March 9, 2013

Middle School Spelling

I have really mixed feelings about spelling, especially in the middle school classroom.  Throughout my first two years of teaching I gave a set list of words to students in the context of a sentence because that's what the language arts teachers in my grade did, so I just went along with it.  Throughout the following two years, I didn't do spelling at all.  I knew that by ignoring it I wasn't solving any problems, but I also knew that I didn't believe in all students having the same spelling words that didn't really even matter to them or weren't necessarily appropriate for all of the different learners in my classroom.

So during my Literacy Collaborative training, when we learned about spelling that is differentiated to each student, I was really excited to try this out in my classroom.  Here's how it works:

Day One: Introduce a spelling concept.  Have students select 6-10 words from a combination of the spelling concept of the week, their words to learn list, and a commonly misused/misspelled list.  Their words to learn list is developed by each student based on words they notice from their reading, writing, and world that they'd like to learn how to spell.

Day Two:  Practice spelling words using the "working with words" technique.

Day Three:  Practice spelling words using the "making connections" technique.

Day Four:  Practice spelling words using the "spelling menu" technique.

Day Five:  Partner spelling test to evaluate if the students are able to spell the words they selected on day one. 

I have created a product on my TpT store that goes through each of these steps in depth and contains all of the handouts needed to implement this spelling in a middle school classroom including 38 weekly spelling principles with examples.  The link to this product is below.  After using this in the classroom, I think it's a great way to get students thinking about words they want to learn how to spell in their reading and writing while also learning spelling concepts dealing with Greek and Latin root words, suffixes, prefixes, and more.  

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