I ran across this document on the internet that is an excerpt of an article about spelling instruction in language arts classrooms. It has some good lists of words (commonly misspelled words for 1-8)-root words list, etc. It also has some good ideas for spelling instruction and how to make it more individualized. It mentioned the research on how weekly memorized lists do not make a child a better spelling.
I am going to have my 6th graders keep a word study/spelling notebook next year and will use some of the ideas from this article.
Yesterday (Friday) felt like such a loooooooong day! I only gave my 6th graders 2 tests, but they took sooooooo long! Am I doing an “overkill” on testing for report card grades? Our district says that we have to have a minimum of 1 grade per week per subject. But am I taking it too far with the actual length of the tests? Here is what I have done:
1. Reading-Our Scott Foresman Reading Street series provides a weekly selection test for the weekly story. I used it for the majority of the year, but I didn’t like the assessment. So-I created my own test for the weekly story and made it an open book test. I did this for a couple of reasons. One is that I want my students to be able to think on a deeper level, while at the same time I don’t want to try and trick them! I also want them to be able to write open ended answers that promote that deep thinking. AND-of course I want them to do well on standardized tests!
2. English-Poetry- I have started having them read a weekly poem on a daily basis for fluency. I gave them a test yesterday and assessed; vocabulary, mood of poem, conflict, figurative language, etc. They said the test was so hard.
I do like the type of tests that I have created, because they ask the students to “think”, but they take up so much class time. Maybe I should shorten the reading test to a one page test since right now it is a two page test. And maybe I should do not do a weekly poetry test-make it monthly!
I’m just thinking out loud! We’ll see!
As I have said before, I think I am going to change SEVERAL things next year: one being my spelling instruction (or lack of). I am “thinking” about using the nifty thrifty fifty words to teach roots and affixes, possibly words their way, and I also want to include high frequency words within this instruction. My 6th graders have a VERY DIFFICULT time spelling these words correctly within their writing.
So this next week I am going to “try out” the high frequency part-I am only going to assign 5 words for the entire week. If I did this next year beginning the 2nd 6 weeks we would cover 150 high frequency words. My plan for this week is (and I’m keeping it simple since we are right here at the end of school):
Monday-Students will copy each of the 5 words on an index card or cut up paper
Tuesday-Students will complete 2 word sorts-1 open and 1 closed. Then they will write the words in their notebook.
Wednesday-Students will work in groups to invent a quick sketch for 1 word to help them visualize the word within the picture. Then all groups will share their sketch with the rest of the class
We will see how it goes-I’ll post on it later this week!
Here is one link for a list of 100 high frequency words for students in the intermediate grades.