NO Stress Spelling

Getting my little kiddos to THINK about spelling patterns in words is BRUTAL no easy task.  Many times they are rushing during their writing activities to "just get through it" and refuse to take the time to use the different strategies that I teach them to help them write with conventional spelling patterns.  This makes me a bit crazy unsettled.  I know that I can't expect them to spell correctly all the time.  However,  I do want them to use their strategies of stretching out words or listening for chunks and endings on the words they want to write.  Applying these skills should be a daily, if not a minute-by-minute occurrence during any type of writing activity.

There is ONE very important tool that I use in my classroom, every day... ALL DAY... and that wonderful tool is our Word Book!  This little book is a godsend!  I have been using this word book for the last twenty-two years that I have been in second grade.  It has been updated throughout those years  with new words and of course, cute clip art to be more appealing to my kiddos.  Our Word Book is our GO TO TOOL in my classroom.  It is on their desk during EVERY SINGLE THING WE WRITE...with the exception of their spelling tests ;) How many times a day do you hear, "How do you spell...?"  Those words make me twitch a little, but by the end of October I NEVER HEAR THEM AGAIN...yes... you heard me correctly!

I introduce our Word Book the third week of school.  I like to take the first few weeks of school to authentically assess their spelling skills, so I allow invented spelling the first couple of weeks.  It gives me a very clear picture into my students' strengths and weaknesses as spellers.  During the third week of school, I introduce our Word Book to the whole class.  I explain that it is the most important tool they will use in our class, next to their brain, of course :)  I explain in detail how to utilize our word book.  

When my students need to know how to spell a word, they must first S-T-R-E-T-C-H out the word by listening for the sounds they hear in the beginning, middle and end of the word.  Now that they have an idea of a few of the sounds in the word they need, they open their Word Books.  They turn to the correct page and begin to move down the list focusing on each of the letters they "hear" in the word they stretched out.   This skill definitely takes some practice.  But we practice it A LOT over the next couple of weeks.  If they cannot find the word in their Word Books, which does happen, they will raise their hand and put up a Number 2 using their fingers.  That means "I need a word in my Word Book."  I will either call them over to my desk (if I am working with a group), send them to my "student helper", or I will go to their desk and write it in their Word Book.  As the year progresses, and they become comfortable using their Word Books, I will write the words they need on a post-it note and they must transfer the word into their books.  This just gives them additional practice using and writing the word.  Never again will you hear those words  "HOW DO YOU SPELL...?" and you will thank me to the clouds and back :)  By mid-year there are so many words that will have been added to their Word Books, the need for words decrease as the year progresses.

This is what our Word Book looks like.....

If you would like to take a look at the Word Book that I created for my kiddos, please check it out by clicking the image below....

Thanks so much for stopping by..... Here's to STRESS-LESS SPELLING!!! :)