Wednesday, October 15, 2014

25 Super Spelling Activities (Plus 6 More!)

While we spend a lot of time learning through play (which I wrote about here and here), we also spend time on more "traditional" school activities. One thing that I work on a lot with First Sprout is spelling because I feel like spelling and word work provides the necessary "tools" for reading and writing. First Sprout loves to read and writes stories, but learning the steps has been a real struggle. This year, I really want to make sure that she gets a strong base knowledge of word building so that she can apply it throughout her journey as a learner.

With that in mind, I created a series of spelling lists featuring one common spelling pattern each week, progressing from C-V-C words (short vowels) all the way to long vowels. I also try to match our guided reading for the week to the spelling pattern that we are practicing. This provides a natural and effective way of reinforcing the skill. Thankfully, First Sprout is used to this approach to reading and word work from her time in private school last year, so it's easy for us to maintain the routine. She also really enjoys the sense of progress at the end of the week when she can spell her words and read the book; she is motivated to practice!
Number 21: Build the words with magnetic letters.

Today, I thought I'd share some of the ideas and activities we have used (or plan to use) for practicing spelling words...

25 Super Spelling Activities

1. Write or paste words into a Word Journal
2. Create flashcards with pictures on the front and the word on the back
3. Incorporate spelling words into a scenic picture
4. Write the words with vowels in red and consonants in blue
5. Use Elkonin boxes to visualize the shape of the word
6. Write the words in shaving cream
7. Trace words in a sand tray or on sand paper
8. Use PlayDoh or modeling clay to form words (or cut them out with letter cutters)
9. Paint or stamp the words
10. Write the words in the shower with bathtub-friendly crayons
11. Trace the words in a sensory salt tray or rice tray
12. On-the-back writing (Write a word-- one letter at a time--on someone else's back. Then, switch places and guess the word your partner traces on your back.)
13. Form the words using ASL Fingerspelling
14. Bounce a ball or yourself while spelling the word (one bounce per letter)
15. Elbow writing (Use the point of your elbow to trace the word in the air.)
16. Rainbow writing (Use three colors to trace over the word.)
17, Write a story (or sentences) using the words
18. Email a story (or sentences) using the words
19. Write the words on a real or digital scratch pad (We like this one for our tablet.)
20. Write with sidewalk chalk
21. Build the words with magnetic letters
22. Build the words with Tinker Toys
23. Do a Word Search or Crossword puzzle
24. Turn the words into a song
25. Have a good-ol'- fashioned spelling bee!

Plus 6 More!

26. Write the words in ABC order.
27. Trace the words on a homemade sensory bag (You can make one by filling a Ziploc bag with dish soap or hair gel.)
28. Build the words with blocks (Thank you, Heidi!) or letter tiles.
29. Spell the words while swinging (Each time the swing goes up, say a letter-- also thank to Heidi!)
30. Write the words as triangles or pyramids, with each row adding one letter of the word (Thank you, Aubrey!)
31. Turn spelling words into a math activity like this one from Teacher by the Beach (Thanks, Jen!)

Number 19: Use a Scratch Pad app for a tablet or smart phone.
I hope these ideas for practicing spelling prove fun and useful. I tried to incorporate ideas for all kinds of learners (visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic) since it is helpful to practice with activities that meet your child's learning style AND with activities that challenge their style as well. I'd love to get more ideas on what other teachers and families do for spelling with first graders, so please feel free to leave comments!

Happy Learning!

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