SP - Placement, year 1 + later years

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
Julie in MN
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Re: Spelling Power Question

Unread post by Julie in MN » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:00 pm

Kinda fun sometimes to feel so successful, and other times you might decide, as Crystal mentioned, that you'd like to let go of the spelling for now and use the time to work on something else. My ds did the placement tests each year but otherwise didn't need spelling until 7th grade, when he started reading science words and such that his friends didn't use :) Before that, he would have been placed at a level where he was learning to spell words that he had never heard and I wasn't sure he would retain them. I was glad to spend more time on writing, instead.

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
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Cyndi (AZ)
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Re: Spelling Power Question

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) » Tue Jul 26, 2011 11:04 am

Misty - I highly recommend calling the MFW office with your SP questions. It is not unusual for a young child to test higher than they need to be. My dd easily tested into level F when she was a 6yo second grader. Long story I won't tell. But the office has helped me with a plan for teaching spelling over the years now that has worked well for us. HTH.
2018/19: US1877
used MFW from K through WHL

cbollin

Spelling Power Help needed

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:28 am

LuvMyKids wrote:I have used spelling power for 2 years and I am just starting the 3rd year. The first year my daughter was studying levels G and E. The second year the placement test had us in level H. This week I did the survey and placement tests for this year and she is back at level E. I don't know what to do. She just went backwards 3 levels. This tells me that retention is not there or there is a focus issue. Has anyone else had this happen? What Should I do? Do I keep moving on with level E again and review it all? She HATES spelling time so I don't want to make it worse.

And just for reference, when she does the standardized testing (which is how we fulfill our state requirement) she always tests well beyond grade level in spelling, so I know she can spell well if she tries...
I think the placement test can have some flaws in it when used by a student who has already done the program for a while. I had a child who did the placement test every year and no matter her grade or age, it said to start in level D. Retention wasn't the issue. I've heard of people whose children know the words on the test, and then place too high in the program and it's too hard and creates issues....

What grade is your child? what age? how is her spelling in everyday writing? is she struggling with most words, or just certain kinds of rules?
When I observe students on SAT-10 achievement tests, I notice most of that testing is about recognizing if a word is wrong.

what does your child do when she is editing her own papers? can she see her mistakes and have a method to correct them? does she have strategies in place to figure out how to spell something?

-crystal

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Spelling Power Help needed

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:19 am

cbollin wrote:What grade is your child? what age? how is her spelling in everyday writing? is she struggling with most words, or just certain kinds of rules?
...
what does your child do when she is editing her own papers? can she see her mistakes and have a method to correct them? does she have strategies in place to figure out how to spell something?
I'd like to know the answers to those questions, too.

I'm also thinking that you don't need to do a placement test each year. I'd just continue where I left off last year. Placement tests only have a few words for each level, so missing one can make too much of a difference for my comfort. It might just be a particular word on there that isn't one she knows or whatever. I remember monitoring a standardized test (Iowa Basics) where the word "interstate" was used, and assumed to be an easy one, yet none of our Minnesota kids had ever heard that word before (MN kids typically know the word "freeway").

Testing results that go up and down can also reflect a child's growing vocabulary and understanding of spelling rules, so that a once-memorized and familiar word can become muddled among many as you over-think these things. And of course as you mentioned, there are the changing attention issues as kids go thru different stages.

Just some more thoughts to ease your mind.

And if you want "more work," then Spelling Power has a very long list of activities that she can do with her words.
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
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LuvMyKids
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Re: Spelling Power Help needed

Unread post by LuvMyKids » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:44 am

My daughter is going to be 9 this month. She is different grades based on subjects (as I suspect most homeschooled children are). She is in about 4th grade math but high school reading. Her vocabulary is quite high for her age. I ran an experiment today. Earlier this week I had done Survey test B with her since I realized I was always doing survey test A. So, I did survey test A with her and she now scores where I would have thought she would. It does seem that there is some discrepancy between the two tests. Even my husband pointed out that test B has some "tricky" words on it with many more silent letters.

Julie, last year I did not redo the survey test and just started where we left off from the previous year. But, being my little bookworm, I found that through all her summer reading she had grown so much in her vocabulary that the spelling words were now too easy for her. She never missed a word on the pre-test. Then I re-read the instructions in Spelling Power and found that we were not supposed to just start where we left off and I found that she moved up two levels... so perhaps this is part of the issue.

I am not certain what to think on this one. Now I have two tests showing two levels and I am not sure where to start for this year. No matter where I start she cries and says she HATES spelling. If I pick a level too easy for her I get less tears but then she really does not get challenged and does not learn anything.

Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Spelling Power Help needed

Unread post by Julie in MN » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:58 am

LuvMyKids wrote:No matter where I start she cries and says she HATES spelling. If I pick a level too easy for her I get less tears but then she really does not get challenged and does not learn anything.
When my child is reduced to tears, I usually take a break and do a game or something instead of the subject (as long as it isn't a character issue but a true overwhelming). If it was spelling, I might play Boggle or Scrabble or Hangman or something. Then when we ease back in, I will discuss with him the learning goals and methods (goal to learn to spell harder words, methods are a combination of testing and hands-on, and not to waste time studying words you already know; etc.). Then I may open it up for him to request alternative ways of meeting the goals. Sometimes I find that there is just one tiny facet that we can adjust.

