I started something this year which has made a MAJOR difference in my classroom... word crowns. I use these crowns in two ways... for new words that we're adding to the word wall and to review words for the spelling test.
First, let me talk about the new words. New words get a fancy crown... like this gold crown below (from the dollar store of course!), or a crown with bunny ears, or a crown made from bulletin board trim.
Every crown has re-adjustable velcro in the back of it (you can kind of see it on the right half of the photo above). This lets me store the crowns easily and easily adjust them for different students from day to day.
There also a small piece of velcro on the front of each crown that I attach the word to... I figured this was easier than storing 100 crowns throughout the year (each with their own word) and it allows me to easily put a picture with the new word.
Once we introduce a new word, the student gets to wear it all day on their new crown The picture on the crown matching the one on the word wall and on the smartboard activity that we use to introduce the new word. This helps a lot with my ELLs!
In addition to the "Word of the Day" crown, we also have spelling crowns.
We have a weekly spelling test on Friday, so each Monday we announce the new words. I pick a student to be in charge of each word for the week. They then wear the spelling crown all week. We have a special bin to keep the crowns in when you're not wearing them so that they don't make the room a mess when we're not wearing them.
I have a second set of words in the same color on the easel to help with the students' memory. I know the words below are from a different week, but leave it to my children to take a picture of the easel when they're the technology helper!
In using these crowns, I no longer have a child tell me, "I didn't know that word was going to be on the test!" (despite it being sent home earlier in the week) and I have had amazing success on the spelling tests. The words above (too, by, with, but, take, was, this, some) are our sight words from last week and the lowest score on the test was a 98% (7/8 correct, plus 2 bonus words for spiral review). I think that's pretty incredible success on such difficult words in Kindergarten!
Update 8/5/12... I have finally made sets of these crowns available for sale with matching word wall sets! Check them out at TPT by clicking the pictures below!
What spelling tricks do you use with your students?