Recently I shared with you a great FREE program I was able to review called BigIQkids. Not yet having my own spelling program, I was excited to have found something to use. I am really loving it and found it to be an excellent resource. You can see some of the activities it offers in my TOS Review: BigIQkids post. Gess has really found it fun and helpful.
Now I wanted to share with you some other activities we use to supplement what we do on BigIQkids. We basically do spelling twice a day. We typically do our BigIQkids spelling on the computer in the morning and in the afternoon we do other hands on activities with those same spelling words. Here is how a week would look for us.
In the morning we will do the introduction to spelling activity on BigIQkids. This gives her not only the word and how to spell it, but the definition, how it is used in a sentence, and also shares the synonyms and antonyms of those words.
In the afternoon she copies the words in her spelling notebook. I took a spiral notebook and each week I simply write the spelling list for that week and have her copy the words on the same page.
In the morning she will do another activity from BigIQkids. Hangbot is a good one for the second day as it allows her to guess the letters in the word without them having to actually be in order.
In the afternoon we will use the words in a sentence. I write the word on the board and ask her to use it in a sentence, then I write her sentence down. This is a good way to see if she knows what the word means. You have to be careful and make sure that they don't just spew out the sentence that BigIQkids uses. If I hear the exact same sentence, I try to have her make another one to make sure she understands the meaning of the word.
In the morning we do more activities on BigIQkids. The word scramble is another favorite one of ours.
In the afternoon we will look up the spelling words in our dictionary. I bought these dictionaries years ago from someone selling them door to door. They are called My Fun With Words and are really visually appealing. Now you will not be able to find every spelling word in this dictionary, but that's alright as only choosing about 5 is better for my daughter's attention span anyway. This not only enforces the spelling word and it's meaning but teaches the child how to use a dictionary. This is Gess' first year doing this, and it's going rather well. Sometimes I find her just reading through the dictionary which is really cool.
In the morning when she logs onto BigIQkids I have Gess take the spelling test, but I am sure to explain to her that this one is a practice test. I want to see which words she is still struggling with.
In the afternoon I will take the words she has gotten wrong and have her spell them using her magnets. (Again it becomes too tedious doing every word so I limit it to only the words she is struggling with.) I showed you how we used letter magnets back when Gess was first learning to spell. Well, they still come in handy. I think putting her hands physically on the letters is helpful.
Before I have her spell the words though, I take the words she spelled incorrectly and explain to her why she got them wrong. I then write a sentence enforcing the correct way to spell the word, have her read the sentence and then write the word the correct way. For instance in the word chain she forgot the letter i or wrote it in the wrong place. I wrote, "the word chain has an i after the a" and then she would write the word chain. Below is a sheet we did one week. You can some of the examples there.
Once we finish this worksheet we are ready to spell the words with magnets. I am careful to have the tiles already lined up alphabetically so it was easier for her to stay on task. If they have to spend too much time finding a letter they might get distracted and that could cause them to make a mistake they might not otherwise make. As our speech therapist says, "set them up to succeed."
In the morning she takes the spelling test on BigIQkids, however, if she gets a perfect score on her practice test we will not do this one today.
In the afternoon I give her a written spelling test and have her write the words on paper as I say them and use them in a sentence. I find it really good to give both the test on the computer and on paper because it helps me to see how consistently she misses a word. Sometimes you will find it correct on one test and wrong on another. That tells me that she may know the answer in her head but she may be losing it as she has to "think" about how to write and/or type it. Maybe she meant to type or write the letter i, but just forgot too. That sort of thing.
After all these activities Gess usually does a pretty good job on her spelling tests.