Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Freebie - A Trick to Help Your Students Learn to Spell

Do your students struggle to spell correctly?  Is it so bad they don't even remember to put vowels in their words?

My team has been frustrated with our students not using their resources to spell.  We have word walls, we have Quick Words (personal dictionaries kept in desks) and sometimes we brainstorm a list of words on the board.

And we still have horrible spelling mistakes!

But, they're only in 2nd grade!

I know, but I have to help them now.  I'm not requiring them to spell words like bouquet or theoretical, but words like was and they.  Those are words that should be spelled correctly!

After discussing with our literacy coach, we came up with a few strategies to help encourage correct spelling.

First - don't ever fix spelling mistakes on a kid's paper.  They will never learn how to spell it correctly if you always fix it for them.  Don't even circle the misspelled word.  It won't help.  You can point out which line has a spelling mistake, but they have to do the hard part to find the word.

Second - start praising those who are using correct spelling.  Almost to the point of over-praising.  Is that a word?  Over-praising.  I'm using it, so it better be!

So what does over-praising look like?

When my students are writing, I walk around and read what they've written.  I only read a few sentences.  When I see a student who has spelled every single word in those few sentences correctly, I say, "FREEZE!  Johnny is in the spotlight because he has spelled every word correctly!  Way to go Johnny!  Now, everyone get back to work."

Then I move on to the next kid.  I freeze everyone if all words are spelled correctly.  If they aren't, I tell them how many mistakes they have.

And now for the fun part.  I'm going to start handing out these spotlight awards when I spotlight them.  Super easy to fill out.  Just write the kid's name, the date, and the reason why they were spotlighted.

Then the kid gets to take the spotlight certificate home.  Before they do, they get to fill out the spotlight chart hanging up in the room.

Everything is in black and white so I can copy it on colored paper.

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How do you encourage your students to be better spellers?

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