Saturday, June 20, 2015

IN SEARCH OF.....a better way to teach spelling.....

I will be working on LRPs (Long Range Plans) next week. As I was doing a little reflecting the other day on what worked well last year, and what didn't, I kept thinking about Spelling. I teach 5th grade and our 5th graders seem to come to us without great spelling skills. I have debated the reasons with colleagues and  we think at least in part, this is due to the fact that we do not teach spelling like we  used to. Growing up I remember getting our new spelling lists on Monday and having spelling homework each night (one night it was write the words five time each, the next night we wrote sentences), and then of course there was the pre-test on Thursday and the big spelling test on Friday. Pretty standard!

I think I am a pretty good speller, but occasionally even I have to look a words up when writing (thank goodness for spellcheck!).  I know the vowel patterns, and the special rules  and their exceptions. However, I find that my student do not know the patterns and rules and they are not really good spellers. I struggle to make it interesting, but in the grand scheme of things, namely my already packed, I can;t devote a ton of time each week to spelling instruction.

Let me give you a little background, then I will tell you what I found that changed my way of thinking about teaching Spelling. Our schools uses a program galled Words Their Way for spelling  instructions. I have a love-hate relationship with this program for several reasons. First let me say, it is a GREAT program, researched based, well written, etc. What drives me cray is the amount of prep-time I have to do to get my kids ready to START learning their new words each week. And oh yeah, the fact that because the program is differentiated (which is not BAD at all), it usually means I have 4-5 different groups of kids each week working off 4-5 different lists. So that means, yep, you guessed it, 4-5 tests every Friday! Now you see where the hate part comes in. I have found a few really cool ways to manage it (which I will share in a later post), but it is still a chore. 
Words Their Way is a Pearson product (no I am not getting any endorsement money here). If you are interested in reading out more about it click HERE

So anyway, last week I was looking for some resources on Pinterest to help me implement the WTW Spelling program and I cam across a blog called "The Measured Mom:Tools for Teaching". It is written by a homeschool mom, and she has some great posts about how to make spelling more relevant to students and you guessed it, she uses Words Their Way. On her website she has a great series on Word Study. There are 5 parts to the series, and she also has FREE downloadable lessons and resources. As I read each part of the Word Study series last week, I discovered many great ideas that I plan to implement this Fall when I teach spelling. She even has a Pinterest board filled with great ideas...check it out HERE

So if you are looking for something to help boost your spelling instruction, check out The Measured Mom's website and resources. If you already use Words Their Way and you are looking for some fun and exciting new word work ideas, check out my Pinterest board HERE

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