Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Are Your Kids Super Spellers?

First of all, let me say that I have some ideas of freebies I want to make and share with you guys, but my mom's computer is sooooo old that I am lucky just to be able to get on the internet (ya know what I mean?).  Plus, all of my clip art and cute fonts are on my computer at home.  So, even though I love spending time with my Mama, I can't wait until I get back home (just 2 more weeks)!

The next section of the Primary Pizzazz book talks about spelling.  Spelling has really been a hot topic in our grade level for a couple of years now.  Spelling tests, actually.  Traditionally, we have followed along with our Treasures reading series and given the spelling words that go with the story each week.  We then have a test on Friday.  I have to say that this DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!!!  I mean, who's to say that the kids are ready for a spelling test on Friday.  The whole testing because it's Friday thing makes me insane (but that's a whole 'nother post)!  I mean, did you ever have kids who would score 100% on every spelling test, but not spell any of those same words correctly when they write?  Yep, that's another reason I hate traditional spelling lists/tests.  Now, some of you may not agree, but I think sending home those weekly lists just encourages memorizing those words only and then only to put them down on a test paper on Friday.

So, last year, I tried to get my team to get rid of the spelling list and teach word families or word study.  Here's what I'm thinking:  Teach the -ap word family.  Do lots of word building and word work activities with that word family.  Then, you can give a spelling list with -ap words.  The kids aren't memorizing a list of words, but are learning to apply that spelling when they hear it in a word.  That would give you more freedom to differentiate the spelling test for different students.  We all know that the word "map" might be just right for one student, but wayyy too easy for another. 
Unfortunately, I got shot down.  See, our principal has always given us the freedom (as a team) to do pretty much what we want, but the whole team had to be on the same page.  Sooo, that meant that if the rest of them wanted a list, I had to do it too.  I did convince them to wait until the second 9 weeks (around October) to start giving the lists and tests, but they argued that because second grade gives them, the kids need the practice. 

Well, with the CCSS being implemented this year, the administration at our school has become more open to allowing each teacher to decide what goes on in her classroom.  YEAH!!! Yep, that's me doing a happy dance right now.  So I have finally gotten 2 others of my 4 teammates to agree to teach word families with me, but I'm wondering if any of you make your own lists.  I know that I've asked this before and some of you gave me some good ideas, but, since I have some new followers, I was hoping some more of you might chime in on the spelling issue.  Do you give a list each week?  Do you have weekly spelling tests?  Where do you get your spelling words?


  1. I'm so nodding my head! I don't do spelling tests. The "test" is the child's daily writing. Each student has their own individualized spelling list. The words come out of their own writing so that Bella can be working on words like "can" while Garrett can work on words like "especially." If kids don't spell their words correctly in their daily writing, they go back on their individualized lists. I change the lists up every two weeks. Here's a post about it if you're interested.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. I completely agree with you about teaching word families. I have been teaching second for the past two years, and my grade level did families. We began with a Words Their Way assessment, and then each sorted our kids into 3 groups-BGL, GL, AGL. The below grade level kids would typically have 5-6 words, and the easiest words. The grade level students would have 10 words, and the most commonly used words. The above grade level students would have 12 words and some would be the same as the grade level students, but maybe added prefixes or suffixes and some more difficult words that fit the spelling pattern. We also assessed using Words Their Way at each quarter because the spelling groups are fluid... students do not have to stay in the same group all year.