Best day to give spelling test

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Cthdenver, Sep 30, 2007.

  1. Cthdenver

    Cthdenver Rookie

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    I have my kids MON - THUR. WHAT IS THE BEST DAY TO GIVE A SPELLING TEST. I would think THUR - However I have heard alot of people say go from MON to MON or Tuesday - Tuesday which gives the kids the weekend to study???
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Mine are typically on Friday. They get the list on Monday, we do activities all week, play a game on Thursday, test on Friday. If we don't have school on Friday, our test gets moved to Thursday and we double up a day. I think it'd be worse to give them time over the weekend. They won't study.
     
  4. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    We go Monday-Friday and give the test on Friday.

    You have such long days and only four days. I think Mon or Tuesday would be better in your case.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    We give ours on Friday with lessons during the week. Here's what we do (younger grade, 1st):

    Monday: Introduction (defining what the words are, brainstorming ways we use them as a class) and then we do a short activity.
    Tuesday: Read day (can they recognize the words on sight..again, a younger group on this one); we do a short activity such as spelling dominos or matching word to picture, etc.
    Wednesday: Comprehension day; this is usually worksheet day or maybe sentence strip matching, writing excercise, etc.
    Thursday: Practice test (new this year so they can take it home and study what they don't know) and a Drill game
    Friday: Drill game plus Sparkle (another drill game) then test.

    Intro and Sparkle are separate. For the past 2 years this center has been 15 min long (small group rotations). This year it will increase to 30 minutes so I will have to add other things.

    I wouldn't give a test on a Monday.
     
  6. Emma35

    Emma35 Connoisseur

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    I wouldn't give a test on Monday. I really don't think a whole lot of studying will get done over the weekend. I don't give homework over the weekends, I think that is the time for kids to be kids and families to be families.
     
  7. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Lists go home Wednesday, test on following Tuesday.
     
  8. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    My third graders get thier lists on Monday. On Tuesday, we have a "pretest." Those students who score 100 on their pretest are excused from the "real" test, which is given on Thursday. We are trying to spread our students' test out a bit further now, because typically they are all on Friday, and an entire day doing nothing but testing is very hard for 3rd graders!
     
  9. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    We went Mon-Fri, doing activities Mon-Wed, Thur was review, Fri was test day.
     
  10. jmpteaches

    jmpteaches Rookie

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    Copy that! :)
     
  11. LionPride

    LionPride Companion

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    How about no day? Why are you giving spelling tests anyway? Are you giving just a list of words and students have to write them down? What is the purpose? Do they know how to spell those words perfectly three weeks after the test? Wouldn't it be better to do something else with all the class time spent on useless boring spelling tests?
     
  12. michelb366

    michelb366 Comrade

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    Lionpride - I'm interested in how you run your spelling program. Could you please tell what you do to help kids improve spelling? I agree that the spelling tests encourage short-term memorization, what is your approach to getting it into the long-term memory?
     
  13. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I give spelling tests that are really vocab. tests. They are lists of words to use in their writing. Most of them do get into their long term memory because they are encouraged to look at them when they are evaluating and elaborating a piece.

    I also remember when I used them for phonics study in the earlier grades. I don't think they are useless lists of words to be memorized purely for their letter organization.
     
  14. LionPride

    LionPride Companion

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    The more students read and write the more they see and use words that are familiar to them. My students read in class about 25-30 daily. They write each day and then for extended periods of time twice a week during Writer's Workshop. I also do word studies in small gorups that help students focus on certain spelling area. These are usually only about 10 minute lessons during the week.
     
  15. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I gave the words on Monday, Pre test Wed or Thursday & "real" test Friday. I also didn't make mine with 100% on pretest do it on Friday. I also gave homework on Thursdays that had to do with spelling list!!!
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Ours are also not "uselist lists of words." Instead, they are vocabulary words for the reading selections (all subjects) for the week, and the students don't "just memorize" them for "short term memory." Our kids actually have to use the words, many times, over the course of the week and beyond. Ours is definitely a word-rich 3rd grade environment, and I do nothing that wastes even a minute of my students' time.
     
