Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Spelling Fun

I'm not a keen fan of spelling, really I'm not. I think the whole idea brings back nightmares from my final year in private school when my teacher would hand out 22-25 words per week and daily we had to write 3 sentences per word. Yeah, I still shutter when I think about it.

I will admit that spelling is a subject I've never really focused in on with the kids before, and I've never ever purchased a curriculum for it either. I still don't plan to purchase a curriculum for it, but it's time to start giving some informal spelling words out each week. We've settled on five for now. Words that are repeatedly spelled wrong in the work the kids do.

This isn't a new way of teaching spelling around here, not in the slightest. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've mentioned various ways we've enjoyed teaching spelling before. Things like playing tic-tac-toe for the child who can read and eventually spell the word correctly, Hangman, Bug-a-Loo, etc. In fact, we're in the process (it's taken us long enough!) of reviewing a computer based spelling game/programme which we're eager to share here in the next week or so.

For our first week back to school I picked words I knew the kids could easily handle and only added in two words I figured they'd struggle with (blue & away). I had them spot on too.  On Monday's we have a pre-test just so I can see which words the kids need to focus on and which ones they can all ready handle. Blue & away both fell into the trouble spot. All though I had one child who had all the letters for away correct, but in the wrong order, and one who did the same with blue. It was interesting to see how they reasoned it out.

While finding our rhythm last week we didn't spend as much time focusing on the two words that needed our attention, and thus when Thursday rolled around last week and I asked the kids how to spell blue I got some jumbled attempts. I smiled and said, "I have an idea." Then I promptly grabbed a blue marker and wrote BLUE on each child's arm. Jayden thought it quite funny, but Morgan was a tad insulted. Funnier yet? I kept asking them through out the day how to spell blue and I noticed some sneak peeks at their arms.

This week we went back to one of our tried and trusted ways of remembering how to spell our words. I pulled out bananagrams and tipped the letters onto the table. I call out a word and the kids scramble to find the letters. It's not a race against each other. I wait until they've found the letters and arranged them until they are content. Then I ask them if they want to check their word, and when they do I show them the word properly spelled.

We still didn't have this word spelled correctly, but at least both children had all the right letters pulled out for it. We're making progress. Interestingly enough, both of my kids can spell words when called on or during games like this, but when we play Scrabble or they write stories or letters it's like a foreign beast has been turned loose! Morgan's also big on loving hidden words or crossword puzzles which is a great way to work on spelling. Unfortunately, I don't have a nifty little program that makes these kinds of puzzles up, so generally it's not a technique we use.


Hannah Hammonds said...

When I taught in New Zealand i use a book by Joy Alcott that I thought had good ideas for teaching/using spelling in the curriculum. You might want to see if you can find it. I think it would work well in a homeschooling situation and fit in with just a few words per week like it sounds like you are doing. Good luck with teaching spelling! I hated having to "teach spelling" too and do not have fond memories of it either.

schmobes said...

I have been eyeing the bananagrams, trying to come up with a creative way to use them for spelling. Thanks for inspiring me to at least use them!

Kendra said...

Hannah, Oo, I must go google the book to see what I can find!

Schmobes, we love bananagrams here and use it for spelling and reading with school. When the kids were using little readers I'd often have them spell out the sentences with the game to read instead.

Our biggest use for Bananagrams is when we get together with family and we pull it out and play for far too long. We even had a family trophy shaped like a banana going around to go with it for good fun. ;)