Tuesday, November 10, 2015

PALS Spelling Interventions: A Small Group Plan

If you take the time to give a test, take the time to use the information or don't give it. PALS Interventions are an important step in providing students with needed competencies. The spelling portion should not be overlooked.
In Virginia, we use the PALS (Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening) test as our universal screener in K-2.  PALS 1-2 contains sub-tests for spelling, words in isolation, and reading.  The spelling section is similar to the DSA (Developmental Spelling Assessment) as the scores look at certain features in the words.  However, we prefer using the DSA for grouping purposes and student placement.  Unfortunately, that means the PALS Spelling section is often ignored.

Ignored No More!
If you take the time to give a test, take the time to use the information or don't give it. PALS Interventions are an important step in providing students with needed competencies. The spelling portion should not be overlooked.

Using my Snipping Tool, I made "pictures" of the spelling results for the student in each group.  Once I made a sheet for each group, I tallied their weaknesses.  Each feature can have a total of 20 points. Having this tally chart helped me plan small group interventions.

I wasn't concerned about the beginning and ending sound tally marks.  All three of the beginning sound errors were a "k" for "c" substitution in the word "cub."  The errors were understandable and easily discussed.  The same for the final consonants:  understandable substitutions.  

The tally marks showed digraphs 13/20 features were correct.  Blends were correct only 4/20.  CVC words was the most correct feature with 16/20.  Nasals were very weak with 2/20 being correct. However, CVCe was the most weak, as none of the students in this group scored any points on this feature.  Although all the students have been exposed to blends and digraphs, they most likely didn't get instruction in these features in kindergarten AND may not get to these features in first grade ...so exposure is important.  Nasals and CVCe are not introduced until the end of Letter Name or the beginning of Within Word, but are still required at the end of  first grade on the PALS test. Giving them small group instruction and exposure to future feature will increase their ability to recognize the patterns in spelling.

Digraphs (13/20)
If you take the time to give a test, take the time to use the information or don't give it. PALS Interventions are an important step in providing students with needed competencies. The spelling portion should not be overlooked.

Digraphs sh, ch, and th are used in the beginning and ending positions.  Using a quick review with digraph cards can expose your students to these sounds.  We also have hand movements for each of the digraphs.  Of course, the /sh/ is putting the finger in front of their lips while they whisper the sound.  The "t" and the "h" are naughty when they are together.  They stick their tongue out and put their thumbs up.  Finally, the /ch/ is all about "ch-ch-chopping the chair" while they are using their hand to make a chopping motion.  

Blends (4/20)

Typically, blends are easier...so obvious reasons:  they can hear both sounds independent of each other.  One easy way to distinguish these sounds is a sort.  Students need to HEAR the sound before they should be exposed to seeing the letters.  I do take time with the affricates "dr "and "tr."  These sounds are so tricky to early learners. You know they put a "jr" or a "chr." I make sure my students know they should not ever write a "jr" and the beginning of any word...it just doesn't happen.  One of the teaching assistants doing this intervention has her students identify the beginning and then say what it isn't. "Tree" is "t-r," never, ever "jr."  I also talk about "chr" is found at the beginning of Christmas or Christopher and doesn't sound like a the "ch" blend at all.

CVC Words (16/20)
If you take the time to give a test, take the time to use the information or don't give it. PALS Interventions are an important step in providing students with needed competencies. The spelling portion should not be overlooked.

Practice, Practice, Practice.  There are lots and lots of CVC activities for early learners.  We discuss Stoplight Writing:  green is the beginning, yellow is the vowel (they can trick us, we have to slow down and take our time), and red is the ending.  We do CVC words in centers, in writing, and in word building.  Students need to read, decode, and compare CVC words. 

Nasals
If you take the time to give a test, take the time to use the information or don't give it. PALS Interventions are an important step in providing students with needed competencies. The spelling portion should not be overlooked.

Historically, nasals are a low scoring area for our school.  Students need explicit lessons with nasals, but also they need rote practice.  Here's a silly version of Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes that is about about the nasals.
Ang, ing, ong, and then there's ung. (Plug your nose.)
Ang, ing, ong and then there's ung. (Plug your nose.)
ank, ink, onk, and listen to the unk
Ang, ing, ong, and then there's ung. (Plug your nose.)

I know it's silly.

Finally, the CVCe
If you take the time to give a test, take the time to use the information or don't give it. PALS Interventions are an important step in providing students with needed competencies. The spelling portion should not be overlooked.

Teaching students to Flip the Vowel from short to long with the addition of the final e is a spelling feature they over-generalize.  After you introduce the silent e, they add silent e to everything!  One of the first lessons for CVCe, is matching the picture with the word.  

Small Group Lessons

Small group can be the perfect place to practice these spelling patterns.  Exposing students to quick word work and finding these features in their reading, can make the difference in the testing results...but most importantly, it was make the difference in your students reading and writing.

If you would like a sample of these Small Group Spelling Interventions, CLICK HERE! or click the picture below.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for the wonderful free picture clue charts! They are just what I need for my struggling students!
    Gratefully,
    ~Jennifer
    Stories and Songs in Second

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm glad it's what you needed, Jennifer.

    ReplyDelete