  17. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Oct 2, 2007

    Monday- pretest
    Tuesday-Wednesday- Tic tac toe Spelling activities
    Thursday- Practice spelling test given by mom/dad- write missed spelling words five times on the back
    Friday- Spelling test- 100% and higher get to turn their tests into a paper airplane and fly it in the contest
     
  18. jmpteaches

    jmpteaches Rookie

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    I feel that it is important for my students to know particular spelling patterns. (Isn't that concept in every state's standards?!) It carries into their writing and reading. I want them to know the patterns more than that particular list of words, but this is the best way I see to teach those patterns. I can tell if they apply the patterns by looking at the spelling they use in their writing. I do agree that some spelling assignments have little value, but activities that have to do with the patterns are important. Also, high frequency words are a whole different story! They sometimes just need to be memorized.
     
  19. Fish in 4th

    Fish in 4th Rookie

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    Yes!!! I agree with Lion. This is a tradition that has gone on too long. Spelling tests hurt good students and don't do anything for struggling students. They are not best practice in teaching.
     
  20. Fish in 4th

    Fish in 4th Rookie

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    jmp,

    How about having them write? Who has ever come up to you in the real world and asked you about spelling patterns? Spelling tests don't work--just look at the person who started this thread...alot is spelled a lot!
     
  21. Fish in 4th

    Fish in 4th Rookie

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    LionPride,

    Keep it up!
     
  22. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Yeah, but you can tell the difference between a decent (not perfect) speller and one that isn't. I've known some that I cringe at reading their writing because it is worse than my 5th grade son's spelling and it's definately off track. It does come up in the real world. Try mispelling 5 words on your application and see if you get hired for a decent job.
     
  23. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Sorry, long

    :2cents:The reason behind standardized spelling (which did not always exist -- thank Daniel Webster, et al) is so that people can more easily communicate effectively. If everyone is following their own proclivities regarding spelling, no one would be able to understand their neighbor. Personally, I think that the teacher can still teach proper spelling techniques, as well as vocabulary strategies, while still creating an atmosphere that fosters creativity and love of learning. My students (a decidedly below average group of 3rd graders -- only 2 scored at or above benchmark for Dibels) see the weekly spelling activities as challenges. They are eager to obtain the lists each Monday, and are excited to take the pre-test on Tuesday. Those who score 100% on the pre-test are excused from the normal Thursday spelling test. I can't name a single student in our classroom who doesn't love the competitive nature of our spelling tests. I can also tell you that I have students well below benchmark who are scoring 95 - 100% on their spelling tests each week. I think that if it is handled correctly, spelling can be a fun challenge for the students instead of a chore. Most of that attitude is directly related to the teacher's attitude toward the subject. Personally, I would rather my students be able to fill out those future job/college/home loan applications, etc.
     
  24. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    In small groups today (younger grade..1st) we played a board game. Basically the cards they drew had questions on it. Sometimes the answer lead to their spelling word. Sometimes it was a fill in the blank sentence. Sometimes the question had the spelling word itself. Today is comprehension portion so spelling itself was not involved. Tomorrow we use shaving cream. They still have spelling homework and need parent support, but spelling IS fun.
     
  25. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Scoring well on a spelling test doesn't mean they will know the words in 3 weeks. I do spelling, but it has to be thought through very carefully.

    1) I use High Frequency words
    2) I also include words from their writing
    3) Spelling is individualized
    4) A small number of words are practiced, to ensure mastery-- 5 words for my kids, 3 for younger, 7 for older.
    5) Patterns and rules are taught as reading, and referred to in spelling... patterns can be figured out easily. Words like said and when are not so easy. I work on the words they can't sound out or apply a regular rime or phonics rule to.
    6) They understand WHY spelling is so hard (the history of English) to whatever degree it can be understood for their development

    THEN on top of all of that, their words must be spelled right once they have been mastered. The kids have word rings or other ways of referring to their words when editing their work, such as personal dictionaries.

    I use some brain-based memorization techniques that I learned from a dyslexia training. I use them and reassess my students every 6 weeks on their cumulative words and by golly, my kids know those words... the only ones who have missed A word were kids with real learning difficulties in spelling.... and I mean ONE word was missed of 30.

    Sorry to sound as if I am on a high horse here--- I am passionate about this. Spelling is basically the bane of my existence. I have been working very hard to find something that works for my kids, and finally have.
     
