Spelling Motivations

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by mopar, May 22, 2011.

  1. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2011

    Any tricks to get students to practice their spelling words? In my district, we are not allowed to choose our words or even make them more developmentally appropriate. We must give the list that comes with the Treasures series.

    Many of my students do well on spelling tests (Bs and As), but many more fail the same tests. I'm wondering what I should include to help encourage students to practice these words as they are given every test question a week or more before the test.
     
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  3. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    May 22, 2011

    Could you set a goal for some of these students and reward them if they pass it? Not necessarily something like "get an A", but something like improve their score by so many words? I've also had a lot of success with having students track their own progress. I don't do spelling, but I know in the regular ed. classrooms the kids keep charts in their binders where they graph their scores each week. They get pretty excited when they see improvement. Sometimes, this can be enough to get a kid to practice. Other times, it's helpful to attach some sort of reward as well. It really depends on the kid.
     
  4. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    May 22, 2011

    Make an account at Spellingcity.com. They can play games and study words at the same time.
     
  5. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2011

    I like the graphing idea. My students graph their fluency and this seems to help with reading.
     
  6. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    May 22, 2011

    My highly unmotivated group is really motivated by spelling contracts. I give lots of options for things they can do with their spelling words, and I tell them that they can also come to me with other ideas and if I like them, I will add that idea to the list.

    My Treasures curriculum has lists for Below-On-Level-Beyond...does yours not have that?
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2011

    We do have those, but even the below are too hard for some of my students. We aren't allowed to use the below with students who are not in the RtI process for writing.
     
  8. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    May 22, 2011

    I had the same problem of the below level list still being too hard. I have modified the Treasures list by making it shorter for two of my students. I feel like they can't even get the sound-spelling pattern if I don't cut it down for them. They just get too overwhelmed with the number of words.
     
  9. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2011

    Yes, I agree! I have a few students on a modified list, but this is only for students with IEPs for writing. We cannot modify a list for students not in RtI or special education.

    I don't know if the lists are too hard or my students this year just didn't want to study. I don't remember having the same amount of failures last year.
     
  10. crunchytxmama

    crunchytxmama Companion

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    May 22, 2011

    That must be frustrating! I used to do worksheets for the kids to practice spelling. When I switched to the spelling contract, grades definitely picked up. I think having choices is really motivating.
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2011

    I started offering choices at the end of this year (a tic tac toe board), but many students did not even try any of the choices after two weeks. Maybe I need to change it up more often.
     
  12. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    May 22, 2011

    Spelling City was a good motivator for a while with my kiddos. After a while they just kept getting on certain games that in my opinion wasn't really practicing.
    My newest motivation for them the last 5 weeks: If they score an 80% or better on the test (we take the test on Spelling City), then they don't have to do the "paper" practice the next week. My overal scores shot up again. I get the "paper" practice from Spelling City activities.
     
  13. historynut

    historynut Rookie

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    May 22, 2011

    I've had similar problems. I track the class average on a graph and if they can get a certain score the whole class gets a reward. Individual students that get A's get rewards as well. I've found that this does encourage most of my students since they may know that they won't get an A but they still try hard for the class reward. Of course there are still those who could care less.
     
  14. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2011

    I think I'll have to look into spellingcity, is this free?

    Also, if the students take the test on spellingcity, how do you keep them from using a spell check program or the internet to find the correct spelling?
     
  15. nstructor2

    nstructor2 Rookie

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    May 22, 2011

    I've done crossword puzzles-they like those. I also have them put the words into their own creative categories. Then they partner up, read the words in that specific category, and see if their partner can guess the category! Ex. of categories-
    school related, positive words, adjectives, verbs, synonyms, . . .
     
  16. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    May 23, 2011

    SpellingCity is free for 1/2 of the site. That's the part I use. The games that are part of the subscription fee can still be printed off for free. I simply save my word lists, and only let them see the current lists.
    My kiddos have not even thought of using another program to help find the correct spelling! I wouldn't even mention it to them, and if the problem comes up deal with it then. If you could snag a free computer lab time on Friday's for testing, then you could monitor all tests easily. My kids take turns on my 4 student computers. I've put them on different ones at different times, so no two people who are in the same group are taking the test next to each other. When each are finished I print off the report. Other teachers in our building save the report to a folder in their class student drive. They simply asked IT to set one up for them that wouldn't erase the files every day at shutdown time.
     
  17. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    May 23, 2011

    Let me start by saying I know nothing about how Treasure Series addresses spelling or how you address teaching spelling in class. What I do know is it is really hard to motivate kids that continually fail to try again without a method that might have a chance working for them.

    Our elementary didn't teach spelling. They assigned it. They avoided everything about teaching students about the patterns in words because they were completely against phonics in general. It wasn't until the students were taught to recognize the patterns in the words, learn how to chunk the multisyllable words and do word sorts (all which were in the spelling book but NEVER assigned) did the students improve. For may kids it was just a string of letters. No rhyme or reason to them. They didn't decode when reading so they had no idea what to do with the letters in front of them - even kids reading above grade level.

    Now, I am not saying this is the problem in your class or with the program you use, but what I noticed was it wasn't until the underlying problem of failure was addressed that motivation improved. So, if the problem is the words are just way above the rest of the curriculum, motivation will continue to be a problem for those failing students because you are asking the impossible of them.
     
  18. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 30, 2011

    By sixth grade, phonics is usually already taught in my district. Students have the knowledge, we do work with word sorts and breaking down the words into their syllables. The problem that I see the most is so many students missing a word because they forgot a letter or used an i instead of y. They know the phonics, but are so focused on the invented spelling, they never learn the conventional spelling.

    Now, in a younger grade, the invented spelling would be great. Even in their writing, I encourage invented spelling. But on a spelling test, where I give you all the words ahead of time...we are looking for the conventional spelling.
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    May 30, 2011

    We are definitely going to disagree here.

    You can not care sometimes but must care others. That is what inventive spelling is telling students. Some can't wrap their heads around the focus needed to do it right during spelling tests when they practice over and over and over in their writing (which is much more often than spelling tests) that it isn't all that important to get it right because it can be fixed later.

    I feel inventive spelling encourages sloppiness in spelling. I understand how it can aid students to use words they wouldn't use because they can't spell them, but it also a daily practice in not caring about spelling.

    So, I guess the educational question is, is the huge decline in the ablity of students spelling worth the gain from allowing students to invent how they spell words and continue to practice doing so for years?

    Seems their focus for letters and spelling needs work if they really know all the phonics and can recall the phonics rules automatically. They may need to work on a strategy to check themselves after spelling the word.

    How is their spelling when it is applied in their writing (without the use of a word processor with spell check on)? Are their hand-written paragraphs, answers to questions, etc free of spelling erros? If not, the problem is beyond motivation to practice.
     
  20. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 30, 2011

    Their spelling in their hand-written paragraphs, three minute times writings, and final drafts are good. Overall, their spelling in rough drafts aren't bad, except for a few students. Many of my students have a few words that are missed spelled because they are trying to use the more difficult words to increase word choice. But generally they are not using words like aerospace or hygiene in their writing.
     

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