Pilot Teachers, please name the activity/activities you have tried with your class, discuss how the children responded to the activities and whether or not the activities led to greater understanding of the spelling strategies taught.   

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I essentially had three groups. However, based on the list you gave me I made 2 games. The first game is from the Letter Name Section called Gruff Drops Troll. I did it just like the book and made the gameboard using a file folder and the word cards from Words Their Way. They absolutely loved the game. Each week spelling scores have been excellent on their wor study tests.
From the With-in Words Stage I chose to use the Turkey Feathers Game on page 202. I found that most students still struggled with those medial vowel sounds. Once again, they LOVED the game, found it engaging and wanted more games like it. Students made suggestions about us having those games during our centers or word study block too. This group also aced their tests each week.

However... so many of the students did not transfer this to their DSA test!!! It was an absolute upset. Their scores are all over the place. It was frustrating to see that they still struggled. My lowest group was FLOORED when they saw they had to write actual words, since all of their work has been picture sorts.

Some of this could be b/c we didn't start this until late February. Not to mention the numerous snow days and then testing schedules. I will be interested to see how effective this will be when I start it at the beginning of the year. Thanks Michelle for helping set this up!@
I am glad that the kids responded well to the games and want to have more of them at centers. After the 3rd grade teachers feel comfortable with the groupings next year, they can begin adding games to the center mix.

When we analyze the scores they may have made more progress than you think. Sometimes it looks like they failed because they don't spell an entire word correctly, but they have actually improved because they are spelling more features correctly than at the onset of Word Study. I'll pick the tests up tomorrow.
I made board games with their words but made my own cards instead of the spinners. I had 4 groups this year which started the first week in October. We have been doing the sorts at centers every since. When I introduced the game board, the students were very excited! A few said "thank god we don't have to do more sorts." I observed the students sparatically. They were engaged and interested in the game the entire center. Again, we have been doing sorts all year so it may have just been a nice change for them. I agree that next year the teachers should add the games into centers but also keep the sorts and the activites that went with the sorts. I was also disappointed with the spelling test scores at the end of the week. Most of the students passed like usual but some had their lowest scores yet! I was able to gather some information when I graded the students the end of the year DSA test. In my high group, syllable juncture, they did excellent all year with an average of 99% and I was proud of their DSA test scores. The middle group, within word, did even better than the high group on the end of the year testing!! My low group, letter name, did okay on the letter name DSA test but could not apply the strategies they learned to the test. This group did poorly on the test during game week. The last group of two students in emergent spelling could not pass either test. They also had a hard time remember strategies from previous weeks. These students are still struggling. Overall, I would say the majority of the students have progressed. Those that were good spellers in September became great spellers, and those that struggled, still struggle. I can't wait to see the official results after Michelle scores them!!
Thanks Ginger. I will pick up your tests tomorrow and get your analysis back to you ASAP. The games do offer a welcome alternative to the daily grind. I found it helpful to introduce the games periodically and let the students select three out of four or five choices for centers (game/open sort/speed sort/blind sort/word and picture hunt...).
I made the "Sheep in a Jeep" game which was for transitional learners in the "Within Word Pattern" stage.It was easy to make, I used the templates from the book and clip art to create the game board. The game worked with words containing the long e sound spelled with ee or ea. The children enjoyed the game and had fun with it. I think they were starting to get a little tired of just the regular sorts. I can't really say if it helped improve their test score because all of my students (except for one) have been getting in the 90 to 100 range on their weekly tests I plan over the summer to make some more games for centers. I found that some of the lower ability students in my middle group had a hard time completing the Word and Picture Hunt and one student in my top group just did not like Word and Picture Hunt. While I will still continue using Word and Picture Hunt, I think the games will offer more interest while attaining the same goal. Due to everyting going on at the end of the year, I was only able to make one game. I feel that my student's spelling did improve and they are learning patterns that will transfer and not just memorizing random words. Thanks Michelle for the training and getting us started. Diane Ennis
See my reply to Ginger about choices. I will get your analysis to you tomorrow so you can see the students growth.
I made the "Hopping Frog Game" for my beginner group to practice short vowel sounds, "The Train Station Game" for my intermediate group to practice long vowel combinations, and "Homophone Rummy" for my highest level. Everyone was really enthusiastic about playing and of course each group wanted to play each other's game as well as their own. I found that "Homophone Rummy" was great practice in reinforcing not only spelling, but word meanings too. I will definitely be making more games over the summer, so that I can use them as center activities starting in September. My students have been scoring very high on weekly tests and I find that they pay more attention to spelling patterns in general when reading aloud or writing an essay. When someone is having difficulty spelling a word, I give them clues to the proper spelling by referring back to the patterns that we've studied. This has been a great program to pilot and I am looking forward to using it again next year!
Thanks for being the lone 3rd grade teacher to try the program. I love the Homophone Rummy game and the children asked to play that over and over through the year when I taught 2nd and 3rd grades. Did you find knowing the specific spelling patterns the students were capable of enhancing helpful during guided reading?

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