This is an exciting program but
it takes quite a bit of planning on the teachers part. I have
listed some useful tips that I think will make a big difference if you
decide to implement this program in your classroom.
Resources you will need
(1) Index cards (4 x 6 work best)
(2) A card box to store the index cards
(3) Index card dividers
(4) A Hanging File box or crate to store tests
(5) Hanging Files
(6) Paper Trays or a basket for students to turn in their work
(7) Materials for the spelling activities (colored pencils, markers,
alphabet stamps, stencils,
foam die, newspapers, scissors, glue, etc.)
Setting Up the Spelling
The first thing you need to do
is decide on your spelling list. It is important to plan ahead
for how you want each spelling card to be grouped. Next you need
to print your spelling lists on 4 x 6 index cards. To do this
you will need to change the margins of your Word document. I
have provided a template below. You need to print a minimum of
five cards. Many times students will be working on the same list
and you will need extra copies. For durability, you will also
want to laminate your cards.
Card List Template (MS
Once your cards are set up, you
will need to label your index dividers according to your list
numbers. Place the cards and the dividers in a card box.
My suggestion is to visit your local Staples Office Supply
Store. They have a wonderful metal card box for $20.00. It
will last a really long time and will be well worth the
Organizing the Spelling
You will need to decide
where to place your card box and where your students will turn in
their work. For turning in student work, I suggest a two-tier
paper tray. The bottom tier is where students turn in their
completed work for the teacher to check and the top tier is where
students turn in their completed tests. Wal-Mart also sells
three drawer storage units for around $10. I have now switched
to the three drawer storage unit which will prove to be more
My students complete their spelling work during
Literacy Centers so the materials are maintained in the spelling
center. I also provide the students with any and all
materials that will be needed in order to complete their spelling
activities and house them in the spelling center.
For the spelling activities, it
is helpful to create a 3-ring binder to house each activity
card. I printed the spelling activity directions on card stock
and had them laminated for durability. The students frequently
reference this notebook when completing assignments.
Another alternative is to have
students label a three-prong folder "On-Track
Spelling". Simply print or copy the menu of activities and
have students whole punch and then store the activities in their
folder as new activities are added. This way they will have the information
both at school and at home.
Teaching the Spelling
Once your materials are in
place, you will need to teach your children how to complete the
activities. In an effort to help the students understand what
they need to do in order to complete their activities I first begin
whole group. I walk the students through each activity so that
they know what to do. This takes only a few minutes at the
beginning of each week. Remember, you are only adding four
activities each week.
It is also important to teach
students to ALWAYS put the card list
number at the top of their paper so that you may provide the student
with the corresponding test number.
Tracking Student Progress
is very important to track your student's progress. It's sad to
say, but some students will be content to complete one activity in a
week's time. Each activity should only take 10-15 minutes to
complete. One suggestion for tracking student work is to use a
reward program. I use a large poster to track student
work. The top of the poster is programmed with the test numbers
and the left column is programmed with the student's name. These
reward posters can be found in your local school supply catalogue or
teacher store. You can also provide a special incentive by giving away a
Super Speller Certificate to the top speller of the grading period or
you can allow students to set a personal goal for themselves and
reward students who meet their goal. This is a fun program and
there are many, many ways to reward students for their hard work.
you are satisfied with the student's work, they are ready for a
test. Tests are all multiple choice and are quick for student's
to take. The best way to organize the spelling test is to
program and store tests in hanging files by card list number.
This way they are at your finger tips and easy to pull. You can
even allow students to pull their own tests. A template for this
Word file is provided below.
Card Test Template (MS Word)
This is a powerful spelling
program that truly differentiates learning for the student. If
you decide to implement this wonderful program into your classroom and
need advice on how to set it up or questions about maintaining the
program, please send me an email and I will respond with suggestions
or tips. Please be sure to put "On Track Spelling
Program" in the subject line.
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