Dardanup Primary School has implemented a whole school approach to Spelling. All students engage in Spelling Mastery. Spelling Mastery, an explicit, researched based program endeavours to create confident, strategic spellers.
Spelling Mastery is an example of how staff and students demonstrate Visible Learning at Dardanup Primary School. Visible Learning and Teaching occurs when teachers see learning through the eyes of students and help them become their own teachers.
The highly structured, scripted program has straightforward lessons that make it easy to teach essential spelling skills and concepts. Each lesson is repetitive and takes a small step toward proficiency, building on repeated principles for long term understanding. Repetition, practice and correction have been soundly established by researchers as an effective means of instruction, leading to improved student outcomes.
Feedback is an essential aspect of Spelling Mastery and Visible Learning. Feedback is information about how the students are doing to reach their spelling targets. Teachers demonstrate feedback by being able to offer immediate, meaningful comments to students.
Formal and Informal Assessments give effective feedback to students and whole school data to teachers and administrators. They include placement tests, end of level tests and regular assessments with bonus activities. Informal assessments include spelling contests and challenge.
Spelling Mastery allows teachers to BE REFLECTIVE and have S.M.A.R.T. Targets. They are specific, measurable, ambitious, relevant, timely and evaluative. Teachers know where they are going, how they and their students are going and where they are going next. This ensures accurate learning intentions, successful criteria and goal setting.
Spelling Mastery has been in operation for six months at D.P.S. All agree that:
- We are seeing progress in our students.
- We enjoy the whole school planning, consistency and goal setting associated with the program.
- The program is evidence based and allows students to be visible learners.
Following is some feedback about Spelling Mastery Lessons:
Thomas, Year 1: I” like Spelling Mastery because I can spell ‘ what’, I couldn’t before.”
Ruby, Year 3: “It is step by step and I know what to do.”
Corey, Year 4: “It is a quick fix up if I am wrong.”
Saffron, Year 5: I couldn’t spell the little words and now I can. I am finding them easy and now I spell harder words.”
Teacher: “The immediate feedback given to students is a routine part of the lessons. Students expect and value it. They feel safe. They know what is coming next!”
Parent -Volunteer Instructor: “I think Spelling Mastery is great. The students are learning to spell. I like the oral component and the repetition. The students like completing the Bonus Activity Thermometers at the back.”
Parent -Volunteer Instructor:
“I love the repetition of Spelling Mastery. It is easy for the students and they don’t feel threatened. I love the fast pace of the lessons. I am looking forward to continuing through the year with my group.”
Teachers, Education Assistants and Parents are involved in the explicit instruction in Spelling Mastery that D.P.S. offers. The team work and whole school planning is a positive move. All stakeholders have a united vision about improving the spelling outcomes in our school.
Please pick up your Spelling Homework Booklet from your child’s classroom to enhance this learning initiative.