Thursday, June 27, 2013

Throwback Thursday- Spruced Up Spelling


I am so thankful to Mrs. Carroll over at The First Grade Parade for this Throwback Thursday linky. It's such a motivator for me to go back and reflect on things that I've blogged about over the last year. 

This week I chose my Spruced Up Spelling post from June 22, 2012. It's a long one so please take a minute to click here and read it. 

Here are some of my reflections on each step of my sprucing up process:

Step One. Spelling Patterns Year at a Glance
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to figure out a way to successfully incorporate a lot of spelling practice in class. Since finding the Daily 5 book, I think I'll be able to make a plan for this. More on that coming some time this summer I'm sure. 

Step Two. High Frequency Words
I LOVED incorporating HFW's into my spelling this year. It was interesting to see the mix of ability here. I had many that couldn't even make it past the first 100 words, which are pretty simple. 

This year I want to make sure that I give my better spellers  opportunities to move through the words more quickly. Once we did initial testing they only progressed at five words per week. That was a slow pace for some. 

Step Three. Vocabulary
This portion went really well. It was easy to pick out words that I knew they would be unfamiliar with. Now that I've read up more on effective vocabulary instruction I realize that by giving them the definition and just asking them to memorize it is not really the best...BUT I'm not sure that I'm going to change this part. I might consider just using this portion of vocabulary as exposure and then do different vocabulary instruction in class. We'll see. No final decision yet. 

Step Four. Homework
I had most of my spelling pattern sheets ready before school started which was helpful. I uploaded them all to my class website which the parents loved. I still can't decide if I'm enabling irresponsibility, but hey, I figure when I lose a paper I go online a print a copy if I can. That's the world we live in folks! 

The tic-tac-toe board did not work for my kiddos. It just wasn't enough practice. Maybe it was the choices I gave. Of course my super spellers were doing fine with it, but my low kiddos were bombing tests every week. I changed homework to a standard  assignment: write words in ABC order, write words 3 times each, do sailboat spelling with each word, and write HFW's in a sentence. Test scores improved overall so we did that for the remainder of the year. I don't love that homework, so I might rework that for this year. Still thinking on that. 

Step Five. Assessment
I loved the test form that I came up with. It was easy to divide the assessment into a language and spelling grade. I liked that it was all on one page too! The only thing that I would caution is that at the beginning of the year the process takes FOR.EV.ER! I had a moment where I thought of scrapping the whole thing and going back to traditional spelling. I'm SO glad I didn't. After several weeks of patient practice they had it down. Testing eventually became a breeze. I had a class set of clipboards which really helped when students were testing each other on their HFW's. 

So there it is. My throwback to spelling. Go link up with The First Grade Parade, or at least check out some other posts from the past.

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