When I learned that I'd be teaching spelling this year, I set out to find a program that would be useful beyond spelling a list of random words each week. If I am going to spend time each week on spelling, shouldn't it be on something that is transferrable? Yes! Shouldn't it be aligned to Common Core? Yes! And.. Shouldn't it be super easy for me to implement? YES!
I'm so glad I found Margaret Whisnant's Word Trek program!
Let me walk you through what we do each week.
On Mondays, we start by updating our Word Part list on the first page of their spelling notebooks. You might remember that our spelling notebook is simply the back (upside-down) of our English (Writing/Grammar) notebook.
This was Week 1, when we only had two word parts. We're now up to thirteen!
Then, students write the words and definitions (there are ten each week) in the notebook. The entire program is in ABC order, so when we're finished, they'll have a mini-glossary of words we've learned.
I have them write on the backs of pages and not skip lines in order to make sure there aren't any wasted pages (or space!) in the notebook.
Then, I'll give them the spelling homework packet for the week. I assign it on Monday, and students have until Thursday to finish it. The packet is run off straight from the Word Trek book and includes matching definitions, fill-in-the-blank sentences, synonyms, antonyms, and a section on etymology and word study! The last few are always more challenging and give the students something to think about and make connections to the real world. Here's a peek at one of the lessons:
On Thursdays, I check to see that the students have completed the assignment (I don't grade it, but give points for completion) and we go over the answers. There's always plenty of content that's interesting and leads to more discussions and connections!
Then, we take two tests on Friday. One is a traditional spelling test, and the other is the vocabulary test that is included in the program. If the students study the words and their meanings and complete the lesson for the week, it isn't too hard to ace the test. Most of my students have gotten the hang of it now that we've finished Week 6. Here's a peek at that test:
And there you have it! Easy, simple routines, and NO PREP for me. The students are learning SO much about Greek and Latin root words - and let me tell you, SO AM I!
There are even more components to this program that I haven't mentioned, including connections to writing assignments and more. You really need to download the 40+ page preview file that includes four complete lessons, background, instructions, and so much more to help you decide if (THAT!) this is the program that you need.
Margaret Whisnant has been my favorite seller since long before I ever thought of selling anything myself. Any time you purchase from her, you can count on the highest quality. If the $99 price tag has you nervous, DON'T BE! You won't find a spelling program from any publisher that is anywhere near this good, and even if you could, it would no doubt cost considerably more. You can also download one unit at a time (six weeks) for around $20, making this more than affordable.
Have you already started another meaningless spelling program? Cut your losses and get with the program, sister!
A few more things about the program: There are actually three books in the series. I asked Margaret before purchasing which one she thought I should use for my above average sixth graders, and she said to start with Book Two, which has turned out to be just the right amount of challenging. Margaret has told me that she spent over ten years working on this program, and let me tell you, it shows!
I could work for Margaret selling these books, but just so you know, the only motivation I have for telling you about them is the wonderful results I've been getting in my classroom.