There is just no time for spelling in our day. I need the most effective, yet time friendly way to teach spelling at this level.
I don't teach spelling as a whole class subject. Once a week I have a micro writing project that is "published" (It goes up on the wall.) Since all the published work we see has perfect spelling, the students must spell everything correctly. Over half the class needs no help, the rest get targeted strategies or lessons from me or peers who are done.
At the end of the year I give the end-of-the-year test that the other teachers give and my results are no different.
All my students have their own list they are working on. As they finish other assignments, they use their spelling ring and work on their words through spelling centers. It is a great way to target different levels and differentiate instruction. It requires little teacher direction.
Give the words to students and give them a menu with assignments to complete. Nine box tic tac toe menu worked for me during student teaching. They practice the words by finishing 3 assignments in a week all at home. You won't have to devote any class time to it. If you do have time play a game like sparkle.
I use a spelling contract. Each student has a different list of words (determined by pretests that they take each week in the computer lab - I have them set up on SpellingCity.com - high frequency words) - they then fill in the rest of the words with words from the content we'll be studying that particular week. (Great differentiation for everyone. I do give some a list of 10 words instead of 20 as needed.)
This is their morning work, until 8 when we get started. They have four activities that are due Friday when they take their spelling test. (There are 16 activities to choose from, offering a variety of choices for different learning styles.) They can work on it when they complete their work or for homework. Once they get set up at the beginning of the year, it is student led and I don't have to do anything. It's wonderful!
Fortunately, our spelling is included in our reading series (Reading Street). I take about 15 minutes on Monday to go over the words together (defining, mini-lessons, decoding etc) and then they must write the words into their weekly agenda. (they usually get to eat their snack at this time) I check them all and they must be correct to continue. During the week they usually have a couple of workbook pages or activities to complete as seat work. We play a review game on Thursday, usually right before lunch (in that 5-10 minutes we all seem to have), and give the test on Friday. If we have a short week or I extend a story/lesson over 2 weeks, I will also have differentiated activities. It sounds like I put a lot of time into it, but other than the initial time on Monday, I don't really.