I have decided to give ‘spelling’ the flick. I have laboured long and hard with individual lists, topic lists, grade lists etc. I have watched teachers struggle in so many different ways to address the needs of students in spelling only to see them weeping when looking at student writing samples. There was a disconnect between what was taught in spelling and what was evident in writing.
In the place of spelling I have introduced Word Work.
Word Work is fun! It has given me a new lease of life in the teaching of accurate spelling. Word sorts are the focus for working with students to understand the patterns in words and how words change. I am using the asssessments and words sorts from Words Their Way. Queensland is using this approach for the implementation of the Australian Curriculum (so it is good!).
The teachers with whom I work are reporting that students are progressing in leaps and bounds as they catch up to their developmentally appropriate stage. I can still teach whole class lessons to cover topics such as what good spellers do and to introduce new vocabulary related to my current topic. The two graphics here show my weekly routine for whole class modelled teaching and small group guided instruction. The groups are organised by spelling stages so students are working at their instructional level. As with anything new, the routines need to be introduced explicitly and practised. The weekly outlines are on our free resources page and you will need to check out the Words Their Way teaching resources at Pearson.
Bring back the fun!