Saturday, December 3, 2011

Word Wizards Fun!

So spelling tests have never been my thing.  I do them because that is what is expected but I have longed for a way to make them have more meaning.  I want my students to be able to demonstrate more than what they memorized.  Then I found Beth Newingham's website and how she runs her spelling tests in her classroom.  I was overwhelmed by how she differentiated for each of her students. (I truly felt like I had failed in the area of spelling .)   I loved the her ideas but knew deep down I did not have enough time in the day to manage all that she does.  I did know that I had to make some changes with my spelling program in my classroom. 

I began by organizing my spelling patterns with my Phonics Dance chunks.  That way, when I introduced a spelling pattern I also introduced the dance that goes along with it.  (If you don't know about The Phonics Dance you have to check it out.)  I often hear teachers say that not all of their students need phonics work in the classroom so they choose not to look into it.  My advice...if you have 1 child that need phonics help you have to add this program.  Even if it is just parts of it.  (I teach 2nd grade, so I do just a brief review.)  But everyday we dance the dance.  It teach phonics, memorization, word attack and also a much needed movement break for ALL of your students. 
Back to spelling, I run 2 lists in my classroom but keep the spelling pattern the same.  I have a regular list that goes along with our Reading Street story and a challenge list.  On Fridays we take out "Whiz Quiz!"  Now this is the fun part!  For some reason just changing the name of the test has made my students look forward to it.  We even sing a song while I pass out the test papers.  Just Whiz Quiz to the tune of The Adams Family.

Whiz Quiz, Oh NO!
Whiz Quiz, Oh Yes!
Whiz Quiz, Whiz Quiz, Whiz Quiz!
We just sing until I pass out the sheets.  
♥I did take Beth's spelling test paper and added some graphics.  I titled it Whiz Quiz!  

My Whiz Quiz is broken up into 3 parts.  Assigned Pattern Words, Word Fun, and Dictated Sentences.
Basically it goes like this:
I have a special folder set up with Whiz Quiz sheets.  I write the words I call, Word Fun skills, and Dictated Sentence.  Next year I will have the Quizzes all set!
Assigned Pattern Words: I call the words like a typical Spelling test.  (I have a volunteer do the Challenge Quiz.)

Word Fun: I play with this a bit.  I call the rest of the words but have the students circle chunks, make words plural, combine words to make compound words, find nouns or verbs in their list.  It is different every week but it is a great review.  
Dictated Sentences: My regular list students get their lists early but my Challenge kiddos do the sentences cold.  I also have them use our Word of the Week in a sentence or write a kid friendly definition.   I also will state a sentence and have them just write the punctuation that goes with it. I have even had the write the subject or predicate too.

After the Quiz we break into 2 groups and introduce the new spelling pattern to the regular list kiddos and my challenge group looks up the definitions and parts of speech for their words.  We then switch and I work with my challenge kiddos.  My regular list works on a spelling sheet.

On Monday I do the BIG announcement...who got a 25/25 and a special Word Wizard Stamp!  You can check out my stamp at Stampoutonline!  I totally ♥ mine!  

I also have those students come up and sign our Word Wizard poster!  
I found the image I use for my Word Wizard Sign on Ladybug Teacher Files .  She has some amazing spelling ideas there!
The wizards are then asked to help the other students correct their papers and add their missed words to their Sight Word Journals.  (These are small composition books that they take to Word Study during our Daily 5 time to practice.)

And it starts all over!  Gosh I feel like I have babbled on!

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