Monday, October 22, 2012

Differentiated Spelling Lists & a Freebie!

In my classroom  I differentiate spelling words for each child.  It sounds a bit overwhelming but I am going to break it down for you in this post.  I'm not going to lie, it does take extra time each week to prepare the lists (about 20 minutes or so).  It also takes extra time each week to give the individual spelling tests (about 30 minutes each Friday).  I typically leave my Friday's open (no lesson plans written for Friday) to catch up from things we didn't get to during the week.  I also try to plan an art project that students can work on independently while I give the spelling tests.

To begin, I give my students a spelling test over the first 25 Fry Words.  This is given early in the school year (first several weeks).  Then, I grade the tests and create a spreadsheet like the one shown below.  All words each child missed go into the spreadsheet. I type all the words in black font.  

Next, I begin creating the lists for parents.  I use a grid in Word, like the picture below shows.  I select 5 words for most students and 3 words for my struggling students.  I choose the words off the spreadsheet shown above.  As I choose the 3 or 5 words, I change the font to red.  This shows me which words I have already given the kids. I cut/paste the 3 or 5 words into the Word grid (shown below).  I print 2 copies of this (one for myself and one for parents/kids).  

I keep my copy on my clipboard and I cut apart the students' copies and staple to their weekly assignment sheet, which stays in their data binder all week.  The kids practice their words at home every night and sometimes at school depending on my centers. 

The first few weeks of Spelling, my students only had their 3 or 5 words.  Now, they are getting their words along with 5 word family words.  The word family words are the words we work on all week for word work.  For example, last week was short i words, so they were tested over -it, -ig, -ip, and -in.  *These words are not given ahead of time.  They are simply on the test to see if students retained what they learned in class all week.  They know they will be on their test on Friday but they don't know which words.*

Now to the Spelling I mentioned above, I leave my Friday open for catch up and art.   First, I give out the spelling test paper and give the whole class their 5 word family words.  Next, I collect the tests and get students started on their art or whatever I have them doing for the next 45 min or so.   I pull up 3-4 kids at a time to my table and have dividers set up.  I quickly give them each their first word and so on....I grade the tests on the spot and highlight the words missed on my copy of the spelling grid.  This lets me know that next week they will repeat that word on their spelling list. 

As a student progresses through list 1, I give them the list 2 written test, and continue on.  I currently have students all over the place (some on list 1, others on list 5).  This data will be shared with parents at conferences.  This format is perfecto for differentiation!  Some of my kiddos get 3 words all year and some get 5 or 10.  Click the pic above to grab your freebie! And speaking of, have you checked out my "Conference Prep Pack" yet? 42 pages of resources to help you plan for and execute conferences.  I have an ESL editable version available for purchase in my store, as well.  

Hooray for differentiated spelling!! Questions? Email me at


christine said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I have conferences tomorrow night!

Delighted said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Looks great. I love your spelling system.

Miss Squirrels said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh Megan- you got me hooked on your writing- I can't start something new:) But man, that looks like an awesome idea! What a great way to ensure growth and success- they are lucky to have you!

Going Nutty!

Kelly said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This looks like a great way to make sure the kids are learning the words. Thanks for the idea!

Kelly @ I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

s_l_martin said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

How do you choose the "rule" words each week? Do you use a program?

Mrs. M said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love this spelling system! Do you have any kind of letter that explains this system to parents?

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