Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Spelling, Schmelling

Probably one of the biggest problems I've found in today's educational curriculum is a lack of answers for teaching spelling. How do you successfully differentiate spelling instruction for all levels of the classroom, while making it fun, and most of all, useful?

I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite teaching resources, Mrs. Gold's Class Website. She's a third grade teacher in New Jersey, and she doesn't have a blessed idea how often I've stalked her site, stolen her ideas, and copied her strategies. One of my very favorites of her resources is her Creative Choices Spelling Packet. She gives tons and tons of ideas for practicing spelling words, and the kids actually don't mind doing most of them! The activities include all multiple intelligences. You will not be sorry you checked it out.

Oh, but that still doesn't help with the word selection process, now does it? This is an area I haven't quite figured out. One of my former colleagues would have the kids come up with their own spelling words from their reading material. They would write new words and definitions in their reading journals and use those as spelling words at the end of the month. It just didn't seem manageable in my classroom, though... how do you manage 25 different spelling lists? Not sure.

One thing I did last year was have the kids submit words from their reading. They'd have to write the word, a definition from a children's dictionary online, and a sentence using the word. Then, I'd compile the list of 10 words for the week, and I would have the kids complete a spelling packet over all of the 10 words and then we'd have a spelling/vocabulary test over the words. I want to make sure that kids aren't just learning how to spell 'superciliousness' (or some such other word) without knowing how to properly use it in conversation or writing. What's the use in that?

Well, I'll have to do a little more research, but I did see tonight that Teaching Happily Ever After posted about  this very thing! Her solution is a program called Words Their Way. It's something I'll definitely be checking out.

What about you? How do you differentiate spelling instruction?

1 comment:

  1. You can always use the sight words list. I test kids to find the words they know and can read (parent volunteers can be very helpful with this too!) and then stop once I have found ten words they don't know. I did this with first grade basic skills, but had them read the words aloud instead of spelling them. I knew if they couldn't pronounce the word, they also couldn't spell it. There is obviously a problem with this approach as sometimes they can pronounce or read a word but can't spell it. It was just quicker to do with a lot of students. They practiced 2 words during each pull out session, 3 times a week for a total of 6 words a week. Once I have my classroom set up, I'll write a post explaining it in pictures. Try Spelling City! Some teachers group students for spelling instead of doing whole group or all individual lists.

    Miss B, Busy Bee