Differentiated Spelling

Aloha friends! I hope this post finds you healthy and happy. I know these winter months you catch those bugs and it can bring you down!  There are a lot of teachers at my school that are out sick and I am doing my best to stay healthy.

Today I wanted to share how I run my spelling program in my classroom.

I don't have  a set curriculum, except the reading series that our school has had for over 10 years.  We use the Harcourt Trophies series, but it is not at all aligned to Common Core.

In this series there is a spelling program that is supposed to go along with the stories that your class reads weekly.  For years I used this spelling program because that is what all the other teachers did.  It was not kid friendly and didn't follow any particular order.  This is the list for one of the first stories in our series...

The skill is ed, but the kids can't even spell the root word!!  My great spellers had no problem and loved the challenging words, but I found that many of my students were just bombing the weekly tests and I felt so bad for them.  With many of my ELL students this was so hard.

How can you boost a child's self confidence if they fail their tests each week?

So I looked around to see what I could find and supplement on my own, but found nothing that I was happy with.  Many of my students needed some basic phonics skills, but what about the other students that already had those skills?

So I decided to create my own program.  I took the basic skills that kids need to know to succeed in spelling and created two sets of lists.

One a simple list that teaches a basic rule or skill, and a second list using this same rule, but using more challenging words. I also made each list only 10 words which I think is all they need at this age.

At the beginning of each week I give a pre-test.  I give the simple list of words.  If the students get a 90% or better on the Pre-Test then they get the challenge words.  If not they study the basic word list.

This first student needs some work with this skill

This student seems to have this skill down...

So I give each of them a different list to study for the week.  I tell them the first list is our regular second grade list that we all have to know.  If we don't know it, that's okay we are here to learn it.  If they already know it then I will give them the challenge list.

This really helps those kiddos that are struggling to feel better about having a different set of words, and my smarties feel so proud that they get the challenging words.

For homework each week I have the same assignments:

Monday- Write your words 3 times each
Tuesday-Write your words in ABC Order
Wednesday- Write 10 sentences using all of your spelling words
Thursday- Study for your Spelling Test

I simply have them glue the list into their Spelling Composition Book and they do all of the assignments in there each week.

Somebody needs to check their spelling on number 6...

On Fridays  I give the two different tests.  It takes a few minutes more, but...
the results are much more positive!!  No matter what list they have, if they get a passing score that's pretty great in my book!

So I wanted to share my program with you which is in my TpT store.

There are 34 lists for the year, and ideas and worksheets to go along with it.  I even have holiday word lists to add some fun.

Recently I had a request for just the worksheets and not the whole set of lists.  I know some of you have your own program that you love, but this packet could be used for any spelling program.  It has all of my homework sheets along with printables that could be used for enrichment or during center time.

 Some of the enrichment activities include, writing their words in another language, write synonyms for their words, and creating a word search.  There are lots of choices to keep your students challenged.

If this looks like it would be helpful to you hop on over to my TpT store and grab yourself a copy.

If you have a great spelling program that you use, I would love to hear all about it!!



Thank you to everyone who stopped by and pinned an item or just left me a nice comment.

And the random number generator (my hubby) picked these three ladies.

I have sent out your prizes ladies!!


Pin It To Win It!

Aloha everyone!  How is your short week moving along?  Isn't it funny how short weeks seem even longer than a regular 5 day week?!!

I wanted to share some items that I have been working on.  I have not had any creative energies in the way of products for my classroom, but I have been enjoying creating some new digital frames and background papers.

Do you create products on TpT?  When I started creating I think I had just a few clip art items and some digital backgrounds that I had from digital scrapbooking.

I loved scrapbooking and I have always had a version of Photoshop Elements on my computer.  As I started to create more for TpT I experimented a lot with digital items and just started creating my own papers.

My first set that I created were my Peace Out Digital Papers.

They are one of my favorites and a freebie in my store.

I made them just for fun along with many other sets that I posted for free. People started telling me I needed to start selling them. So I did and was pleasantly surprised when people actually bought them!

Here are a few new sets that I have completed that may be helpful for your upcoming creations.

Lots of choices for Valentine's Day!

I love this set!  I had a request for these from my bloggy buddy Terri over at The First Grade Princess. 
I drew the snakes and characters and played around with a bunch of different designs.

This is a set with fun Wintery looking dots.  I played around with the effects
to make them look a bit glittery.

I love rainbows and bright colors which I see everyday.

This is my latest set.  I drew the chevron pattern and stripes and then filled them with different colors.
I love the cartoony look to them and I can't wait to create with these!!

If you create products and like any of my items please leave a comment below and let me know which set if your favorite.  (It can be any paper set from my store)

 Then pin it.  I will pick three random people and send them their choice of papers!

I will leave you with a little freebie!  I love giving freebies as much as grabbing them.

I am always doodling and these were some extra frames that I just didn't know what to do with, so I turned them into a freebie set.

                     Don't forget to Pin It To Win It!!  I will pick my winners on Saturday evening.


Penguins, Penguins, Penguins

What's black and white and red all over??

A penguin with a sunburn!! (Maybe one who recently visited Hawaii.)

For the last two weeks our class has had a lot of fun learning all about penguins.

We started with a simple book that is in our basal reader.

This is one of my favorite stories in our basal series and now that Common Core is focusing more on non-fiction text, I decided to bump it up a bit and integrate penguins into a two week theme.

Last week we started with reading the story as a class, then we read it with a buddy and made flip books with our vocabulary words from the text. I forgot to take pics of the flip books :(

The kids were fascinated with some of the facts they read and I wanted them to see how large Emperor Penguins really are.  So I decided to make a life size one for my class.

I just painted it onto butcher paper (All I had was green, lol)  I cut it out and hung it up.
My students loved it.

This week with a little help from my bloggy friends I added a few more activities to our week of learning.

Ms. T from Journey of a substitue teacher has a great pack called Perfectly Penguin.

One of these activities has fact cards about each penguin and then a graphic organizer to help students write facts for each one.  I used my favorite teaching tool, sheet protectors, and just had them write the facts with a dry erase marker.  Perfect for a center activity.

Angelia from Extra Special teaching has a unit called  Emperor and Rockhopper Penguins.

There are some great printable books that I added to my Penguin Book Bucket.
You can print out a full color class book too!

I really love this Penguin Activities Pack from Rebecca at Teaching First.

I used lots of her great activities.  

It is filled with so many ideas, and I am sad we don't have another week to spend on it!!

We also made our own little fact booklets.

My students learned so much and had so many options for writing.  I just love this story that one little girl wrote.  She was so serious!

Finally we did some penguin art.  I taught the students how to draw a penguin and then we talked about the "cool" colors they would see in the Antarctic.  

I think they did an amazing job!!

There are so many wonderful ideas and activities and we could have easily added in another week of penguins!

I ended the week with a fun movie that I absolutely love!

Who doesn't love surfing penguins??

I have owned this movie for years and have watched it over and over with each class and my own kids.
If you haven't seen it, it is a lot of fun and the soundtrack is great!

I leave you with this great video I found on You Tube.  I need to figure out how to download it to show my students, since we can't access You Tube at school.

What are you working on for these colder months?  Our next story is Dear Mr. Blueberry, which is a great because it is whale season here in Hawaii!!

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