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    Students Choosing Spelling Words
    By Apache42

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    I think Nancy Atwell is the guru you're thinking about. The way I understand and use her concept works pretty well.

    In a writer's workshop format, I spend a lot of time each week conferencing with students. As students prepare for their scheduled conference, they analyze their writing and list 5-10 words they are having trouble spelling or words they want to learn. (For example, they ALL want to use the word awesome, but rarely remember to include the first "e".) A peer who has conferenced with them, and who has caught some of their spelling errors also adds words to the list. We discuss the list, and I may add some of my own to it as well.

    As far as studying for their weekly test, I generally have them do the regular assignments: write the words 3 times each, use the word in a sentence. (I dictate what position in the sentence it must be, or what type of sentence they must write.) Write sentences that contain at least two of the spelling words in each sentence (with the stipulation the sentence cannot be of the type, "My teacher said I have to learn to spell _________ and _________.")

    Because I conference with different groups on different days, not everyone tests spelling on Friday but on their next conference date the next week. Another testing option I've used is to have a peer dictate their words for them.

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