In the name of differentiation, offering an Enrichment Spelling list for students who can already spell the week's given words is an easy addition to any Spelling program. However, as soon as the words "enrichment" come out of your mouth, every parent begins to think that their kid needs the hard words.
One of my big goals is to keep things fair (and to have documentation to back me up), so I began giving a Spelling pre-test on Mondays. The little darlings write their attempt at spelling the words under "First Try" (see doc below). After the pre-test, we self-grade using a crayon. If they miss a word, they write it correctly in the second column.
If students miss 3 or less words from the list, they qualify for the week's enrichment words. This means that there is no set "smart" group; different students qualify each week, depending on how well they already know the words from the list. It takes the pressure off of me and puts the focus on the more important question: "What do the students know?"
An added bonus of giving a pre-test? Measuring student growth. Right now, I don't have a formal way to document their growth from Monday to Friday, but it is definitely in the plans. But that's for another day.
So, like I said at the beginning of the post - there is nothing earth-shattering here. In fact, I am willing to bet most (many? all?) of you do this in your classrooms already. I'm interested to hear how you make this work with your kiddos! Be sure to share your ideas below. :)
Here's a free copy of my Spelling pre-test paper in case you're like me and enjoy changing it up every now and again. Just click below and it will open in Google Docs.