Individualized Spelling, Slice of Life #29

So, I got up early this morning. It’s 10:30 p.m. on the East coast in the U.S. I have almost made it through the month of March and my first Slice of Life, 2017. I don’t want to quit, so I’m writing this quick post. Quick because I also promised myself and my students that this day I would give them the list of spelling words that we made together. Individual students and I chose words based on ones they misspell in their work and vocabulary they chose for themselves from their last story.

Here is a partial list that I am now going to type up with names and print off for my students to add to their notebooks:

8 students

I know this is impractical. There has to be a better way because I won’t do it like this weekly or even biweekly. As is usually my style, I tend to experiment and then tweak it to improve.

I even realized if I would have written more neatly with space between, I could have just sliced this paper and given each a handwritten list after taking a photo for my records.

I just took a break and started looking online for resources:

In a blog post by teacher Angela Bunyi on, the book Words Their Way came up.

I have some studying to do to find a way to make this work.

Any suggestions for individualizing spelling?

7 thoughts on “Individualized Spelling, Slice of Life #29

  1. I use individual lists for my kiddos. They are first graders and all the words are high frequency words. Each kiddo has 3 weeks to take a test or I ask them to take one. It’s been working out well for me, but I know in 2nd grade they use Words Their Way. I haven’t thought about using this one yet. Maybe in the future. 🙂
    Hope this helps!!!

  2. I use Words Their Way in my classroom! Depending on the students’ level, they are assigned spelling patterns in a designated book. We also use “Spelling City” on our iPads. Not sure if you have access to iPads, but if you do, I recommend the app!

  3. I use Words Their Way for my individualized spelling lists too. My students are more interested and invested in their spelling lists since they know they are getting their “own” words.

  4. We do Words Their Way in our district. You would have to think through the time factor – when to meet with all of your spelling groups, like for guided reading, at least two times a week (to introduce the sort, then assess the sort).

    Nancie Atwell recommends that each student keep their own list, that they gather from their writing or reading, in the back of their writer’s notebook. They keep about five words a week. The information is here:

  5. I have used Words Their Way for years and really love it. I also have individual “word walls” in their writing folders that the students add on to as they have a need. I think that you do have to experiment to see what works best for you and your kiddos. I love all your reflection on your practice.

  6. Wow, thanks for all the answers to my question! Well, I’ll be ordering Words Their Way today, to be sure.

    It seems a logical step to empowering the students to own their own learning.

    Thanks, all,

  7. When I was teaching at an international school in China we used Words Their Way. The kids loved it but the parents hated it. We had to run a workshop to teach parents about it, and in the end it all worked out.

    Good luck!

    -Amanda at

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