Out of This World Literacy : Bright Ideas: How to Set Up a Spelling Notebook
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Bright Ideas: How to Set Up a Spelling Notebook

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I have my students set up Spelling Notebooks for the year for a few big reasons:

1.  It cuts down on loose papers.
2.  It's harder for students to lose a notebook than a piece of paper
3.  All their learning can be kept in one spot
4. We can look back at all we have learned in spelling throughout the year

What you need:

1. A spiral notebook for every student
2. Extra Strong Post-It Tabs

Create 5 Sections in the Spelling Notebooks

Section One: Mini Lessons

This is a section for students to copy the weekly spelling lesson.  I usually teach a spelling mini lesson on Mondays to the entire class.  Students copy this skill into their spelling notebooks.  That way, they have their learning in a safe place and can use it the entire year, not just for one week!

Section Two: Words to learn

Students keep a running list of words they need to learn in this section.  
The words they write down come from 3 main areas:

1. errors on past spelling tests
2. words they struggle with in their writing from any subject
3. words they find in reading and want to know more about.

Each week they add a few of these words to their weekly spelling list.  As they get the words spelled correctly, I have them check off the words on their list.  

Students love seeing how many words they can master throughout the year!!

Section Three: Practice Tests

On Thursdays, Students take a practice test.  I have them pair up with a spelling buddy and they give each other a test.  If there are any words spelled wrong, they circle them and practice them on the next page in their notebooks.

Section Four: Spelling Tests

On Fridays, students take their spelling tests in this section.  I collect the notebooks and quickly grade them.  Students write any words that are incorrect in their 'words to learn' section.  

I love having all the spelling tests together in one place.  It's a great thing to show parents at conference time as well!

Section Five: Interactive Edits

In this section students copy down really great sentences they find during reading.  They write one sentence on the top of a page.  As a class, we talk about what we notice is working well in the sentence.  We make a list of all the things the writer did that are really great.

Even though this is more of a grammar activity, it is perfect for the spelling notebook.  Because we talk about spelling patterns we see in words, syllables, word chunks, unique word families, and so on.  

We usually do about 2-3 Interactive Edits a week.  They take anywhere from 10-15 minutes.  They are a really great quick time filler!  

Once students gain a deep understanding of how to do an interactive edit, they can go off and complete them in small groups during literacy centers as well!

That's It! 

I hope this post has been helpful to you in setting up spelling notebooks for you classroom!

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  1. I love that you include their weekly tests in the notebook. What a great idea, not only for conferencing with parents, but for student conferencing as well.

  2. I love the idea and want to do a spelling notebook but don't parents want to see their children's grades coming home weekly?

    1. That's a great point! In our district parents look up grades online. You could also make a copy to send home :)

  3. Love this idea!! Thanks for sharing....I'm curious how many notebooks you go through in one school year and if you use a larger notebook than the usual 70-100 page spiral?

  4. Thank you! That's a great question! We usually go through 1.5 normal sized notebooks. The kids love getting to the end of a notebook and seeing all their hard work in one place!

  5. I love the idea of having all their spelling papers kept in one place! I'm pinning to use this next year!

  6. I love this spelling notebook, but how do you manage to give all the kids their spelling test on Friday if they do not have the same words? Parent helper?