Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Fun, Creative, and Differentiated Approach to Teaching Spelling

Hello again friends! It's Jen Bengel here from Out of This World Literacy!

I wanted to talk about a fun, new way to teach spelling. I don't know about you, but I am tired of the old traditional ways of teaching spelling, where all the students in the room memorize the same 20 words each week. There is no differentiation in learning with this method. What if students already know how to spell all 20 words? Or what if the words are just too challenging? In either situation, no real new learning will occur all week!

But, there is a way to teach spelling in a way that every student will be challenged at his/her own level! And the focus will be on studying patterns, not memorizing a list of words. Let me show you how by going over the 5 days of instruction in this spelling process:

Day One: Whole Group Lesson and Choosing Spelling Words

Step One: Teach a spelling or word study skill in a mini lesson format to the entire class.  During the lesson, the students will help in making a list of words that follow the particular spelling pattern for the week.

Step Two: Students will choose their spelling words from the list on the class chart.  You can determine how many words they choose from the list each week.  Have them copy their words onto a spelling record sheet that they will use to study with the remainder of the week.  Be sure to check that students copied their words correctly onto their cards.

Day Two: Review and Independent Practice

Step One: Spend some time reviewing the mini lesson anchor chart from yesterday.  Create a new chart of what you notice about the words and what you are still wondering. 

Step Two: provide students with independent activity options so that they can explore their spelling words and patterns.  You may already have several ideas for spelling activities.  Some examples might include, taking apart words by syllables, breaking words into base word and suffix or prefix, or finding synonyms and antonyms for words.  The ideas are limitless!

Day Three: Reflection of New Learning

Step One: One of the best ways to learn is to teach.  So, today's lesson will be all about the students' teaching each other.  Not only does this activity honor and value that what students have to say is important, it is also a great way to hold students accountable for their independent work and new learning.

Step Two: Partner students up and have them teach each other what they discovered during independent practice yesterday.  Once students have finished sharing with their partners, have them share what they heard their partner say with the entire class.

Day Four: Partner Reteaching, Tips, and Practice Test

Step One: Have students partner-up with their individual spelling lists.  Encourage each student to reteach the spelling/word work skill in their own words to their partner.  Then have them share one or two tips with each other that helps them remember the spelling/word work skill.

Step Two: Pass out blank paper for students to complete their spelling practice test.  Instruct students to give the practice test to their partners.  Monitor students as one reads the words and the other takes the test.

Step Three: Have students grade each other's practice tests.  If they missed any words, have them circle them and remember to practice them before the test tomorrow.

Step Four: Gather the class together and have them share the spelling/word work tips they talked about with their partners.  Students can write down any tips they might use to help them take the test tomorrow. 

Day Five: Partner Spelling Test, What's Next...?

Step One: Have students exchange their spelling lists with their partners.  Have students give each other their spelling tests.  Monitor the class as they take their tests.

Step Two: Once everyone is finished taking their tests, have them gather back together for a class discussion and review.  Remind students that just because they took their spelling tests and are moving on to new words and patterns next week does not mean they should forget all their learning.  

Make a class list of all the ways they can use what they learned in the future.

How can they apply what they learned during reading?  Writing?  And other subjects?

Thank you so much for stopping by at All Things Upper Elementary!!  Click on the links below to see some great spelling resources...for FREE!

Best wishes to you all!!

Jen Bengel

1 comment:

  1. Love teaching spelling through common rules and patterns! I think it is so much more meaningful. Thanks for the post.


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