  26. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I don't disagree that scoring well on a spelling test doesn't mean they know it later. I've seen it happen too. We try to keep reinforcing it by adding the words to the language in our worksheets, putting it in the morning message, encouraging them to use the words themselves, create writing opportunities, have word walls, etc. Reading it is more important than knowing how to spell it, however, they both help each other and both are important. For deaf kids who haven't a clue how to sound something out, spelling is part of having a word bank to draw from when it comes down to writing something. Beyond that, knowing how to spell stuff leads to a better understanding of how it all goes together (recognizing patterns and usages from practice).

    I also agree that it is individualized. Some kids get as few as 5 in my class and others get 15. I expose them to all for reading and usage purposes.
     
  27. ~Nicole

    ~Nicole Comrade

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    I introduce words on Thursday and test on Wednesday
     
  28. jmpteaches

    jmpteaches Rookie

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    My students write and read everyday as well. From using spelling patterns, they have a strategy of sounding out words and knowing the phoenemic patterns to spell the words they use in writing.

    Nobody asks me the patterns, but I spell on a daily basis. I have to use patterns to spell words everyday, obviously less consciously as an adult than a child.

    And now you are critiquing someone you probably don't know and can't really use that as an example because you don't know his/her spelling background. I would also contend that alot is a high frequency word that does not fall under the spelling pattern rules but needs to be taught in other ways.

    I agree that there is best practice, but there are also some strategies that work for some teachers and not others. Maybe the way I teach word patterns doesn't work for you. But if you are interested, Words Their Way is a wonderful text that I used in my phonics class, have kept, and referenced many times.

    And, for the record, there is a line on our report cards that says "Spells assigned words correctly," so I really have no choice but to assign words to be tested on. Therefore I make the choice to incorporate those spelling patterns into my class as best as possible before I test them.
     
  29. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I give words on Monday and a test on Friday- I guess what you'd say the "traditional" method.
     
  30. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I have heard this argument before, and, personally, I can see the merit in NOT giving spelling tests after about 3 or 4 grade. But the parents would riot because it is the one thing they can count on year after year. I still give the weekly tests, but I'm trying to use a lot more word study activities than spelling activities. Personally I'd be all for dumping the spelling tests at my grade level.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2007
  31. Fish in 4th

    Fish in 4th Rookie

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    runs,

    I think you have hit the nail on the head! How many of you have ever tried not giving spelling tests? And I agree that spelling is important for communication. But please explain to me how I can spell the hundreds of words that I have never seen on a spelling test?

    For a school field trip, our class goes to an old one room school house and the students see how school was taught 50-80 years ago. Spelling was taught exactly the same way many of you are describing today. I understand how hard it is to stand up to something that is a tradition, but we now know a lot about the brain. Aren't we obligated to use that knowledge?
     
  32. justateacher

    justateacher New Member

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    Spelling is a major topic of turmoil in my school right now. Do you know of specific research I could find regarding best practices for spelling? Plus, are you required to give spelling grades. If so, what do you base your grades on?
     
  33. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    I would think Thursday also....... btw, what happens to your kids on Fridays??
     
  34. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Spelling tests are quite an issue where I teach as well. I do not give traditional tests at all. I do them on Monday or Tuesday, and the kids are responsible for 5 high frequency words or individual words from their work, plus knowing a pattern and all it's little nuances. For the pattern words, I do a thing where they are given a picture, or a word. The directions are "if you can spell ____ you can also spell _______ _________ ________" Basically word families. Starting in February they will have 5 vocab words as well. A total of 10 words to memorize and a pattern to know (for example, long i, they will need to know i __ e, ight, ie, etc. That's my lower group, my higher group does other stuff.)
     
  35. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    I do a test on Friday, but next year we are going to be doing Sitton Spelling.

    For the first semester my students had four sounds, three pattern words, three word wall words, and a sentence. Now they have four sounds, five pattern words, five word wall words, and a sentence.
     
  36. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I don't know about research, but I really like the Making Big Words and Working With Words portion of the Four Block Literacy Model. My school doesn't use either system; I discovered both on my own because I don't like the vocabulary books we have (too hard) and the lists that go with the reading series (so easy they're a joke). I also went to a workshop back in April that was put on by one of the big workshop/conference companies (I got a flier in my mailbox at school). I can't remember the name of the woman who led the workshop, but she had worked with middle school students with special needs.
     
  37. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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  38. jmpteaches

    jmpteaches Rookie

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    I agree! Also look at Words Their Way by Bear, Invernizzi, Tempelton, & Johnston. This is one college textbook I saved. It gives research and applicable word (phonics, vocabulary, & spelling) activities.
     

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