My district has a pretty old language arts series, so for spelling we do word study with Greek and Latin Roots with Fry sights words for spelling words. But I wasn't satisfied at all with this one-size fits all approach to spelling. And the straw the broke the camels back a couple of weeks ago was when my grade level (3rd grade) gave the word "dog" as a spelling word! I thought there was no way I was going to let another week go by with such easy words again! I had to do something!!

So I decided to try something completely different. How can we say we are differentiating when continue to give the same spelling list to every student every week? That is week I let my students choose their own spelling words.

I started off showing them a list of the Most Commonly Misspelled Words, then we took out our Writer's Notebooks, Data Notebooks (which contains past writings) and some other journals like science and social studies. They then found words that they either thought were important to know how to spell or have misspelled in the past. I had them look the words up in the dictionary or on their devices (we are a BYOD school which means many of my students bring in their own tablets to school). They made two lists, one to take home to study and one to keep at school. I checked their lists first though to make sure they were written correctly and appropriate for that student.

During the week, we used Choice Boards to practice our words during Daily Five time. Finally, on Friday I had the students give each other their spelling tests. It worked perfectly! I was amazed at how excited they were about spelling this week, they owned those words! Each students chose words that were much more challenging than I would have ever thought and the grades were improved over previous week. I am going to continue doing this for the rest of this year.

I made a resource to help me, you can get it here if you are interested in trying out Self-Selected Spelling Words too!

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I am linking up today for the next installment of the Real Teachers of Blog County. This month's topic is....Pet Peeves! I am fairly easy going and not much pushes my buttons. But I am pretty organized and I dislike messes. I really encourage my people to clean up after themselves and take care of our classroom, put things away where they go etc. So my biggest pet peeve is THINGS ALL OVER THE FLOOR. I hate tripping over jackets, books, papers and seeing pencils and glue sticks everywhere. It drives me crazy! Especially in winter when we have so many jackets and coats everywhere. Our hooks for the backpacks just can't handle everything to be hung up so they just end up on the floor. It literally drives me insane. Spring can't come quick enough so we can get rid of all the jackets and coats. Well, that and spring break would be nice too.

How about you? What is your biggest pet peeve? Link up to post yours!

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Wow! I was so lucky to be able to attend the EdExpo with about 50 other bloggers. We were asked to walk the expo floor and list our top 10 favorite new educational products.
There were so many great things to look at, it was almost overwhelming!  I loved to see the small entrepreneurs and start up companies there with their great new educational games and products as well the big companies that make bulletin board and classroom decor showing off their new was so exciting! Here are the Top Ten:    

Hint: If you stick with me until the end of this super long post I have a giveaway!!

If you are interested in finding any of these awesome products, please use the EdExpo locator to find your local retailer:

Ok, now are you ready for your giveaway???? One of my favorite things was the Say It! game. It's a super fun vocabulary game and you can win your own game by entering here! 

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