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.