Preparing for a new week

Update on this post:

I just spent the majority of my evening creating individualized spelling lists for my students. Last week I gave them the upper-level inventory from Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction (4th Edition). I then spent the week going through each test and grading it with the accompanying chart. I was thrilled with the results! I was able to see where my students were struggling and where they were succeeding. If I hadn’t given this inventory many of my students would have struggled with their weekly spelling lists, as they are not yet at that level. And then I had a few students who would be bored to tears because they scored well above a 6th grade spelling level.

I love that I can now challenge each student. However, I did not think I could handle doing 42 separate lists. Instead, I grouped my students within their spelling stages. Thus, I ended up with 7 groups in each class. The groups are color-coded, so the students won’t know who is higher or lower. Plus, it makes it a lot easier for me to stay organized.

I am also tied to my district’s spelling curriculum, so I must keep using it. I knew Words Their Way: Word Study for Phonics, Vocabulary, and Spelling Instruction really needs to be used as the sole program in the classroom and I just knew I could not commit to that. Thus, I was out at Barnes and Noble at 8pm tonight picking up the book that will be my spelling bible this year- Word Journeys: Assessment-Guided Phonics, Spelling, and Vocabulary Instruction.

Word Journeys is similar to WTW in that it provides spelling lists for literally dozens of rules at each spelling stage. However, I was able to easily adapt it to my district spelling program. Below is an example of the list one group of students will choose from this week (this group of students is at the middle-to-late syllables and affixes spelling stage). We will take our district spelling pretest (the top rule on the page). (I did make the decision to slightly alter the district lists, only including the spelling rule words and not the basal story vocabulary words. I don’t use my basal very much and the words never meant anything to my students as they weren’t a part of the novel/short story we were reading at the time. ) Students will put any words spelled incorrectly on their personal spelling list. They will then choose the remainder of their 20 words from the individual list they are given. Each week I will meet once with the groups to discuss and practice the rule.

Click here to see a sample group list!

My Father’s Son by Terri Fields

What would you do if you sat down, turned on the evening news, and saw that the worst serial killer in state history had finally been arrested? Probably say, “Good riddance”, right?

What if the man they paraded in front of the news cameras was your father?

What if your father isn’t who you think he is?

What if he is a murderer, a serial killer, and now the most reviled man in the state? In the country? What if you no longer know the man you love more than anything in the world? What do you do?

That is what happens to Kevin, a high schooler who spends every other weekend at his dad’s house and the rest of the time with his mom. He and his dad get along great; playing new computer games together and ordering takeout. His dad bought him his car and lets him go and go a lot more freely than his mom does. It’s the perfect father-son relationship. Until the day Kevin’s father is arrested and accused of being the DB25 killer. My Father’s Son follows Kevin as his life spins out of control following his father’s arrest and the subsequent investigation.

Kevin knows his father didn’t do it. How could he have tortured and killed all those women? But when his father admits his guilt, Kevin’s life is completely turned upside down. Suddenly his fellow students are scared of him. People on the street run in the other direction. His best friends and the girl he has a crush on won’t even be in a room alone with him. The resemblance to his father that was always a point of pride with Kevin is now what turns everyone against him. After all, he is his father’s son, isn’t he?

This was a gripping story that I could not put down. Terri Fields approaches a topic that has always fascinated me- what is it like to be the family of an alleged serial killer, or murderer, or other criminal? What would you do if someone you loved was suddenly the villain marched across TV screen all over the world? Kevin’s entire life changes while he struggles to defend his father and you are right there with him.

My Father’s Son is full of suspense and Terri Fields forces you to imagine life if everything you loved and counted on was ripped away from you. Family, friends, school, and normal routines. The suspense will keep you turning the pages late into the night, racing to the conclusion. It kept me up until 3am because I just could.not.put.it.down. And the story will stay with you long after you finish the book.

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