Spelling Tests in 7th Grade?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by ms_chandler, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2006

    :confused:

    My English dept. is split on this, so it's up to me. This is my first year teaching 7th grade, so I'm still figuring it all out. I have not decided yet if I will give spelling tests once second quarter starts (in a few weeks). What do you think? We already have 10 voc. words, which I introduce on Mon. and test on Fri. Do you think it's too much to give 10 spelling words also? Do you think that I should use the voc. words and test them on spelling the same words?

    Any advice is helpful! Spelling tests stopped for me when I was in fourth grade, so I'm not sure. Some kids just don't do well spelling.... :thanks:
     
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  3. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    I teach Reading, and I do grade the kids on the spelling of their vocabulary words. I don't do a separate spelling test, but I let the kids know that if a words is spelled incorrectly, it is wrong.
     
  4. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    I'm only a second year teacher, but I do have an opinion. I don't do it. I did ask about it at my school to see what the general concensus is, and they all feel that spelling is better learned if it's incidental, that is if they are learning it in the context of their writing (and reading). This makes the words more meaningful and so they are better remembered. According to the more experienced teachers at my school, and I agree, kids should be encouraged to critically look at what they are writing and if they don't think a word looks right, they can circle it, then look it up or ask. This at least shows whether they have an 'intuition' for good spelling, which is what you need. All the tests in the world won't give a kids that good intution that you can only get in context. Of course though, they should be graded on being able to produce writing that is error free, therefore good editing and proofreading skills.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    I'm only in 1st grade. 10 words is nothing. I think its a shame kids aren't better at spelling so I would be all for it. I can see the intuition argument, but truthfully, many aren't good at it even at College level. Why not.
     
  6. EnglishMiss

    EnglishMiss Rookie

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    I teach 10th grade and I have some spelling and vocab words each week, using two different formats. For my regular classes, we have 20 vocab words from one book and a list of commonly-misspelled words from another book, which divided out to 10 spelling words each week. I'm just starting those quizzes this week so we'll see how those go. For my honors classes, they have quizzes every Friday which have 10-12 Greek or Latin prefixes/roots/suffixes for them to define, and 10 vocab words which they spell correctly then use correctly in a sentence for the definition. I really like that program so far.
     
  7. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    My explanation is that people who aren't good spellers weren't properly taught the spelling patterns and rules of words. You can be taught, the mechanics, but it is something else to really understand how the letters in a word fit together to make certain sounds and how different patterns in combining letters change those sounds. I can spell anything and I just have a good intuiton for it. Maybe it was developed well by my teachers, or maybe I was just a natural, I don't know, but I do know that often we teach the mechanics of something without making sure the how and why is really understood.
     
  8. musicbean

    musicbean Rookie

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    Sep 26, 2006

    I also teach grade 7 and I do give a spelling list each week. I agree that spelling is best learned incidentally, but the truth is that many kids don't do that and many people, adults included, are poor spellers. That being said, I give list that focus on patterns and sound combinations that the students will encounter in their reading. So I don't think I'm just saying here's 20 words, memorize and forget. I'm teaching patterns that help them figure out how to spell unfamiliar words in the future. I find that it works well for me. BTW, I generally take my lessons/lists from a book that has already complied the words according to pattern, etc. but many of the words are common in their reading.
     
  9. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    When I taught 7th grade, I wasn't given any spelling words or lists to use, just vocabulary words. Before each vocabulary quiz I gave the students a little slip with ten lines on it. Then I read the words and they spelled them. Then I collected the slips and passed out the rest of the quiz. I still do that with 10th graders. What good is learning a new word if you can't spell it? ;)
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 26, 2006

    Pretty much once they're in 7th grade, if they've not got the spelling fundamentals, they're not going to be helped by weekly spelling tests. There aren't enough who need that to do it with everyone.
     
  11. rhassinger

    rhassinger Rookie

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    I personally believe strongly in spelling tests from early grades but in practice I take the incidental approach, if that's what you would call it. I found success in having the student fill in the blanks with words that go with a picture, as in "The carpenter ______ the house" with the word "builds" clearly presented in a word list. I might help them memorize the letters by pointing out the order of the letters and pronounce it slooooowwwwwly accentuating the vowel sounds. Then within five minutes, while it's still fresh in their minds, they see the picture and sentence again and fill in the word, which this time is not anywhere in sight. Two times out of three, they spell the word correctly, even if they've never seen it before this exercise began. Kind of sneaky, and it's hard to do with more than a couple of students at a time, but it seems to work well and the first graders aren't repulsed by it as they might be by a cold spelling test. Would this be appropriate at a 7th grade level? Probably not, unless they are at a very rudimentary level of reading. Still, I think that the process of writing (or even typing) a word repeatedly in context has a bit of magic to it that cements the neurons together in the right way and something similar (a cloze exercise?) would work at 7th grades and above.
     
  12. ms_chandler

    ms_chandler Comrade

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    Sep 26, 2006

    Thanks!
     
  13. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    Sep 27, 2006

    My kids have a test every week, but they each have their own list. As I correct their writing I note the spelling errors on a sticky note. The kids transfer the words to their spelling book, and work on 10 per week. If they are short of words I will choose them (and the top kids choose their own with a dictionary), often in patterns related to those words they spelled incorrectly.

    My theory is that there is no point teaching kids words to spell words they don't know how to use; they also need to be able to spell the words they do use. Hence personal lists. It's very little extra work for me and each child is working at their own level.
     
  14. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Sep 27, 2006

    My junior year of high school, my teacher was BIG on vocab tests. We had to copy the words off the board on Monday, go home and define them. On Friday, she'd test on them. They were a combination of ACT/SAT words and words from the novel we were studying. Her whole idea was that we should know how to spell the word, define it, and use it in a sentence that shows its meaning... so the tests would take many different forms: cloze sentences with or without a word bank, list the word and ask us for definitions or a sentence, sometimes she'd dictate the word and then we'd need to define it, etc. Spelling errors were either counted wrong or only got partial credit... so they weren't true spelling tests, but did test our spelling. I enjoyed the fact that it wasn't the exact same thing every week for a format, but we HATED the idea since most of us hadn't had spelling tests since 4th or 5th grade.
     
  15. usfmeghi

    usfmeghi Companion

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    Sep 29, 2006

    I do vocab squares and context worksheets. I integrate vocabul;ary into my selection tests. I find in high school, teaching vocab is important...i don't do "spelling tests" but expect vocabukary and papers and so foorth to be feee of errors.
     

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