Saturday, 14 November 2015

Activities for Using Spell-Write Online with Your Class

The essence of the Spell-Write concept is that spelling is a writing skill. We learn to spell to write, to communicate with clarity. Spelling therefore needs to be embedded into the classroom writing programme. The process is this:

  1. Students write lots anywhere and everywhere, not just online
  2. The words that give the student difficulty when they write go into their 'Words to Learn' List 
  3. The teacher needs to support and monitor this list to make sure the words are spelt correctly and are appropriate for that student (see previous blog)
  4. The student uses the online 'How to Learn a Word' tool to learn each word on their list at home and at school
  5. At the end of the week students test each other on the words from their 'Words to Learn' list
Alphabetical and Dictionary Skills.

There are lots of activities that can be part of the class reading, writing and spelling programme or just a fun and worthwhile five minutes before the bell using Spell-Write Online. These can be quick- fire activities with individuals in the class or with the class organised in small groups for a challenge. Here are some:

1. Find a word
Use the online alphabetical lists. Students find a given word. Have some words prepared in advanced that are at the reading level range of your students. Use words with different beginning sound Eg zebra, noisy, awesome, words that will challenge students to predict the order of letters in the word and the alphabet. Extend this to words that begin the same letter to learn about the order of sounds and letters within each word.

2. Print versus IT 
Groups or individuals use the book or  IT device. Challenge the students to find a given word and be the first to find the word. Record the results, Eg best to 10 or 20. Change the groups around and begin again this way everyone gets to be part of a successful group. Where are your students quickest, with the book or online?

3. Find a word that...
Find a word that begins with 'th', 'tr', 'tw' etc... Use Spell-Write Online and/or the Spell-Write book. Adapt this activity to a particular skill your students are working on. Extend this by asking "How many can you find?" or "How many are listed?" Then move to another skill.

4. Order 
This will work best when students can see the screen together. Open part of the list, Eg. pop to port. The challenge is for the students to predict the beginning letter of the word before the ones on the screen. Then the first two letters of the word, then the first three letters and finally the word itself. Now this activity is repeated with the words that come after the last visible word on the screen. Now move to another set of words.

5. Search 
Open the 'Groups of Words' section of Spell-Write Online. Have some words ready for the students to search for Eg Autumn, moment etc... Students race to find the word as individuals or in groups. Once the word is found they then have to explain why the word is in this category and the criteria for ordering the words in this list..

Keep the pace of these activities fast and achievable, but always light-hearted with success for all possible. The skill of the teacher will produce positive outcomes for everyone. Enjoy.

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