Spell to Excel

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					  Spell to Excel

  An inquiry approach to
teaching spelling patterns
   and generalizations
 Know  the history and organization of Spell to Excel
 Revisit a sample weekly plan for spelling instruction
 Understand word sorts as Spell to Excel’s core
  instructional activity
 Consider research-based practice activities
 Explore the need for an instructional link between
  Spell to Excel, reading, and writing
 Know the expectations for implementation.
     What is Spell to Excel?
Spell   to Excel is a district-adopted program
 for teaching spelling in grades 1-5.
It is an inquiry-based approach to learning
 built on sound research (Bear, Shane and
 Templeton of Words Their Way, Gentry,
 Ganske, Snowball, et al.).
What is an inquiry approach to learning?

Students   actively seek answers to
Active involvement leads to
The knowledge constructed can be
 widely applied.
How is Spell to Excel organized?
This  program is designed to systematically build
 spelling knowledge over time.
Teachers use grade-appropriate lists of words to
 guide students in discovering the patterns and
 generalizations present in the English language.
The lists include 37 common rimes from which
 approximately 500 English words can be spelled.
   “Week at a Glance”
To  implement the program, a
 suggested weekly sequence of
 instruction is provided.
  “Week at a Glance”: Why it Works
Daily,direct instruction is balanced with research-
 based practice activities.
     Explicit instruction engages students in learning new
      vocabulary in context, sorting words, and spelling by
     Practice activities are multimodal study strategies
      (combine visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning
         “Week at a Glance”
Since this model is a suggested
 sequence, teachers may:
  Begin Day 1 on a day other than Monday.
  Revise the sequence or add other
   research-based instructional activities.
            Word Sorts
Word   sorting is the core instructional
 activity in Spell to Excel.
Sorts engage students in thinking
 critically about the way words look and
The Week Begins with Sorting
• On Day 1, students are introduced to
  spelling words through a sort.
• What is the purpose for the Day 1
      Purpose of Day 1 Sort
Engage students in
  1) noticing and thinking about the
 week’s focus pattern(s), and
  2) forming a generalization.
  Day 1 Word Sort

What does it look like?
What are the steps?
            Day 1 Word Sort
  1. Identify key words that
        illustrate the patterns/generalization to be learned
        students may be familiar with, or will see often in
         reading and/or writing
        will support comparing and contrasting features

    Rationale: Students will be able to use these
     words to anchor their learning.
            Day 1 Sort Cont’d.
2. Introduce the words in a way that supports
   students in reading and understanding them.
      Provide a context for understanding the words
       (sentences, explanations).
      Consider providing a picture context to support ELLs.

   Rationale: Students need to be able to read the words to
      sort effectively. If students can’t read the words,
      sorting will always be a visual matching exercise.
             Day 1 Sort Cont’d.
3. Think aloud to model sorting by the pattern or
      Compare and contrast features of words.
      Engage students in thinking along during the sort as they
       demonstrate readiness.

   Rationale: Just as in learning strategies for
     comprehending, students need to hear an expert
     (someone who understands the pattern/generalization)
     make thinking visible.
             Day 1 Sort Cont’d.
4. Summarize and record the learning
   (generalization) related to the sort.

