A New Spin on Spelling? - Babbling Abby

A New Spin on Spelling?

  1. Annie says:

    Hi Abby,

    Interesting topic! I know exactly what you mean. I am a "new" teacher (this is only my second year teaching), and it gets me every time when a child gets 100% on his spelling test, only to write one of those very same words wrong later that same day in his independent writing.

    I would say about 95% of my class scores 100% on their weekly spelling test, yet this isn't reflected in their general spelling. It sometimes just feels so pointless, and obviously we're getting it wrong somewhere.

    I don't have any suggestions, but will be interested to see how things turn out on your side.

    I like the way the words come from the book and the theme – definitely makes it more real and relevant than a boring old list of words that just follow a specific spelling pattern.

  2. Sara J says:

    Love this post! I fought this battle when I was in the classroom. I remember reading (couldn't tell you where now) about how ineffective spelling tests were and it was basically memorization with no improvement in the way the students spelled in context. I felt like we almost had to do spelling tests each week because the parents wanted it, as they saw it was the best way to fix their child's spelling.

    We did 5 words a week at most (I taught 2nd grade) and they were sight words and then one or two words that fit our spelling pattern for the week. Later on in the year, we would add individualized words direct from each student's daily writing. It wasn't a perfect solution but it made me feel much better than giving a random list of 15 words because some book told me to.

    I'm fighting those old feelings now as a tutor. Both girls struggle with spelling and I feel like we spend so much time getting them to pass their spelling tests for the week only to have them spell the words wrong after the test is done. Ahhh!!! So frustrating.

    I'm off to read the article you suggested. Hopefully more teachers will latch onto this and when my 1 and 2 year olds are in school, I won't have to fight the spelling test battle! Eager to watch how this plays out in your classroom of one!

    Sara J Creations

  3. Camille says:

    Abby, I love that you are reflecting on your instruction. It is the reflection that makes us better teachers, not the arrival at "perfect" instruction. Keep up the great work! Camille

  4. Ms.M says:

    I think I love it. If on;y we could all teach this way. :/
    Ms. K/1 ELL
    A Teacher's Plan

  5. Amy Klebaur says:

    This is a fantastic idea…..not sure how I could do it with 26 kinders…but I have 3 kids at a much higher level. This might be an interesting and fun way to differentiate for them. Just need to think about how I can incorporate it into centers.

  6. Alex John says:

    I moved away from "traditional" spelling instruction about two years ago. For example, I stopped having weekly themed lists based on spelling patterns. The same students would get them correct, yet could they always transfer them? No. I still work with spelling patterns in small groups and word work time, but it is more meaningful in that setting rather than a memorized list. I have found that when it comes to the "memorization" or continued practice of words, I would much rather focus on sight words and high frequency words. I am glad a student remembers how to spell sheep with a double e, however, I would much rather them spell "said" correctly since they use it so often!
    Spelling is a tricky thing and definitely an area of continued reflection for me as a teacher! Thanks for sharing! I love seeing spelling connect to other areas of instruction in a fun way!

  7. I love this, as I was just telling a parent yesterday that I was contemplating doing away with my weekly spelling tests. However, I don't give word list tests, so I think my tests may be okay. What I do is I give a list of words from k12 reader.com. I teach 3rd grade. I have the kids study the words during the week, and on Friday, I give them dictation sentences. The words are in the sentences, of course, but they have to use correct mechanics as well. Maybe this is a better method. Who knows? I liked your interesting words idea, though.

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