Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: VocabularySpellingCity

I have been using VocabularySpellingCity for my spelling for awhile now but I was just using the free aspects of it.  When I had the opportunity to review the Premium Membership again I was thrilled.  I was thinking about getting it myself but trying to determine if I should.  After reviewing it for this last month I can say without a doubt I am glad I did. 

VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership offers so much than the basic program. Invaluable tools such as record keeping, progress tracking, student log in, and extra games and activities make it well worth the additional $29.99 a year.  As a parent trying to give her special needs student some independence the tracking tools are essential.

The thing I loved the most about VocabularySpellingCity is how easy it is to make and modify spelling lists.  We have a curriculum we are using for English that incorporates the spelling words with the grammar you are using so it is important to be able to make up my own list.  Making a list is super easy.  Once you go to create list you get to this page.  You start with 5 words and can add 1, 5, or 10 more words to the list with one click.  Then you simply title your list, select the grade and type your words in.

Once you have your list you get to choose from several options for which definition and sentence you want to use or you can add your own.  It is defaulted to the most common usage of the word so that step usually goes smoothly and quickly.  After that your list is ready to be accessed. 

Once you have your list you also have the option to print off handwriting worksheets that come in print, D'Nealian, cursive or sign.  You can choose to have the print small, medium or large, use capitals or lower case letters, align to the left or right and turn the arrows on or off.  I loved the ease of making these worksheets.  Gess is working on cursive but she still requires a large area to write on so I chose cursive with no arrows in large print.  Here is one page from one of her lists.  Notice how she got tired of cursive and went back to print.

The next thing I would do was to assign specific lessons to the student, in this case Gess.  The hardest part was picking what assignments to do.  There were so many cool activities that Gess would not be able to do them all in a week so I varied it from week to week.  The flash cards were a nice introduction.  They showed the word on one side then flipped over to show the parts of speech, how it was used in a sentence and stuff like that.  I liked that much better than the Teach Me option.

I believe Word O Rama was Gess' favorite game.  It was a great way to check her knowledge of the meaning of the word.

Letter Fall was a fun game too, but with Gess' special needs she sometimes lacked the motor skills to move the mouse quickly enough.  You are trying to catch the raindrops that spell your word.

One of the premium items that I really appreciated was the writing activities.  Gess struggles so much with handwriting so typing is a great alternative.  Now she can practice writing her own sentences and I get to see it and grade it myself in my Parent ToolBox.  I can give it a score, use an emoticon like a thumbs up, light bulb or smiley face, and make comments about it.  Then Gess can go to her records and see for herself how she did.

Another feature I love about the premium membership is the Teacher Resources page.  It has tons of helpful information from language arts video lessons to show your kids, helpful words lists, tons of articles and so much more.

The student needs to be logged in and working on a teacher list assignment for it to actually track the information but that was always easy for Gess to access and find as it is apparent across the top of the page.  I had to show her how to find it the first couple of times but after that she knew right where to go.  Otherwise we found VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership very easy to navigate and a great tool for spelling practice.  In fact I give all my tests here too since it saves me so much time and hassle!

VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership is $29.99 for an entire year.  This can be used with any student from K-12 grade.   It comes with many additions to the free basic program. Here is a chart showing all the additional features you get.

To learn more about VocabularySpellingCity visit their website or read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew by clicking on the banner below.


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