Another thing I've done is to write out an observation of my student so I can see where his strengths and weaknesses are, and make a plan myself. For instance, I decided to have my son kept a little phonics/spelling rules notebook over the years, and when we hit something important, we'd make a page with example words (it wasn't long, just several pages a year). I've heard of others making their own dictionary of sorts. I like some of the Spelling Power activity ideas, too.

Maybe you've done those kinds of things already, but just thought I'd share. My kids didn't actually do a lot of spelling because it wasn't a weak point for them, but they had other subjects where we did these kinds of adjustments.

Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

LuvMyKids
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:13 am

Re: Spelling Power Help needed

Unread post by LuvMyKids » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:27 am

Julie in MN wrote: When my child is reduced to tears, I usually take a break and do a game or something instead of the subject (as long as it isn't a character issue but a true overwhelming). If it was spelling, I might play Boggle or Scrabble or Hangman or something. Then when we ease back in, I will discuss with him the learning goals and methods (goal to learn to spell harder words, methods are a combination of testing and hands-on, and not to waste time studying words you already know; etc.). Then I may open it up for him to request alternative ways of meeting the goals. Sometimes I find that there is just one tiny facet that we can adjust.
I have done this sometimes. She sometimes prefers to spell out loud as well and I will allow that sometimes too. However, after we do the new activity for a while there is never any "easing back into it". There is begging and gnashing of teeth about returning to spelling. I am almost at a point where I wonder if there is a better way for her to do spelling all together. I am not sure if I should try to continue with this one or if it is time to look for alternatives for her.

cbollin

Re: Spelling Power Help needed

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:44 am

ok.. that helps to help you think a bit... knowing her age ..

She is 9. If she is at level E that is a word list usually associated with students who are older...It goes past so much more than speaking vocab or reading level... it's age...... . It is one of many things I dislike about Spelling Power with the grades and placement advice. sigh...
Using a word list that is too high can create a lot of stress at that age and you're seeing it. ((Hugs))))
The same rules are in the book at lower levels with words that you can practice more easily to feel confident in applying them. The objective is to teach the spelling rules, not to stress out using them with too hard of a list. Think of it as learning how to do art or music or even dance. you start with basics rules (steps), start with smaller projects.. build up. If a student places too high, and you learn basic rules and then a very complicated dance routine...well.... it creates issues.

I think it is the placement test that is has too many flaws. .. if she placed into G at age 8, that was way too high for her age. Or she didn't need to be doing any formal spelling rules. Spelling Power is supposed to be about learning rules of spelling and done in a way to practice those rules without a lot of stress. 5 minutes on the word list. that's all... learn 3-5 new words a week at this age. It is there to reinforce all of the phonics taught when learning to read.

here are some ideas from a stranger on the internet. Pray about them

I think personally for the age she is... back off for an entire semester from any formal spelling given that she is at "level E". I think the expectations of the advanced word lists are creating more stress than benefit to using those words to learn a few spelling rules. Instead, do spelling through copywork and dictation only. I wouldn't even buy a spelling workbook right now.

you might print out a list of some spelling rules.. and keep them nearby for use while writing, copywork, dictation. Here are some easy ways to do this
http://www.lewrockwell.com/taylor/taylor143.html
http://www.dyslexia.org/spelling_rules.shtml

ps:I wasn't going to say this originally, but I will.
Spelling requires a very different set of skills than reading. So if she is at high school reading level, that doesn't mean that when it comes to writing and spelling original thoughts that she will be above 9 years old in ability.

Yes, I agree a different approach is needed. I think the approach is backing off as spelling as a formal subject for a while. go with dictation, copywork... use the techniques in SP for learning a rule that she struggles with. Help her to learn to edit.


-crystal

LuvMyKids
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Re: Spelling Power Help needed

Unread post by LuvMyKids » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:30 pm

Crystal and others,

Thank you for taking the time to walk through these thoughts with me. I am glad you pointed out that reading and spelling take different skill sets. I often assume that because she can read so well that there are many, many other things she should be able to do at that same level just because she can read it. The other obstacle in this issue is my own personality. I am a person that feels you must finish every book, you must check every box and you have to follow every suggestion. I am getting better but it is taking time and my daughter, who is my oldest, is stuck working with me through this learning process in myself. So, I did some thinking based on ideas presented here and I am going to sit down with my husband and talk about the following idea: Rather than use a spelling curriculum we are going to incorporate some spelling games at least once a week. Then I am going to watch her writing and other subjects for misspelled words. I will keep a list. When the list reaches 10 to 12 words we will study them and test on them. She is ahead of the game so I just need to convince myself that it is ok to slow down and not charge ahead further. In the spring I will download the spelling list for the spelling bee that our co-op uses and we will go over those words since she will be in a new level on those this year.

