Many students enjoy and benefit from learning things kinaesthetically. I try to include lots of kinaesthetic options into our learning, such as smacking our spelling words with fly swats or throwing a squishy ball around during a discussion. Today we made our entire spelling list out of Alphabet Pasta!
I was first introduced to the idea of word clouds and the well-known website wordle a few years ago. ‘What a fantastic concept!’ I thought. A great way to create brainstorms in class and make them more interesting, and a great visual way to present lists. I could see that it would be useful during class discussions, spelling lessons and Humanities lessons. However, the wordle site is not very ‘kid friendly’- you cannot save your image, you can only add it to the database or print it. Most NSW classrooms are not privy to masses of colour copying, and unless you print it right there and then, it is very hard to find your word cloud again. Also, the gallery of images on wordle is not filtered of content and language choices, so if students were using it they could stumble across inappropriate word clouds.
Another popular site is tagxedo, a fancier version of wordle. Initially it seemed that it would have many benefits, but I found that this is a difficult website for students to manipulate.
Finally, only this year, I found a kid website with a basic word cloud creator – ABCya. This is a site for educational games and activities online. Their word cloud creator is perfect for students to use independently. You can SAVE your work or print it. The fonts are kid friendly and don’t have inappropriate names (talking about you- wordle) . The only improvement to the abcya word cloud tool would be to include the option of diagonal layouts.
Word Safari is a spelling game that has been developed by the website Room 108. Room 108 is a site for Primary school students and includes games, stories and teacher resources.
The great thing about Word Safari is that you can enter your own words, so it can be played with any spelling list and any grade level. Unlike some of the other sites that allow you to enter words, Word Safari creates an actual game, as opposed to an activity like a find-a-word or hangman.
The aim is to move the little boy up and down, clicking on the letters you need to create your word. Click the wrong letter and you get a cross, when all the crosses are filled the game is over. Also, if you hit a bird or other animal, one of your balloons pops. Pop all your balloons and the game is over.
I have used this game with students aged 6-12, and they all love it. Great for early finishers during a spelling lesson, as an online homework task, as a group task during literacy groups.
As part of my literacy groups I have a group that works on spelling activities, with their current spelling list. So what do they do each week? I wanted something fun, engaging, easy to organise, no hours of creating worksheets, simple to mark (if any) and independent.
After trawling the internet and thinking creatively I came up with these Spelling Activity Cards. The group gets the card and equipment, brings their spelling book and Voila! Ready made spelling activity.
There are 42 different activities, most able to be used with classes from Year 1 to 6. At the beginning of the year I use them with the whole class, as a modelling activity. It’s helpful to do this the week before they have to do it independently, especially with younger students.
Here are some images of some of the cards and students completing the different activities.
And here is a link to the actual spelling cards
Spelling Activity Cards
What other ideas do people use to practice spelling?