   Rationale: Verbalizing the learning supports students in
   constructing the target generalization rather than
   focusing on some less important feature (“They
   rhyme!”). Students will need to apply these
   generalizations to read and write proficiently.
 Days 2-5: Direct Instruction
Week   at a Glance    Optional   Lessons
 Cloze Sentences        Sentence   Lifting
 Closed/Open Sorts      Develop a
 Making Connections      Classroom Resource
             Cloze Sentences
 Purpose:                  What to do:
                              Create  at least 5 sentences with
 • Build vocabulary.           the week’s spelling words.
 • Practice using patterns    Write them on sentence strips
                               or on a transparency, using
  to decode words in           blanks for missing spelling words.
  context.                    Together, read and decide which
                               words best complete the
 • Compare and contrast        sentences, building concept
  word features.               knowledge and vocabulary as you
                               go. Reinforce use of patterns to
                               decode efficiently.
               Closed/Open Sorts
 Purpose:                    What     to do:
     Revisit Day 1 sort by         Provide word cards for each
      releasing responsibility       student.
      to students for noticing      Student reconstructs Day 1 sort
      and thinking about             or sorts according to own rule.
      patterns in words.            Student may ask partner or
     Build independence of          teacher to “Guess my rule.”
      thought by leaving the        Sort may be glued in a word study
      sorting rule open to           notebook with a written
      student choice.                statement about the learning.
            Making Connections
 Purpose  of Lesson:     What    to do:
 • Demonstrate how            Identify a key word with the focus
  knowing a key word           pattern.
                               Model “If you know…, it helps you
  helps us know other      
                               know… .”
  words (spelling by          Repeat with other key words for
  analogy).                    patterns in week’s lists.
 • Build knowledge of         Engage students in making
  pattern to apply in          connections while stating, “If you… .”
                               Explicitly link this strategy to
  reading and writing.     
                               reading and writing.
               Sentence Lifting
 Purpose:                        What to do:
                                    Select a sentence from the
     Use a familiar context
                                     cloze activity.
      to model and engage           Prepare for lesson per
      students in strategic          “Sentence Lifting Routine.”
      thinking.                      Plan models, teaching points,
     Assess students’ ability       and cues to support the
      to apply knowledge of          strategic thinking your
      spelling skills and            students need.
      strategies                    Assess what students know
      independently.                 and need to know for future
   Develop a Classroom Resource
 Purpose:            What      to do:
 Actively engage             Use interactive writing to build a
 students in using            word family/generalization resource.
                             Negotiate and begin list with a key
 knowledge of patterns        word that students can use as an
 and generalizations to       anchor to spell other words.
 construct a classroom       List other meaningful words that
 resource.                    students suggest.
                             Refer to during modeled writing.
      Daily Practice Opportunities
Alongside explicit spelling instruction, students
 need practice time to:
     explore patterns on their own
     build words in left-to-right sequence
     make their own connections between what they know
      and what they are learning
     engage more than one part of the brain in learning
      and remembering
     become more automatic in recognizing and using
 “Week at a Glance” Practice Activities
 Building Words
 Look, Say, Cover,
  Write, Check
 Partner Sorts         What practice
 Reverse Chaining       activities are not
 Trace, Copy, Recall
 Open sorts
                         listed here? Why?
 Word Hunts
 Games
What is Appropriate Practice?
There   are many different ways
 students can work with patterns and
Reading and writing support students in
 learning and applying knowledge of
 spelling patterns.
Connecting Spelling to Reading and Writing

 The  patterns and generalizations students
  are learning will support them in reading
  and writing proficiently.
 Teachers can support this outcome by
  including explicit links between spelling,
  reading, and writing.
             Explicit Teaching
 At the end of a spelling lesson, clearly summarize the
  learning and set the expectation that students should
  use this information when they read and write.
 Model noticing and using spelling patterns and
  generalizations during shared reading. Explicitly state,
  “You can do this when you’re reading.”
 Think aloud during modeled/shared writing to show
  students how you use patterns/generalizations to spell
  efficiently. Explicitly remind students to do the same.
 What about High Frequency Words?

High  frequency words are embedded
 in the lists. Since they typically do
 not follow patterns, these words must
 be taught directly.
       How are HFW taught?
Use  the suggested or similar routine for
 teaching high frequency words effectively,
 with particular emphasis on the “tricky”
 part of the word.
Why is this part of the routine so essential
 to students’ ability to recognize high
 frequency words?
Reinforcing High Frequency Words
When  a high frequency word is taught,
 ceremoniously add it to the word wall.
Engage students in daily interaction with
 the word wall.
     It gives them practice in recognizing HFW.
     It gives them practice in locating words they will need
      for writing.
     Refer to the Spell to Excel manual for word wall practice
The  teaching of high frequency
 words complements the study of
 patterns and generalizations.
Students receiving direct instruction
 in both develop into strong spellers.
How to Know What Students Learned

Weekly   tests are quick checks for
 students and teachers.
The best way to assess what students
 have learned about patterns,
 generalizations, and high frequency
 words is through their writing.
           Assessing Writing
Look   for evidence of learning in daily writing
 What   does the student know and use from previous
 What does the student know and use from current
 What is the student attempting but confusing?
What are the Expectations for Spelling
     Instruction in District 12?
Teach  spelling patterns and generalizations
 through daily, direct instruction and practice.
Follow the teaching sequence in Spell to Excel.
Teach high frequency words and plan daily
 interaction with the word wall.
Explicitly link spelling instruction to reading and
Assess spelling in writing.
   Implementing the Program
Remember    that building the routines
 needed to support spelling instruction
 takes time.
You will develop fluency with direct
 instruction routines and so will your
 Sets of videos and CDs with clips from primary and
  intermediate spelling lessons were given to each
 The Spell to Excel manual contains a wealth of
 A grade-level list of spelling generalizations offers
  background information to support your instruction.
 Your literacy coach is also a resource. Just ask!

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