Sort, Hunt, Write: A Weekly Spelling Program
1 The Hook
Pre-test and Word Selection: Have students take and self-correct their pretests. If students spelled a word correctly, they may choose another word from the word bank to replace it. This allows the students' lists to be further individualized while still focusing on the word patterns being studied. If students score an 80% or higher they may create their own word list based on the pattern being studied that week. These words may or may not come from the word bank.
2 Direct Instruction
Word Sort and Word Hunt: Students, either alone or in groups, should sort their words into categories. Students will first sort the words according to how they sound. Words with like sounds or patterns should be placed in the same category. Next, students should identify the spelling patterns that dictated how they sorted their words into each of the categories. Finally, students should write a summary that explains how they sorted their words into the various categories. After the word sort is completed, students will begin the word hunt. The word hunt will help students apply generalizations that they just learned through the word sort activity. It also helps students see how the word patterns that they are learning are used in a variety of texts. During the word hunt, students should search through print materials to locate other words that fit the spelling patterns they are currently studying. Print materials may include dictionaries, thesauri, novels, newspapers, magazines, content area texts, and trade books. Online resources can be used as well, such as The Poetry Zone and Giggle Poetry. These online resources include spelling lists and/or texts that students can read and search for their word patterns.
3 Guided Practice
Using the Words in Context: Using their word lists, students will create written texts that use their words in context. Texts can be written in any form, such as poems, stories, jokes, riddles, and so on. You may decide to let students choose what type of text they will write, or assign a specific type each week. After the texts are written, instruct students to peer edit and revise their texts. You may also wish to conference with students about the texts they have written to make sure that the spelling words are used correctly. You may also choose to focus on other aspects of their writing (e.g., grammar, punctuation) if you wish.
4 Independent Practice
Partner Posttest: Pair each student with a partner. Ask each student to read the text that his or her partner has composed out loud. As the text is read out loud, students should pause at the highlighted words and ask their partners to write the spelling words on a sheet of paper. The tests can then be checked. If students score below an 80%, they will continue to study the same spelling pattern the following week. Students who score an 80% or higher will study a new spelling pattern the following week.
5 Wrap Up
STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS: Each student will be assessed in the following ways:
Pretest/posttest spelling scores
Ability to sort words into categories and write a summary that explains the spelling patterns being studied
Ability to identify additional words that fit the spelling patterns being studied
Ability to write and revise a text using the spelling words in context
Ability to give feedback to another student on his or her written text
Students may choose to do additional activities beyond what is described in this lesson. "Education Place" (http://www.eduplace.com/rdg/hmsv/index.html) provides a list of further activities. These activities may not apply directly to the word patterns your class is studying in a given week; however, many of the activities can be easily modified for any word pattern.