Another area we have historically needed to improve was the spelling portion on the PALS test. PALS provides spelling tests for their quick checks, but doesn’t have a procedure to follow. To complicate this intervention, our school uses word study for weekly words.
What I DIDN’T want:
- to add a different list of words to the students
- to add to nightly homework
- to take up much time
What I DID want:
- a quick and easy review
- an intervention based on OUR data
- an intervention that constantly reviewed previous lessons
This fall our scores were indicative of our historical data.
We were low in nasals, CVCe, long vowels patterns, and r-/l-controlled vowels.
The chart above shows our scores in the fall and at the mid-year.
We knew we had to focus on these features, but we needed to determine who was going to receive the intervention.
Our biggest mistakes in nasals were in the -ng and -nk endings.
Who Was Chosen?
We decided to only look at our second graders. Looking at student data, we looked at students were seemed to be in danger of not reaching the EOY Benchmark score of 54.
This score was the combined total of Words In Isolation List and Spelling. Knowing the highest score on the Words in Isolation test was a 20, we needed to focus our spelling intervention on those students who were below a score of 34 on the spelling portion of the test.
There were 27 students who qualified with this, however, another student transferred into our school shortly after the semester started and he was added to the group at that time.
Like I said before, we needed something quick and easy that reviewed each skill quickly. We reviewed each of the 4 areas for a week, then repeated the pattern. Each week we had a word or two from the weeks before, so the students could practice the words. Our weeks were as follows:
- Long Vowel Patterns (CVCe)
- Long Vowel Patterns (long a and e patterns)
- Long Vowel Patterns (long i patterns)
In addition to this lesson pattern, we had a routine for the week. Students were given a composition notebook for this intervention. All other supplies for the intervention were provided by the interventionist.
Monday is Introduction Day. Students are introduced to an anchor chart on an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet. They were also provided a smaller version of the anchor chart for their notebook.
They were also shown the words for the week, one at a time. As they were shown the words, they made a verbal connection to the anchor chart.
Also the words were sorted on a 8 1/2 x 11 poster. They are directed to read the entire column after each word is added.
Tuesday is Sort Day. Students are sorting words in their composition book, sometimes they draw the chart, sometimes they glue a chart in their composition book. As the words are shown, they are added to the chart. After each word is added, they read the entire row.
Wednesday is a Dictation Day. Each word is read to the students, and students write word on the chart or in their notebook. When they are done, they will check their list and make their own corrections, before they leave the table.
Thursday is Game Day. Students play a feature game. The games were concentration with words, concentration with words and pictures or choose the correct spelling.
Because the r-controlled vowels for er, ir, and ur sound alike, students need to be able to recognize the correct spelling visually. They are given a card with a picture and the correct spelling and 2 incorrect attempts. Students determine the correct spelling and can move up the game board.
Friday is Test Day. Students are given a list of 10 words, 6 from the feature of the week and 4 from the previous weeks in review.
Students score their own test and fix incorrect answers.
Again, I am proud of the results. The overall growth and the intervention group results.
Looking at the Mid-Year and EOY scores, the intervention group increased in each group…some significantly.
- nasals from 65% to 83%, a 18% gain.
- CVCe from 30% to 64%, a 34% gain.
- long vowel patterns from 15% to 29%, a 14% gain
- r-controlled and l-controlled vowels 21% to 69%, a 48% gain (holy guacamole)
What Did We Learn?
The first thing we learned is we did it too quick. We literally trained the teacher assistants on the fly, and made up the weeks as we went.
I have promised to do better training, double check all our plans and train the TAs better on scoring the tests. This year, they turned in a data form with “words correct,” but I needed to go back and look at whether the students had the features correct.
Teach students absolutes…not “rules.” Sometimes students are taught “rules” that aren’t really “rules.”
My personal pet peeve is the “when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking” rule. It only applies 47% of the time, so it is definitely NOT a good rule to follow. I do believe in teaching absolutes.
When teaching about nasals, we make sure to tell our students they will absolutely NEVER see “ngk” in a word. It sounds like it, but it isn’t EVER spelled that way. Another absolute is they will absolutely NEVER use “jr” to spell words like “drum” and “drive.”
We also decided we need to look at the schedule and figure out how to make sure we cover long o and u vowel patterns, because the time ran out before the test.
Overall, I was thrilled.
If you would like a sample week FREEBIE, CLICK HERE or the picture below.