To Those of You Who Give Separate Spelling Lists...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Aug 20, 2009

    We have a debate brewing on our campus. :confused: It has been mandated that teachers give varied spelling lists for their struggling and advanced students. The question comes with grading these tests. If you do this for your students, do you somehow weight your grades so the advanced students' harder words are worth more and your struggling students are not just scoring 100% because they have easier words?

    I appreciate any insight you can give, I'm on the Leadership Committee and have used varied lists, but in Kinder the grading of them was not important (we don't give grades on report cards). I would like to come to the table with an idea or opinion. Thanks guys!
     
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  3. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Aug 20, 2009

    If the struggling kids can always get 100% with easier words, doesn't that mean they could handle harder words?

    I don't think it would be fair to set it up so the kids with differentiated work have no chance to get 100%. Every kid should be able to work hard at their level and achieve high grades.
     
  4. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Yes, advanced kids should be able to work on harder work and kids who are struggling should be able to work at their level as well.

    This is all fine and dandy until you come to the report card. Standards are standards and grade level expectations are what they are---and that should be reflected in each child's report card. So the student who is getting the "easy" list and doing well may not get at A on the report card because the words that he/she has been working on are infact below grade level. It could be hard to make a black and white distinction of what is what and explaining that to parents.

    Why can't all students have required words (words on grade level) and then challenge or review words in addition to that?

    I hope this all makes sense...I feel like I am rambiling on!! :dizzy:
     
  5. jillybean

    jillybean Comrade

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    Aug 20, 2009

    All my students have a different spelling list and different number of words. I use spellingcity.com and it helps them work on the words each week. I love this site!
     
  6. km51571

    km51571 Companion

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    I do give a shorter and easier list to my students with that accomodation in their IEP. I don't change the weight of any of the grades if the students gets a 10/10 that week then in my gradebook I record a 20/20. The words are determined by myself and the Sp. Ed. teacher.
     
  7. mommyre

    mommyre Comrade

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    My students get one of two lists. They are graded the same, but if I see one student consistently getting 100 on their test they move up... sometimes that means a whole group moves up. At the same time if a student begins doing poorly they move down. I also offer an incentive that if they make a 100 they do not have to do their homework for spelling for that week. If they still study they should be able to make a 100 without writing out the words, or what ever the activities are. I also let them choose their activities from a list, and the activities are worth differing amounts of points, they must earn 55 points to make an A. Neither list is very far below grade level if any, and usually both groups make it to at or above grade level.
     
  8. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

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    Aug 20, 2009

    :agreed:

    I do word study, so different kids do have different lists in my room. Some are SPED or brand new to the country, and it wouldn't be fair to hold them accountable for words that other kids might find appropriately challenging. These are often, but not always, the kids who are BGL in reading, and we note that on the report card. By the same token, any gifted kids will find themselves bored with grade level words. They should have to work at their potential, too, to get a good grade.
     
  9. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    OK, I've typed this TWICE and my computer keeps eating it before i can hit send.

    I remember in 4th grade, everyone had the basic list of words, then you either had bonus words or mastery words to learn. 100% earned you a star on the class display, regardless of which list you were working on.

    I did my ST in 2nd and we gave one of 3 lists... Pretest on the basic list on MOnday, which gave you either basic list, review list, or mastery list. All 3 were part of our spelling curriculum, so each group had similar worksheets and activities ot complete. We paired kids with the same lists up for practice tests or other partner activities.

    An ELL kid who gets 100% on the review list (but doesn't even know the words on the standard list) had to work just as hard, perhaps harder, as the honors kid who's getting 100% on the above-grade-level list. As one of those honors kids, I would have been pretty ticked off to find out that missing one word on myl ist and one word on their list wouldn't result in the same score. 100% is 100%.

    OF course, we didn't give letter/number grade on report cards, either, just check, plus, minus.

    Can you grade on the same scale but make a note in the comments section that "spelling grade is based on a modified list?" or something like that?

    Everyone deserves to do the work that challenges them appropriately...
     
  10. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Aug 20, 2009

    The key with differentiated spelling is to use the same spelling rule. For instance, if r-controlled vowels is the standard you are teaching, you may have lists like this:

    List A (Easiest List)
    ear
    hear
    near
    fear

    List B (More Difficult List)
    earth
    yearn
    earnest
    search

    Either list shows if the child has mastered the r-controlled vowel, but one list is easier and the other is much more challenging. Receiving a 100% on the easy list would be an A, because it shows 100% of the skill. The more difficult list also shows mastery, but it uses more challenging vocabulary.

    For differentiated spelling, you don't just use a "harder" or "more challenging" list -- they have to both display mastery of a skill.

    Now, you may have your different groups working on different skills at different times, but that is another discussion.
     
  11. kidsr#1

    kidsr#1 Companion

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    Aug 20, 2009

    Individual spelling

    I have been doing individual spelling lists for the last three years and will continue this year. I was given a spelling inventory (Morrison-McCall?) where students are tested over 50 words and their score helps determine what book they get their words from.

