How Do You Spell Assessment?

We are using a "Words Their Way" type of spelling program. It is more of a "Words Their Way" lite. My question is how do we grade? Do we grade the pretest because it tells us what they know? Do we grade them on the Friday test after they have gone over the words and practiced them all week? Does the Friday test show students know the words and can use them in their writing, or does is show they can study words for a week and spell them on Friday and nothing changes in their writing?

"Words Their Way" is a great program that concentrates on patterns in the words. We are told to grade the last few tests, yet each test concentrates on a whole different set of patterns. Students may get an easy pattern on the last few weeks and hard ones throughout the weeks. This is not a true picture of how they are doing with spelling. So do we even grade the weekly tests? Our team is always trying to show what the students truly know on the reports we send to parents. I am not sure if we are there yet with spelling.

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The Major Award

Our school received a major award this week. We have become a Distinguished Title I School. This is a culmination of what our school has been working on for the last few years. The staff did not know about this award and we were not looking to get it, but there it is, right at our doorstep. All the innovation we have been doing, all the research, all the practices we have put into place have given us the opportunity to be recognized for our hard work. All teachers are hard workers and deserve to be recognized. The students performed to our expectations.

We teach and teach, we research and change our teaching styles, we practice and replace ideas, we read about others ideas and write down our own, and we worry about the things we did not do. We are being recognized for the hard work we have done over the last few years of changing our culture and attitudes about students and learning. We are thankful for the award. We have not desired it. We did not even know it was there for schools to earn. We were just doing our jobs to help students learn and be prepared for the world when they enter into it as an adult. We want them to be ready for whatever comes their way. We are not sure what we will see in ten years when those fifth graders are in college or entering the workforce. What we do know is that it is changing and we need them to be prepared for whatever comes their way.

We accept the award on behalf of all the teachers, professional development teachers, conference speakers, district support, and others that have had a hand in making our school a wonderful place to teach and to be taught. Our job now is to keep our standards and expectations high and to keep our students learning. We can do it.

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