If you have any more advice or see problems I may have with my projected plan please let me know. Thank you all for your help.

Jackie

cbollin

Re: Spelling Power Help needed

Unread post by cbollin » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:56 pm

I think your plan sounds good for the regular everyday spelling with games, and individualized lists based on what is hard for her. then study in spring for spelling bee with spelling bee ways (which I don't know what those are.. but those kids are skilled!)

I know I had the same issue with the reading/spelling/writing level differences with my oldest. It was just different skill sets going on. and it was a learning process from me as well. been there... ok.. sometimes my oldest probably thinks i'm still there. :-)

-crystal

Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Spelling Power- placed in the same level, again

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:22 pm

kugoi wrote:My 14yo and I decided she still needs to do spelling this year for 9th grade. Last year, her first year with SP, she placed into group G, we went through it all and started on group H before the year ended. We just did a new year placement and it placed her in group G again. should we do it again?
Well, some of us don't do placement tests each year but just keep going forward. It's always an approximation, since the random word might be one she particularly didn't know. Here are a variety of answers on that: http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 401#p47442

I'd also take a look at the specific words she missed. Sometimes there's a word that's unfamiliar to a particular child, such as the time I was moderating a standardized test with a bunch of little Minnesotans and it used the word "interstate" (which we call "freeway" here). Isn't there an alternate test that you could try, as well, as I recall?

Since it's been a while since we did a Spelling Power test (and we basically only used the placement tests, since my ds was a good speller), I looked back to my old posts to prompt my memory. Here's one:
Julie in MN wrote:As the words get harder, more and more of them are unfamiliar and even unusual or out-of-date. And the skill set becomes very broad yet only a single word may be selected for the test.

I sometimes have worked with the placement tests a bit to make them more useful to me (whether I'm using the Spelling Power test or any other spelling test I happen to have). I have expanded the test, swapped words with the alternative test, changed to a different form of the same word, and so on. But if you're already using the program and already doing weekly spelling tests, I wouldn't even bother fiddling with the placement test.
I know one other thing I did around 7th grade was start using science vocab for spelling/vocab, so he was learning the meanings -- and using them -- when he got to words that weren't in his everyday vocabulary.

HTH,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

kugoi
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Re: Spelling Power- placed in the same level, again

Unread post by kugoi » Thu Aug 22, 2013 6:27 am

Thanks :) I debated about even giving her the placement test, but last year, my son actually skipped two whole levels with his placement test b/c his spelling had improved so much just from reading. I think we're just going to continue on with Lvl H and not do G again. Most the words she struggles with are reviewed anyways.
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Ohmomjacquie
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Re: Spelling Power- placed in the same level, again

Unread post by Ohmomjacquie » Mon Sep 09, 2013 8:10 am

we started with A last year and were in B by the end. Tested for this year and starting in B. We're moving quickly through the first few groups since she knows most of them. there have been a few she needed to practice so I figure it's good to go through and have the review. She is getting most of them right so far only missed 2 each day. Once we get further in i'm sure we'll slow down again.
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MelissaB
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Re: Spelling Power- placed in the same level, again

Unread post by MelissaB » Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:53 pm

kugoi wrote:Thanks :) I debated about even giving her the placement test, but last year, my son actually skipped two whole levels with his placement test b/c his spelling had improved so much just from reading. I think we're just going to continue on with Lvl H and not do G again. Most the words she struggles with are reviewed anyways.
That's what we would do, too. :)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
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"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4

MelissaB
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Spelling Power

Unread post by MelissaB » Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:51 am

baileymom wrote:Do you re-test and start fresh at the beginning of each school year? Or pick up where you left off?
We pick up where we left off. :)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4

Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Spelling Power

Unread post by Julie in MN » Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:26 pm

I think most homeschoolers are like Melissa and just keep going - especially those who school year-round.

The Spelling Power book suggests using the placement tests at the beginning & end of the school year (or once per year for year-rounders). In my very ancient book, it's discussed in the Teacher's Manual section, chapter 2, pp. 16-17, "How to determine placement level," in the first part that talks about Survey Tests & Forms A/B.

Personally, I think the placement tests are so short (only a couple words per level) that they won't give you as much info as you would get from just going to where you left off.

I would look them over and use my own judgment about their usefulness for a particular child. It's possible they could help with...
1. record-keeping,
2. assessing the need to go back and review at the beginning of a new school year,
3. noticing an advancement in skill, possibly skipping a couple of levels, and/or
4. encouragement and "proof" of progress?

HTH,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

romans8x28
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Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:35 am

Re: Spelling Power

Unread post by romans8x28 » Wed Jun 10, 2015 3:01 pm

I will probably back to the beginning of the level we were on or right after the last review section we did. This will only be our second year with Spelling Power, so our first time to restart, so take my opinion with a grain of salt!
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2011-2012 - K-1st Ed.
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