What is happening to spelling in primary grades?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by TeachCafe, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    I don't remember how spelling and handwriting was taught when I was in elementary but I DO know that my age bracket (25 30s) with the exception of maybe a million or so who make "Millennials" look bad are overall no dummies. So WHY has it changes and what exactly has changed?

    I have students who cannot spell sight words to save their lives. They know them and read them just fine.
    I'm cringing reading these personal narratives.

    "My famile and me whent to disny world last sumner." "Aftr that we wint in sid and plad mincraf" Win I get home me and my brothers plad games.<--- actual lines typed from the personal narrative I'm grading at this moment.

    What is going on here? This is not the only child. This student can read and comprehend very well. He's on a level P. So why is handwriting sketchy and his spelling this off. I don't think this is dyslexia. If so, then about 60% of the grade level needs to be tested because honestly that many write and spell like this exactly.

    What in the actual world is this? Jesus take the Wheel!

    How and what are they teaching for spelling in K-1st?
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Many of my 8th graders have handwriting that looks like hieroglyphics.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    What grade is this. I can assure you elementary is teaching word work and spelling.
     
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    I think handwriting and spelling are two separate issues. I agree that handwriting has taken a nose dive. Spelling I have kept accurate data over the last 20 years and I haven't seen much change. It is often poor in 2nd and beginning of 3rd. With good spelling instruction, plenty of opportunities for reading, and daily writing, there can be a lot of growth in grades 3-5.
     
  6. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My school is huge on explicit phonics instruction and spelling is very entwined into that. Students learn the pattern and practice writing words with that pattern as much as they do reading words with that pattern. We spend a significant amount of time on this. I'm a millennial and it's not how I was taught at all. I honestly didn't know a lot of the phonics rules until I started teaching them myself, like syllable types or why certain words are spelled a certain way. I definitely learned spelling just through memorization. Pretty much all of the teachers that I've heard from at my school are the same way.

    One year before we really got obsessed with the whole explicit phonics thing, we gave a phonics screener school wide and I had TWO intermediate level teachers come tell me that there was a mistake on the assessment, because it asked what two sounds "g" makes. They didn't know the sounds themselves!
     
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Maybe yours. Not all. I'm not sure our lower elementary kiddos really do.
     
  8. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    With spell check and autocorrect, one needs only get somewhat close to the correct spelling. Technology does the rest for people nowadays. There's not as much motivation to be able to spell.

    I've also heard several teachers (on here and elsewhere) say spelling tests are a waste of time because they don't teach anything. I disagree. They teach attention to detail, and they teach students how to study. Tests aren't meant to teach content. They're meant to see whether you learned what you were supposed to learn.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I for one am more alarmed by the teachers who believe that English spelling isn't worth teaching because it's too illogical to be learned.

    TeachCafe, what grade are you teaching?
     
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  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Who are these teachers? Are there not district and state standards?
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Most elementary teachers in my district tow this line. Spelling is not directly stated in our state standards which is why it is ignored.

    Other reasons given is that spelling is illogical. Technology takes care of the problem so kids don't need to learn to spell. (Technology has been the go to reason for abandoning many academic skills including math facts, grammar, and any form or memorization.)

    One note though is that phonics was a very dirty word in my district for decades.
     
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  12. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I wonder, to some extent, if there's also a small element of decreased amount of exposure to the written word (i.e. through books/reading), or maybe that's just my biased thoughts. There seems to be an increased number of kids who come in only comfortable with reading graphic novels and reading less text, and so naturally, you don't see words spelled correctly as often. Seeing words via texts or on social media is not as likely to be accurately spelled. There's certainly at least a decent correlation (though obviously not necessarily causation) between those who read the most each year in my class and their overall spelling.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Kids aren't being taught foundation skills for reading and then are being told to read anything because anything is better than nothing. They choose the easy reads because books have become too difficult because of the lack of pictures to help support poor comprehension and often poor decoding, fluency, and vocabulary knowledge.
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I say this with not one iota of authority or even data: I think some of our fussy intricate ways of teaching spelling these days are messing up spelling. I recall the last few years looking at Words Their Way and thinking, is this helping or confusing young spellers?

    My school is teaching Saxon spelling. It seems fine so far, but I wonder if it will one day shoot beyond the mark.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My kids come into my grade having a foundation in phonics instruction K-2 using a sequential program and spelling/word work using Word Their Way. I like WTW in that kids learn patterns and make generalizations and it allows for differentiation.
     
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  16. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    What grade? I'll own up and admit my spelling and handwriting were atrocious in Elementary School. I could read anything they put in front of me, but, writing and spelling were difficult for me.
    Considering I have a MEd, it didn't exactly hold me back in life. ;)

    I'd like to think I didn't disgust my teachers, as it certainly wasn't because I wasn't trying or that my previous teachers hadn't tried to teach me.
     
  17. TeachCafe

    TeachCafe Comrade

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    I teach 3rd.

    For me with "spelling tests" IMO, I feel like it's more for parents because what I've seen over the years is parents riding hard for math homework because for them it's "real" homework. As in it's concrete and the students are doing something that doesn't require assistance for awhile.

    Verses, reading logs, reading homwork, etc. will have them asking what a word is and so on and askig their child comprehension questions during reading is too abstract.

    With spelling tests, they tend to just memorize the words there and that's what theytknow. Give them a word that follows the rule yet isn't on the "list" and the spelling is MS Wingdings.

    This is just my experience and assumptions based on teaching in Title 1 schools. FYI, the above OP is from a 3rd grader at a non-Title 1 school. Both parents ARE teachers themselves and that's his writing and spelling.
     
  18. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2019
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  19. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I like it, too, but I have run into kids who just seemed confused and actually did better in maintaining the knowledge of the word by just remembering it.
     
  20. Aces

    Aces Cohort

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    I was thinking along the lines of this with the handwriting as well. With computers being such a vital part of our society, there's an emphasis on typing not handwriting. I have high schoolers where their handwriting is absolutely atrocious and I tell them to type out anything they hand me.

    Also OP: most people consider the millennials age bracket to be roughly early 80s and ending at '99. Which makes our generation, the millennials. This new generation that we're teaching is I believe generation z or something along those lines.

    Left field: for some of my handwriting, they look really odd. For instance, z has a third horizontal bar, the cross on f sits basically on the line, I still cross my 7s. It's funny to me when students who aren't familiar with this style ask me well what's that letter. I think the f gets them most often, however it's learned from a style of calligraphy in which you would make the f swoopy and loopy.
     
  21. Aces

    Aces Cohort

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    Also for kicks and giggles we should all post samples of our handwriting
     
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