It’d happen every time I’d do writing assignments in my class. Every time. A little hand would shoot up like a light and utter the most dreaded words that ever pierced a teacher’s ear- “How do you spell…” whatever. At first you comply with that little light in the back of you head sparking thought of superhero-dom as you help your little learner to learn. Oh, but then the dreaded happens. You are bombarded by a gazillion other request for spelled words. The horror.
I used to spell them out loud (oh, to be a first year teacher). Then I wised up (so I thought) and started writing each request on the board. You know what started happening? My lower kiddos would just copy the board and stop trying to think. That had to stop.
So I moved on to post-its for each student. And then I realized I was a walking transcriptionist, writing words over and over. This, too, had to stop.
Then I realized, the bad spelling is the best learning! For my students who had a good grasp of phonics, I had top push them to try to sound things out for the sake of learning and opening up opportunities to use their chunking and blending skills. But for my lower students who were struggling with spelling already, I had to do more then keep saying “try your best”.
I decided to try a couple of different things. First I posted a more useful word wall with words the kids actually wanted to use. That worked wonders. I also placed at each table a simple picture-word chart that could be used across content areas.
It was awesome to see the progress. Better yet, it was awesome to see more independence. The icing on the cake was creating table sets in the classroom where students were very strategically placed in groups to support each other in different ways. Having students ask each other for help before coming to me increased the talking in the classroom, but it also increased the writing on the paper.
So , the three suggestions to stop you from having to spell all day:
1. Functional Word Wall (like the one here).
2. Individual/Table Group Picture-Word Charts (like this one).
Try one or all today!