Monday, July 18, 2011

Tracking Progress in Sequential Spelling

Tracking Progress in Sequential Spelling

If you would like to track the progress of your student’s spelling ability going through Sequential Spelling (or If if it is to be, it is up to me to do it), you can use this template. Most parents and teachers are content to see that drastic gains have been made, and that the improvement shows itself not just in spelling, but also in their writing. However, some people want more detailed information as to how and how much the student has improved. With this simple template, you can see if a word family is mastered at the end of the fourth day—after various words in the word family and their various structural endings (-s, -ed, etc.) were presented. This will also show you, in more detail, word families not mastered or if the student is simply not mastering an individual word here and there. This is only one way that progress can be tracked, but this will hopefully give you a starting point.

On the example template (PDF), see that we have included space for 16 days’ reports (print 12 pages to have enough for a full level of Sequential Spelling). There are columns for the word families being learned in the lesson, the numbers of the words presented, notations for each word per day, and a separate column for general comments after every fourth day.

On days 65-68 in Level 1 of Sequential Spelling, four major word families are being tested: -end, -ipe, -and, and -ime. In addition, a few -iend words are presented. The base words (end, pipe, disband, crime) are presented in lesson 65. In lessons 66-68, various derivative forms (ends, ended, ending; pipes, piped, piping; etc.) are presented, respectively.

Looking at the example chart (PDF), this student missed 8 words on day 65, but missed fewer and fewer words as the lessons dealing with these word families progressed. Even though he originally missed the base words, he was able to learn them after self-correcting on the first day, seeing other words in the same word family, and adding the familiar suffixes. However, he missed the forms of disband each day even though he got all of the other –and family words; perhaps this word would be reviewed individually with the student or would be dismissed as a word unnecessary for his particular grade level. This is one thing to consider about Sequential Spelling; some of the words presented throughout the lessons are presented for vocabulary building, others are simply examples of a word family to master the important words (those that are bolded), or for building confidence as many students will be able to spell words correctly they do not recall ever hearing or seeing before. We have denoted that these four major word families were mastered by an “OK” in the notes column. However, we have noted the word disband in case we choose to review at some point those problem words.

In the next set of lessons, lessons 69-72, we have more examples of words in three of the previous four word families. As you can see, this student retained what he learned about these word families, for the most part, with the base words presented in day 69. He didn’t get a single word wrong on day 72. He has mastered these three word families.

Sequential Spelling intersperses certain tricky or sight words and names in the lessons to be sure that they are learned as well. These have been marked by an asterisk in the word family column for lessons 69-72. Here, does, doesn’t, were, weren’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t, and couldn’t were presented among the words of the word families being targeted in these lessons. This student had a hard time with these words and missed many of them. We have marked in the notes column that these words should be reviewed.

Feel free to use your own notations – use what makes sense to you, what is easy and quick to do in between presentation of the words to your student, and what will ultimately accomplish the goals you have for tracking the progress. If you decide to do this on a computer, you may choose to use a 1 in the incorrectly spelled words’ cells; this will allow you to use the Sum function of your spreadsheet to add the incorrect words.

One final note: Depending on your student, you may or may not want to let him know that you are tracking his progress, especially in the beginning lessons. Sequential Spelling emphasizes encouragement and confidence building. Seeing many incorrect tallies may be hurtful to a student’s self-esteem. However, if and when significant gains are made, it may be a confidence boost to show him how much he has improved.

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