Monday, November 7, 2016

Personalized Spelling Lists

In an effort to make spelling activities meaningful for each student, every student has their own personal spelling words to work on.

We start by having a weekly pretest based on certain spelling patterns and phonics rules. Any words the student gets incorrect goes into their word list of ten words for that week. If students get more than ten words incorrect, they pick the ten words they would like to focus on. If students only get three words incorrect, they fill in the rest of their list with words from their daily writing, daily reading, or from a list of commonly misspelled 5th grade appropriate words.

That way, every student has a list of ten words that fit their needs as readers and writers.

During the week, students work with a clock buddy to practice their words in any way that works for them. They have a menu of options, but can also come up with alternative ways to study. (Partners stay with the same clock buddy for each list, so they can get a sense of which words their partner has down cold, and which ones are a bit of a challenge.)

"Weak hand" spelling is a favorite word work activity. First you spell the words with your dominant hand, and then you spell them with your non-dominant hand. The results can be pretty funny!
After five or so days of word work, the clock buddy partners assess each other to see which words have been mastered and which still need some attention. Any words that are missed go right into the next list of words until they are mastered.

Below is a slideshow of the word work and peer-assessment in action:

So far, this has been a fun, effective way for students to work on words that fit their needs.

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