Thursday, July 24, 2014

Word Study Assessment

This week, I'm linking up with Miss V's Busy Bees and Mrs. D's Corner for their Back to School fun! Each week, our bloggy friends are sharing useful experiences and ideas specific to a back to school topic.

On the agenda this week: assessment!

As we all know, there are a million and one (or so it seems) assessment pieces throughout our weeks in the classroom. For this post, I chose to write about word study assessment.

One of my very least favorite things about elementary school is spelling. Now, don't get me wrong. I am totally in favor of children learning how to spell, and for those of you who know my grammar freak tendencies, that's not a surprise to you!

In our classroom, we don't have your good ol' fashioned spelling list each week. Instead, we have a phonics pattern (short a, long u, etc.), like most classrooms. But, rather than students "studying" a list of these words at home each night, we work with these words throughout our week in our classroom. We list these words together (and then students are encouraged to add more that they think of throughout the week), we play games with these words during Daily 5 word work, we read poems with these words during class time and at least once a week, we complete a homework piece that deals with this phonics pattern. Students have exposure to these words throughout the week, and these experiences are more meaningful in the long run than studying a list.

Then, on Friday, I administer a word study assessment. This probably looks a lot like most teachers' spelling tests. However, the words are a surprise each week. I always choose words that we've brainstormed as a class that week, so I know that they've had ample opportunities to explore these words in various ways. I love this assessment so much more than when I did traditional spelling lists. I'm able to see which little friends are able to APPLY their phonics knowledge, which is so crucial to their reading and writing success.

I can also DIFFERENTIATE this assessment seamlessly! The tenth word is always a free choice word — the students may choose any word that fits the pattern. So, with Long I, some students might choose to write bike, a word that we've probably talked a lot about that week. OR, some higher-level friends might decide to write decide. That is instant differentiation. And, with the dictation sentence, students are able to create their own if they choose — I always give a fairly simple dictation sentence. I always encourage "stretching your brain," though!

I've found that my students perform better when we're able to apply our knowledge, rather than just memorize a list.

Check out the pictures below for a deeper look at what I do for this assessment!

How do YOU do spelling in your classroom?

Don't forget to follow on Blog Lovin'! — I'm in need of some good teacher lovin' over there!

1 comment:

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