It's Wednesday, Hump Day! Today is also "What Works Wednesday" #2. My colleagues and I are gathering for a "scrapbooking" party. Our pages won't be filled with photos of our latest vacations however. We are gathering instead to work on our evidence notebooks. I would love to be making an electronic version.
As I sorted through things for the notebook this week, I noticed a piece I had put aside for the Domain 1 section for differentiation. As a former special education teacher, I have always differentiated instruction to some degree.
My selection for What Works Wednesday would be Spelling City. Spellingcity.com is a great site and app for differentiating spelling instruction. Spelling lists are easily differentiated. Students can easily have their very own spelling list. I post my list once, and then only add additional lists based on the students in my room that year. Last year, I had to work to find words that would challenge one of my students. She could spell any grade level would on the lists. I found similar word lists at a seventh grade level to keep her challenged. I teach fifth grade, by the way.Here is a sample of lists for my unit that goes with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The list is further differentiated with different challenge /super speller words for individual students. I have two additional groups, one that is working on only sight words, and one that has simplified compound words this week.
I use Spellingcity to administer a pretest, practice test, and final test. The students like it because they can take the test at their own pace. I like it because they print out the test, and I can read every word. I also like the fact that the test is scored for me. I have students write their Challenge or Super Speller words on the test paper. I add those points to their total, record scores, and return them to students in minutes.
Students love the variety of activities available for them. I use classroom dollars to purchase the premium subscription, because they can access all activities. The basic subscription has many fun, differentiated activities as well.
Spellingcity.com fits well with the spelling contract I have done for years. I added the activities to the bottom of the contract. Those activities are as popular as my "Rainbow Writers" with my Scentos markers. Students use the app on our two classroom computers, my iPads, the iPad cart when we get them, or in the lab. We go within the first ten minutes of the day most Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I am committed to providing them with differentiated learning experiences, and to prepare them for the future. Whether they are taking the tests or playing Speedy Speller and Falling Letters, they are typing. This skills is important as we move to an online standardized test next school year.
Differentiating Spelling with a spelling contract and SpellingCity.com works for me on this Wednesday.