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Digital Spelling Tests

posted Feb 8, 2011, 4:23 PM by Kyler Pace
Are you tired of giving your weekly spelling tests orally every week?  Do you like hearing your students ask you to repeat every other word when they aren't paying attention?  You can use your iPods to create digital spelling tests that your students can take at their own pace, and you don't have to waste precious class time on spelling tests.

To start out, you will want to make a Smart Playlist that your spelling tests will go into.  See my post on creating Digital Fluency Portfolios for information on creating the Smart Playlist.  Name the Smart Playlist Spelling Tests (or whatever you want).  You should now see your Smart Playlist under Playlists in iTunes.

The next step is to make sure your iPod settings will allow you to efficiently sync your voice memos.  You will have to go through the settings on each iPod (it is a pain to start out, but worth it in the end) and make sure the music settings are correct.  These are the settings I have found to be most efficient:

Then, make sure you check "Spelling Test" under Playlists.

Now you are ready to record your spelling test.  Using the app voice memos, make a recording of yourself giving the weekly spelling test.  After you are done, sync your iPod that you made the recording on back to your computer or laptop that you use to sync your class set.  Your new recording should automatically sync and be viewable in the Voice Memos playlist that you see above.  

I have an iPod that I always use, and it is named Mr. Pace.  I can find my recording by looking in the Artist field, which is automatically filled in with the name of the iPod.  Next, I want to re-name the voice recording of my spelling test.  Depending on your spelling program you will want to figure out what works for you.  Each of my spelling tests goes with a story we read every week so I give the spelling test the same name.  

Right click on your spelling test Smart Playlist, and click on Edit Smart Playlist.

I had to do a little finagling with these settings, but here is what I ended up doing to get it to work.  Click on the picture to enlarge.

Now all you have to do is make a new recording each week for your spelling test, give it a name, and edit your smart playlist name to include the name you gave your spelling test.  The next year, all you will have to do is change the name of your spelling test, and it will automatically select the correct test.  Plug in your class set, sync, and voila!  You are done!  

Once you get the settings done, it works very smoothly and saves a ton of classroom time.  I have my kids take the spelling test for their morning work once a week.  Teach them how to pause and rewind if they need to hear a word again, and magically...your life is easier :)