Self-Selected Spelling Words...A new approach!

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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1 comment

  1. I absolutely love this idea. I will definitely present this to my team as we make plans for next year. Thanks for your hard work!


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