1. First Teacher Pre Tests
We are starting with the Dolch List
of most frequently used words.
I am pretesting the children,
so that time is not taken up with spellings they already know.
I have stapled the Dolch List
into the Spelling/Free Writing copy.
I am also sending home an enlarged copy
of list of the Dolch List home.
You might find it useful to pop it up on a wall
somewhere at home.
I would suggest that the class levels at the top of this page
e.g. Pre Primer/2nd Grade are certainly American
and probably date back to the last century
when it was compiled by Dolch himself.
I don’t think it has any relevance to us.
2. Then she highlights the ones that need to be learnt
I have marked the misspellings from the pretests
on the photocopied page with a yellow highlighter.
I would like your child to learn five a night.
When they know them I would like them
to put them in sentences.
3. Then the children learn them
Understandably children often ask me
can they put their five spellings in just one sentence.
I would prefer them to write five sentences.
One sentence for each spelling helps practice punctuation
i.e. remembering that sentences begin with capital letters
and end in a full stop.
Also putting five random words in one sentence
can result in some very random sentences.
I would like the children to work
on the quality of the sentences they write
when they are practicing their spellings
and so avoid very simple sentences
like ‘I am funny,’ ’Where am I?’ or ‘I am here’.
A post about developing the quality
of these sentences will follow shortly.
When a child completes the Dolch List
they can do ‘free writing’ at this time instead,
for a period of time.
Reading the ‘free writing’
will be a good starting point for me
for establishing words
that are frequently spelled incorrectly.
These are the words that we will work
on when we have finished working on the Dolch List.
Spelling Homework in a nutshell:
Learn five of the highlighted spellings a night.
Use the approach to learning spelling
that you were taught last year
i.e. Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check.
When you are confident that you know the five spellings
write five sentences using each one.
Remember capital letters and full stops.
Good penmanship and presentation is also important.
Other homework this week:
The other homework this week is Mental Maths as marked
and reading one comprehension piece from
‘A Way With Words’
Scroll down this link for additional information
about a year’s plan for spelling here:
When planning for spelling this year
I came across this very helpful blog:
Thanking you, Teacher
And to finish:
a quote from Terry Pratchett:
“Nanny Ogg knew how to start spelling ‘banana’,
but didn’t know how you stopped.”
– Terry Pratchett, ‘Witches Abroad’
I found spellings hard at school and remember the feeling well 🙂
I think it would be helpful if I gave you, the parent an overview of the plan for spelling this school year. I hope no one is too disappointed 😉 but as an experiment this year we are dispensing with the workbook for spelling this year.
Why are we doing this in 2nd class?
We found that using a textbook was not efficient in helping us to reach our objectives. We found that we were teaching spellings that weren’t sufficiently relevant to the individual child.
Instead we will learn
– spellings from the Dolch List of commonly used words.
– words that are commonly mispelt by the children
e.g. ‘The gril laffed …’
especially words that sound alike but are spelt differently e.g. to, too, two.
We will supplement this work in class with exercises from ‘Jolly Grammar’.
To start with…
We will work on the Dolch list of commonly used words.
In theory if we study the Dolch list, there will be less of the children’s own commonly mispelt words to learn subsequently.
A pretest on Monday to start the week.
It will be helpful to the children if we give them a pre test at the beginning of the week. I begun this experiment in the last term of the last school year. I found that a pre test is motivating for the children.
They will find if they do well they will have less words to ‘learn’ for homework. In order to keep the ‘pre test’ simple and straight forward, the children are asked to write down the spellings in isolation (rather than in the context of a full sentence).
I will refer to this as a ‘pre check’ when talking to the children. I try not to use the word ‘test’ with them as for some the thought of a ‘test’ can be stressful.
To put the word in context for the child, it will be called out as part of a sentence but we will only want the child to write the one word. To engage the children, the sentences may be humorous.
Using the names of children in the class in the sentences also keep them interested.
In this way the fortunate children who find spelling easy and whose time would otherwise be ‘wasted’ are identified quickly. Instead they will do ‘free writing’ at the back of these same spelling copies and ‘have a go’ at writing stories. Teacher will find reading this ‘free writing’ useful, in order to identify their ‘commonly mispelt words’.
Learning the mispellings from the Pretest
We will staple a photocopy of the Dolch word list into the copies. We hope the children will learn to use a highlighter to mark the spellings they get wrong in the pretest/precheck and have to learn. In this way children are learning to take responsibility for their own learning.
I found this very motivating for children last year. The numbers having to do regular spelling tests/check ups quickly reduced by a third as the students saw that if they did well they could write a story at this time instead.
The learning from the Dolch List will be checked daily and we will prioritize mastering these commonly used words.
Dictation; revising the Dolch List using stories based on the list.
Then to revise the words from the Dolch list teacher will dictate a story which features the Dolch spellings to all students.
More challenging story based on the Dolch List: The Best Thing in the World
There will be opportunities in doing this to address a certain amount of grammar and punctuation.
Last year, at this point, as these spellings had been already learnt, I found the numbers of children who needed to write out these stories as dictation fell away by two thirds very quickly. These children spent this time doing ‘free writing’ instead.
This gave me the opportunity …
to work with a smallish group (ten or so) for whom spellings didn’t come easy. I found spelling challenging enough myself as a student, so I hope I have an understanding of children who find spelling hard.
We will try to make this group work, learning the spellings in class as pleasant as possible. They will be working in a group of children whose ability was similar, so they won’t be discouraged by the lucky children for whom spelling comes easy.
For homework they would be asked to learn the spellings
and when they had them learnt put them in an ‘interesting’ sentence
without needing to check back on the spelling hopefully.
From there we will move on to…
learning words that
– are commonly mispelt by the children
– sound alike but are spelt differently e.g. to, too, two.
This work will be supplemented class with exercises from ‘Jolly Grammar’.