At the beginning of the year, you will be establishing routines and assessing your students. For the first 2-3 weeks you will assess your students’ knowledge of high frequency words. I get my HFW lists from Beth Newingham at the Scholastic website. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top_teaching/2010/10/my-november-top-ten-list-word-study-in-action You can of course use any set of lists that you want. Now this may sound complicated, but bear with me. There are a few different ways you can assess your students. First of all, copy all the HFW lists and put them into a binder or folder for each student. We keep ours in our P.I.R.A.T.E. Binder.
1. Whole Group: (this is what I do, as it takes a lot less time)
Based on students’ DRA scores when they come in my classroom or other records I have, I start kiddos out on a list that I think will be challenging for them. For example, Tommy gets list A, Sally gets list B, and George gets list C. I do this for all kiddos. I then tell them their list number. I give the spelling assessment as a whole class. I will say, “1A: neighborhood, 1B: picture, 1C: wear.” Students are told to listen for their list only and to write down their words only. You may be saying, “She is nuts!”, but believe me, it works and the kids love it because they really have to listen. After I give about 20 words a day, we grade the words together as a class or I take them home and grade them. Any words kiddos got correct, they will highlight on their High Frequency Word List. Words that are wrong, are left blank. These will be the words the kiddos have to study for their test. They study five a week, in order of their HFW list.
1 Parent Volunteer: If you are lucky enough to have a parent volunteer, you could give her a small group of kiddos with the same list, or one kiddo at a time.
I DO NOT do all HFW lists at the beginning of the school year or else we would never get started on our real lists. When I notice kiddos are running out of words, I will give a little informal test during a conference or I will assign them words based on the words they miss in their writing.
Once kiddos have a sufficient amount of words, you will teach them the procedure for the spelling tests.
Monday: Every Monday, you will give a pretest using the pretest words for that unit. These words can be found on the Teacher word lists. Students will never see these beforehand. All kiddos will simply write the words on a sheet of notebook paper. We grade these together in class. I am watchful for the couple of kiddos that have difficulty being honest. J If students miss one or none, they will Study List A for the week. This is the challenge list. If they miss two or more, they get List B. You would be surprised how many kiddos try really hard to get List A. The best thing is, they will fluctuate between List A and B all year.
After this or sometimes during morning work, kiddos are given their test back from the previous week. Any words they missed, on HFW list, automatically become part of this week’s High Frequency List. They will write this on their Word Study Unit List where is says High Frequency Words. If they need new HFW, they will choose them from the lists that they did at the beginning of the year. Make sure all words that are spelled correctly are highlighted now. They love this part!
We also have a mini notebook where we write our five HFW for the week. This notebook is used during the test on Fridays. I will explain why a little later.
Still with me?
Tuesday-Thursday: Word Study Activities
These are the days that we complete all kinds of word study work individually, with partners, and in groups. Students have a Word Study notebook where they keep any work or games.
Friday: Test day
Hand out a Spelling Test to every child. Have them write List A or B at the top. Now you will say the words for each list.
Test Words: For example…
“1A: happy He was happy when he saw his puppy. Happy
1B: saw I saw my dog in the yard. Saw”
“2A: serious The expression on her face was very serious. Serious
2B: look Please look at me. Look”
I say the words back to back with not much of a break between list A and B. The kiddos may struggle at the beginning, but that is why you model, model, model and practice, practice, practice! This will save you a lot of heartache and a sub will be able to come in and do this with no problem!
Applied List: These are the five words that have the word family or pattern that students do NOT get a head of time or get to study. Choose five words from the Teacher List of the Applied Words. Everyone gets the same five. When you grade these, only grade the pattern for the week, not the entire word!
High Frequency List: Your job is over. Now you are going to monitor your students. Assign each student with a Spelling Partner. This is where the mini notebook comes in. At the beginning of the week, students wrote their high frequency words on a page in the notebook. Now they will switch their notebooks with a partner and the partner will give them their five words. Students will write the word CORRECTLY in a sentence. (so they have to know the meaning). The bottom of the page was made so it can FOLD over. This way, kiddos can only see the High Frequency Part and NOT the rest of the test.
Here is what it would sound like with Jack and Jill.
Jack: Your first word is “happy.”
Jill: Your first word is “octopus.”
NOW they stop and each write their word in a sentence. This saves A TON of time instead of Jack waiting for Jill and doing all her words and then they trade. NO GOOD! It wastes so much time. Again, you have to model and practice, but once you do, you will be so proud of how quickly they can do this!
Jack: Number 2 “jump.”
Jill: Number 2 “entertainment.”
They would continue with all five words and then turn the paper in.
Now you simply grade the tests and give them back on Monday.
If you made it this far, I think you will LOVE this program! I know I do! It makes my students much more self-sufficient and it really assesses how they apply word patterns and differentiates for each child.
Spelling in my classroom is based off of Fountas and Pinnell, Words Their Way, and Beth Newingham at Scholastic. To get an even more detailed explanation and a video, go to http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top_teaching/2010/10/my-november-top-ten-list-word-study-in-action Please know that I did not come up with this program, only the word lists and tests. I tweaked things to fit my classroom.
So... do you want the words and test? Check it out at my TPT store.