then they read the list (from the notebook) to their partner quietly somewhere in the room.
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Old 08-25-2006, 07:56 PM
 
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you've almost got it--(hard to explain) i give the first word on the first list, the first word on the second list, and the first word on the third list--long pause--then a bit quicker i repeat all 3 (same order) and move on to the next word on each list. then when done with all 20, i read all list 1, all list 2, all list 3. (during this final read through, they are SUPPOSED to be READING their words to themselves listening for the sounds of each letter.)

i know it sounds complicated, but they really do get the hang of it quickly (and if they've been practicing their words, they know which ones are theirs!)

up until last year we had our a spelling book--those words were easy/average for my grade level, so i generally had 4-8 kids working on "accelerated" lists. i gave the class the first month or so to show me what they could do--kids with A's on all tests got to show me if they could "test out" of the rest of the units--if they did well, i pretested them on the next few lists and the words they missed were the ones they kept--why practice words you know? this puts those kids with all different lists--while i am giving the 2 lists for the test, these kids buddy up and give each other their tests. once they have tested through all the lists, i start on my accelerated words. i've just created lists from various places--a couple lists came from an Internet search--some came from the Challenge words from the book--several lists came from some more advanced books that we read (Phantom Tollbooth and Westing Game)--some came from 7th and 8th grade spelling workbooks from the teacher store.

many years ago, our district had us connecting our spelling with writing (not bad, but very time consuming). similar to what i do with advanced spellers--everyone had a list---they pretested (didn't help that the words were pretty easy!) they tested out of quite a few, and then had to "find" words to make 20. i always had curriculum words for them to choose from and usually a list of social skills (listening, cooperation, manners...) words....but the bulk was supposed to come from their spelling cards--ugh--we were supposed to find misspelled words in their writing and put those words on cards in a little box--and on mondays, the kids filled up their lists with these words. i couldn't keep up with that much writing!

this year we got a new reading series (i think it might be language too--obviously i didn't go to the optional training at the beginning of august!) and it has a spelling component--we don't have those workbooks yet (no books, just workbooks--and we don't get workbooks next year, apparently--huh) oh, yeah--school starts this coming monday--thank goodness i hadn't planned on doing spelling right away anyway. i did glance at the spelling words somewhere, and they look really easy--sigh...


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Word Study
Old 08-26-2006, 09:42 AM
 
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Our school has been implementing Fountas & Pinnell's Word Study for our spelling program. It has been great! The basic low down: Students keep a list of words they need to know in a notebook/folder (words misspelled frequently in their writing). Then, a mini-lesson is taught on Day 1 (it's a 5 day cycle) involving a language principle, for example /ch/ sounds of /k/, /ch/, /sh/. Students do an activity to help apply and gain an understanding of the principle (such as a word sort), then choose four words from the word sort (or other source depending on their level), and four words from their Words to learn list. There are different activities to do each day to help students gain the skills needed to retain these words. Students actually give the test to their Study Buddy on Day 5. It sounds scary, but if you model and teach them specifically how to do each step, it goes great!

I check their lists on Day 1 to make sure it's at the appropriate level and that they are spelled correctly. Students write their words in a notebook each week, also, to help them remember which words have been on their lists.

Fountas & Pinnell's book "Words Their Way" gives a great introduction and description, and their "Word Study" curriculum provides great mini-lessons.
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Old 08-26-2006, 01:24 PM
 
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Thanks so much for all the great ideas!! Very helpful!
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