Last year, our school decided that we needed to do something different with our spelling program. We used to have individualized lists which sounds AMAZING right? It was- but it was also a HUGE undertaking and was stressful every week. We had to depend on parents to give our spelling tests. It would take a couple of hours each week and if they didn’t show up then the rest of our day was consumed with giving spelling tests. We loved the differentiation and wanted to keep some differentiation with our new program but we needed to make some changes.
I created a system that introduced the first grade spelling patterns as well as some commonly misspelled sight words. There are two different tests each week. Here is an overview of how we used it last year.
First, we would give a pre-test every Friday. The pre-test would be the words from the Blue List. These words are basic first grade patterns that we wanted all first graders to master. If a student scored 80% or above, he/she would get the Red challenge list. The Red challenge list consists of words with the same spelling pattern but the words are more difficult. If the student scored below 80% he/she would get the Blue List. Spelling lists were sent home on Friday with the students. Both lists consist of the same two sight words as well. The sight words are not on the pre-test.
On the pre-test, the students write the words on the Try-it side of their paper. Afterward, they put their pencil away and take out a crayon or colored pencil. We go over the words together and they write it correctly on the Practice side of their paper. OR you could just collect the papers and grade them yourself.
We practice our words throughout the week doing different activities and we have our test on Thursdays. When we did our test, my teaching partner and I would each take a group. I would give the test to the Blue group one week and she would do the Red group and then we would switch the next week. This system worked really well.
On each test there is also a dictated sentence. The dictated sentence includes both sight words as well as a couple of the spelling pattern words that we had for the week. At the bottom of the test paper, there is a place for the teacher to record the students Capital Letters, Punctuation, Spelling, and Neatness. I used a plus, check, minus system. (See picture).
Also included is a recording sheet that has the tests split up by the quarter or trimester.
So, if you are looking for a new spelling program, maybe this is something that you would like for your school too! It worked well for us last year!
Thanks for stopping by!