Opinion needed

Discussion in 'Third Grade' started by SuperFudge, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. SuperFudge

    SuperFudge Rookie

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    Feb 2, 2014

    Every week, I give my students a spelling pretest. If they get 100% on the pretest, they receive an alternative, more challenging list for the week. A parent emailed me because she believes that her son is purposely getting 1 wrong on the pretest so that he doesn't need to get the challenge list. Therefore, she's asking if I could send home the challenge list anyway for her son each week.

    I'm not sure what to do. I feel like if I just send it home without the 100% on the pretest, it's opening a pandora's box for the other parents to just ask me for the challenge list. However, I want this student to be working to his highest level. The mom also said that she has her son try the spelling words on spellingcity.com before I give the pretest and he gets 100% there (another piece of proof that he may just purposely getting 1 wrong not to get the challenge list.)
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    So, what you are saying is you have this child spend a week of spelling time learning 1 word..... which the parents think he probably already knows and is gaming you. What benefit does the student get from spending a week learning 1 word which he probably already knows.

    If you think about it that way, you might see where the parents are coming from.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Feb 2, 2014

    I don't see the problem with sending home the challenge list with any students who wants to work on it. Aren't we always wanting our students to aim higher?
     
  5. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Feb 2, 2014

    When I was in 2nd last year, I did three separate lists with no pretests. My low and ELL students had 10 words. My average kids had the same 10 words plus 5 more challenging words. My high kids had the previous 15 words plus even more challenging words. They all fit the same rule, and I didn't have to mess with pretests. I would just watch their spelling test scores. If they were repeatedly getting an A, I'd try and bump them to the next level.

    And I agree- spending a week learning one word is not beneficial.
     
  6. SuperFudge

    SuperFudge Rookie

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    Feb 2, 2014

    Thank you!
     
  7. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Feb 2, 2014

    The student aces the pretest and consequently he/she is given a new list of words to learn. The student might resent the fact that their success is being rewarded with more work. They may wonder why they have to learn more words when they demonstrated knowledge and other kids get to do the easier words all week. The parents want their apathetic child to be successful. He/she is content with doing the minimum.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Why not just differentiate from the get-go? You should have a fairly good idea of what kids need which set of words. Give group A one set of words, give group B another set of words. I use the Words Their Way series, and always have three groups. They know and accept that they have different words.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Also, when it comes to pretests, my personal policy is that if a student gets 85% or higher on a pretest, then they already have mastery and should be doing something more appropriate. I understand going for 100%, but that leads to situations like this where kids are doing work for, ultimately, very little educational benefit.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    It is not more work, it is different work, and he doesn't have to learn more words, it is the same number.

    I guess you believe that differentiation should not happen in classrooms. Odd since your profile says special education teacher.
     
  11. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Feb 2, 2014

    You misinterpreted my reply.

    I was looking at the situation from the student's perspective. He is choosing to fail. That is worth consideration. We want our students to be successful and motivated yet sometimes they are not. In this case I was suggesting why that might be.

    Frankly, one of the reasons I am reluctant to post in this forum is that judgments are made without looking at a situation from all sides. We need a little more compassion in this forum not value judgments.
     
  12. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Since I have a split 4/5 classroom, and especially coming in mid-year, while it was tempting to provide several different lists, I found that one solution that balanced being able to differentiate while preventing me from losing my mind for a 30-minute portion of the day, that being that we look at patterns that can be applied across both difficult and easier words (i.e. prefixes, suffixes, compound words, vowel patterns, plurals, etc...), mixed in with the occasional work with common errors that everyone has (homophones, the use of 's, etc...).
     
  13. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I was aware you were explaining how a student might feel, but without any suggestion it seemed more of an excuse for the student to behave this way, particularly when you said the student was having to learn more. It was not my intent to make you feel judged.

    What are your suggestions for the OP to move this student from the potential resentment feeling toward accepting that he must be challenged in his learning? We can't have a student not learning and in the case the OP described, this student wouldn't be learning.
     
  14. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Feb 2, 2014

    I understand where LisaLisa is coming from. Perhaps you can let the 100% stand as their grade for the week and still have them work challenge activities with more difficult words! or extend their learning of the week's words (meaning, origin, using in sentences, etc).
     
  15. SuperFudge

    SuperFudge Rookie

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    Wow, I didn't realize that this would become such a heated discussion about spelling pretests...LOL. Thanks for the input. Just curious what you all thought.
    And to answer "Gr3teacher," I don't just give the challenge list to higher learners from the "get go" for a few reasons.
    1. It's quite a self-esteem raiser for some of my at level learners to earn this challenge list at times. Why not give other learners a chance to earn a challenge?
    2. My advanced learners don't always earn the challenge list every week. Sometimes no one earns the challenge list and my advanced students even need some practice with weekly lesson.
     
  16. janis

    janis Companion

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    Mar 7, 2014

    I may not be fully understanding the problem, but anytime a parent or child wants more of a challenge, go for it! If the parent wants more challenging words, send them.
     
  17. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I'm sorry if this has been mentioned already but why not just take the words missed on the first test and add them to the challenge list. If it's only one word then replace that word with one on the challenge list. Maybe make it 70% or lower then they have to retake the pre-test words.
     
  18. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    That makes sense.
     
  19. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    Mar 8, 2014

    I agree with the student's mom - if that were my son, i wouldn't want him studying one word all week.
    more of a challenge? i think that's a great thing!

    just a suggestion... you could keep your system but modify it so that the challenge list gets sent home to all students (optional for those who didn't score 100%).
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 8, 2014

    Are all kids getting the same pretest every week? You could consider doing an assessment to determine kids' spelling developmental levels and then give different lists based on that assessment. I currently have 4 different spelling groups in my room....if you are not tied to a district mandated program, you might look into Words Their Way.:thumb:
     
  21. SuperFudge

    SuperFudge Rookie

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    Apr 6, 2014

    Never said it was a "problem," just wanted an opinion.
     
  22. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I don't get why some members here keep saying that this student is learning only ONE word per week. Am I missing something? My understanding is that there is a pretest of a certain amount of words, and he's misspelling 1 word on purpose. That doesn't mean he's only learning 1 word.
     
  23. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Even if he's missing that word because he doesn't know it though, he'd still only be learning one word per week.
     

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