Monday, March 11, 2013

Learning Ideas: How do you spell that?

Back before the Big C body invasion, I actually went to work everyday as a Middle School Special Education Teacher.  I still have my job, but I am finishing out the school year on a leave. a teacher, I am constantly looking for new ways to engage my students in learning, and now, with the whole world at our fingertips, it makes it that much easier.  These resources also come in handy when I'm working with my kids at home and so, I thought I'd share some ideas and tools that some of you may find helpful as well.    Today, I'm talking about spelling.

Spelling is definitely not one of E's favorite things, however, he has made vast improvements over the past couple of years and has increasingly become more willing to practice.  At the start of the week when he comes home with his spelling words, I give him a pretest, and then he only has to practice the words he gets wrong; it's not necessary to practice something if you can already do it consistently.  If you spell something correctly, where is the room for improvement?   If you're incorporating usage into the equation, perhaps practicing all the words is a good idea.

My favorite online tool to use is a website called Spelling City.  Although you do have to pay to get all the functions of the site, there are several functions available for free, and you can customize it with your students'/child's word list.  There are spelling and vocabulary activities to practice with the same set of words. 

Something else I do is write the letters of the words on small pieces of paper and E has to put them in the correct order to spell the words.  (Doing these on different colors or with a different marker would prevent the words from getting mixed up.)

Some other activities are:

-Find and circle your spelling words in the newspaper.
-Cut and spell out your words using letters found in the newspaper.
-Use your spelling words to write a comic strip.  If you google blank comic strips and make sure you are on Image, you will get quite a few to choose from.
-Make a word search or crossword; there are many online.
-Look up the words in the dictionary, tell the page number, guide words, and/or definition of the word.
-Use the words in a sentence.
-Practice spelling the words using rice, shaving cream and/or sand.
-Use Wikki Stix to spell the words.
-Write the words with chalk (E likes to practice on the floor of the front porch).
-Classify your words (parts of speech, number of letters, etc.)
-Write in alphabetical order.
-Type your words on the computer.
-Write a story using your words.
-And the good Old Fashioned, write them 5x's each.  

And, by the way, spelling is NOT a sign of intelligence.  Although it irks many of us when we see something misspelled, it does not necessary indicate that someone is any less smart.  It merely means that they are a poor speller, or perhaps they haven't taken the time to learn some of the rules of spelling.  (I'm crossing my fingers that everything is properly spelled in this post. :)

My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.

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