My Spelling Philosophy
Spelling in first grade is designed so that children learn how sounds and print works. Our spelling is combined with A Beka and high fluency words from Scott Foresman Reading. Each week students have five new word wall words and five word family words to learn. Although we have a traditional spelling test on Thursdays, I am more concerned if the children are learning word patterns and can use our Word Wall as a resource for spelling in their writing. Gone are the days when kids memorize words for the big test holding the words in short term memory, only to dump them after the test. This year I am going to include a "Words I Know" section on each weekly test so that children are responsible for words learned from the time they are tested originally. This will be an addition of two review words each week for 1st semester and three review words added 2nd semester. I have always had an end of the year test and parents worked with their child to see which tricky words needed further practice. But waiting until 4th quarter is overwhelming for some first graders. By then, there are too many words that were not learned. If parents know from the start that all learned words will be retested, I hope they will do more review of the word wall and family words during the entire year.
**~**One more note...I am a firm believer that first graders need to be free from the idea that words have to be spelled perfectly when writing a first draft. I would much rather have good quality content and ideas down on paper with the knowledge that writing pieces can be edited at a later stage. Spelling is a developmental skill much like walking and talking. With practice and experience, children learn to spell words conventionally. In fact, the process of inventive spelling has much value in itself in teaching children how words work. It also means that the sky is the limit in what young children can write when spelling perfectly is not a consideration.