Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Yesterday, we began our first spelling "unit." Each week the students are given a sheet with words (and sometimes pictures). They cut these out and begin to sort them based on whatever pattern(s) we are studing for the week. (This is why there are so many words, since we know the more examples students encounter, the greater the understanding of the pattern/rule(s).) As a class we sort together, and then they will be asked to resort the words at home. During the week we will continue to resort the given words and add even more words, all in an effort to understand the pattern(s). This year in spelling we will be more concerned with mastering patterns and rules of spelling, versus just memorizing a set list of words. The more the students sort the words, restate the rules, and find new words that match, the stronger the spellers they will become. So, parents are encouraged to have their child do these tasks as much as possible during the week.
We will also have blind sorts in the class. This is where the students are given the patterns on paper, but are given the words orally. Like a traditional spelling test, the students will be expected to write the words down AND also sort them at the same time. (Parents are welcome to use this as a study strategy as well.)
Spelling test formats will vary based on the type of rule or pattern. But students can expect 3 things- 1) they must know the week's pattern/rule(s), 2) they will be expected to spell some of the many words given, 3) they will be expected to apply their knowledge of the pattern/rule(s)- like spelling "new" words not on the original list.
Although this is a different format than most parents are used to, it should prove to be a very powerful one!

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