Saturday, 23 July 2016

Spelling conundrum

I think the educator that comes up with the 'perfect spelling' program will make a fortune. I have tried everything over the last 32 years including making my own spelling lists ( like the author writes below) but I have been using a spelling program ( text book) by RIC books which uses a combination of high frequency words, word families and spelling rules for lists and some varied and engaging activities to for every list. I have always taught phonics sometimes up to grade 4 if required. I have never met a teacher who doesn't teach phonics although if you listen to conservative commentators you would think none of us teach it.
This approach seems to work for me but there is no doubt that some kids are better spellers than others and some approaches work for some and not others.

Personal reflection from Teacher Park

When we were first told that we would no longer be using spelling books with our students, I thought our principal was kidding... I almost laughed out loud. Good thing I didn't. because he was serious.. We were all stunned then almost fell off our chairs when he announced the following.

As of today, you will create your spelling lists as a team and add content words from your science, social studies and math classes.

We weren't happy but that could be another post that I may do later.

Teachers are having to create their own spelling lists these days. In the past, we had spelling books that reinforced word "families" and often had vowel and consonant sounds, the "ei, ie" rules and much more.

In my opinion, those spelling books were as an important as cherries on a NY style cheesecake. :)

They reinforced spelling patterns, sounds, blends and even definitions. Each unit spiraled to the next and all had review pages of the earlier taught units.

I decided that if we weren't allowed to use those lovely little spelling books, I would create activities to accompany spelling lists I assigned to my students.

My packet has 24 different worksheets that can be used with any spelling list and yes, my activities reinforce much needed spelling rules, vowels sounds, etc. 

Take a few minutes to ask your students what a long and short "A" sounds like. Or better yet, ask them what a soft and hard "g" sound like. EVEN better ask them to tell you what a digraph is or to name a three letter 
consonant blend! 

Ask them to explain the spelling rule "when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking". I had a student tell me that it's like when his mom and dad go for a walk... His mother never stops talking. I could barely keep a straight face.

I can almost guess that many of your students' responses will be puzzled looks, almost like you're speaking a foreign language...We need to bring back those important little spelling books!

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