    The school that I got this idea from was in Overland Park, KS. I believe they compiled these spelling books (copies bound using the GBC binder) using typical textbook lists, frequently mispelled words, etc. For my third through fifth graders I had four different levels of books.

    At the beginning of the year, I gave my students the inventory and placed the students in the appropriate level book. To help determine what their spelling words would be for the year students had a partner to give them their "ear to ear". Students worked together, taking turns, calling out the words for their partner to spell. Students only had ten words on their test for the next week, but they were ten words that they had misspelled during their ear to ear.

    I kept track of their words in another bound book where students had to write the words, have them checked, rewrite in the next column, have them checked and then cut them out. If a student misspelled any words, they had those words again the following week and might only need 8 new words.
     
  12. newteachfl

    newteachfl Companion

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    Aug 21, 2009

    In my district, students receive not only a letter grade, but parents are also told if the student work was Above Level, On Level or Below Level.

    Students can receive a Below level B or an On Level C, whatever the case may be.
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Aug 21, 2009

    Wow-thanks so much for your responses guys! Since I don't deal with "official" grading, I appreciate having an idea of what has worked for other people in the past.

    Rainstorm-I do agree with you on the varied spelling of the same rule-and that's our plan. We have never had a school-wide spelling system before and that's what we're trying to implement.

    The disagreement came because teachers didn't feel it was fair for one child to spell ear and another being responsible for earnest, but both being graded the same way. The fear too is that parents will think a child is doing better than he really is because he's doing well on spelling tests, but still really struggling in lang. arts. There are students though who are good at studying for the test, but aren't really retaining that info anyway-but we'll figure it out.

    Thanks again for taking the time to respond-I really do appreciate being able to bring ideas to the table in our meeting! :)
     
  14. flyingmickey

    flyingmickey Rookie

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    Aug 23, 2009

    I use Words Their Way and usually have three groups. They have work to do with their words every day. On Friday we have the test.

    Each week the lists focus on one spelling rule or word group. They spend time during the week sorting the words into groupings. One week it may be 's or es'.

    During the test students get one point for spelling the word correctly and one for placing it under the correct heading for a max of 24 points.

    I don't use the grades for anything. In our report cards I only get about 5 outcomes for LA and spelling isn't important enough for me to use it. I may include it with a writing grade on spelling conventions.
     
  15. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I think the point is each child is being challenged and is working hard to meet the goal set for them - learning to spell their list of words. To me, whether those words are easy or hard is not significant.

    I look at spelling groups the same as reading groups. In primary grades, their reading and spelling is developmental. Why penalize or reward because a child is at a certain place developmentally.

    By the way, spelling groups freaked me out till I tried them and had so much success with them.

    group 1 would have 6 words - I used the Scholastic spelling book for first grade for this group.

    group 2 - our six sight words would be their spelling words

    group 3 - all 6 sight words plus about 3 or 4 words in the same family as a couple sight words

    group 4 - all of group 3's sight words, plus some more difficult words pulled from other work we did in class - maybe from their reading group or from Bible memory verses, or just words they needed to know how to spell

    Everyone had the same 2 challenge words to try for. I gave all the spelling tests at the same time. Really everyone except the Scholastic list had the same words, and they were to draw quietly when their test was over and wait till group 4 had finished, then everyone tried for the challenge words.

    I loved the system because the kids moved themselves up to the next group. They were very motivated. In order to move up, they had to pass all the words on their list PLUS all the words on the spelling list of the group they were trying to move up to. I had one little boy finally get to move up on his 4th try, and the whole class roared for him! Great esteem builder.

    I see each test as equally valid. If Susie is reading at a level 1, how could she be expected to spell at a level 8? If you look at it as the same as reading groups, which by the way, is usually how it falls out, it is perfectly fair. And they usually catch up with their classmates by 3rd grade anyway.

    For upper levels, I would go with Scholastic and offer a challenge list for extra credit for those who need more of a challenge.
     
  16. 2inspire

    2inspire Companion

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    Aug 23, 2009

    I give the spelling words as a pretest (straight from McGraw Hill), any words spelled correctly are substituted with words spelled wrong from the student's writing (words they use in their writing but spell wrong).

    Grading is across the board b/c they are officially tested on grade level words.

    Student folds paper in half hot dog style. Spelling words written down the left.

    Incorrect words are corrected on the right hand side. Words spelled incorrectly are substituted for correct spelling words
    Ex.

    mutered muttered
    darted actually
    napsack knapsack
    silent wondered
    family often

    words in blue are from student writing pieces.

    As far as keeping track of the student writing piece words: I use a 1 subject spiral, each student gets a page or two labeled with their name. When I assess their writing I write any misspelled words on their page.
     
  17. MissKH81

    MissKH81 Rookie

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    Aug 24, 2009

    Best site ever!
     

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