Customized Spelling Lists


I’ve been grading my students’ personal narratives this morning using the rubric I created last month. That being said, I decided not to just grade their personal narratives, but also to use them as a way to create lists of misspelled words so that I can differentiate their weekly spelling lists.

My colleague Kate gives her students a spelling test each Friday, like I do. However, she customizes the spelling lists so that they include five class words and five personal words. I think this is so smart, therefore, starting on December 3rd I’m going to do the same thing.

For instance, I’ve read through about half of the class’s narratives so far and have found over ten words for some kids since they include all of the drafts in the same folder as their published pieces. (Published pieces have few errors in GUMS, which is why looking back at their drafts to see the words they struggled with is exceedingly helpful.) For instance, just look at a couple of the lists that I created for some of my kids:

Student A:
dressed
said
dumbest
breakfast
done
grocery
went
laundry
suits
seconds
tired
kind
skip
fluently

Student B:
hike
let’s
interception
touchdown
thought
after
surely
pitch
made
run
inside
Providence

I think that using misspelled words from their own writing on their weekly lists will not only help them, but will make spelling tests more authentic for them. (Authenticity is something that I’m sure you’ve seen Ruth and I talking about in the past week since we left NCTE. Definitely a new theme of ours!)

If you have any advice for me on how YOU customize your students’ weekly spelling lists, then please post a comment! I’m definitely looking for feedback and new ideas.