Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spelling has long been a thorn in my side.  Not spelling, itself, really, but spelling programs.  I have yet to find a spelling program embedded in a basal series that is worth using.  The basal series currently in use in my district has a spelling component.  This is our third year using the series and the first year I have said "No more of this spelling!"  The words on the list are not only really hard for third graders to spell, but way too many of them are not high utility words.  Take for example the word Creole. Granted, it is a challenge word.  But what third grader in Utah needs to know how to spell Creole?  I was spending more time talking about the meaning of spelling words than about the meaning of vocabulary words  (Which, by the way, are far too easy, but that's another rant.)  And then, I had parents asking, "Where DID you get these words?" So, I've taken matters into my own hands and am writing my own spelling program-- high utility words, lists that are centered around one sound or spelling pattern, etc.  I have already compiled 36 word lists, made of words that are actually useful to third graders.  Every sixth list is a review of the five previous lists.  The list following a review is labelled "No Excuse" words.  These are words that may not fit a specific spelling pattern, but students are expected to spell them correctly EVERY time they write them, no excuses!  Each list has 18 words.  The first ten are basic words.  The next four are a little more challenging, and the last four are harder challenge words.  Some students will do only the first ten words, some will do the first fourteen, and some will do all eighteen words.  Surely, this will work better that a spelling program that has Creole as a third grade word, right?