I am a believer in using a developmental spelling approach in my classroom. A developmental approach is a phonics based program that helps my students learn how words work in the English language. In our classroom each week we do a word study. This allows my students to look at the words and develop a deeper understanding of how spelling works to represent sound and meaning.
What does Developmental Spelling Look Like?
Our district uses the Macmillan McGraw-Hill Treasures reading series and the spelling component that goes with it. I use a lot of word sorts on the interactive whiteboard and in our interactive journals to help my students learn sounds, patterns, and the meanings of words. My word sorts are available to me through the reading series. In addition to our word sorts, we complete a spelling practice activity per day. They have several activities to choose from.
Each week my students are given 15 spelling words. Ten follow a phonics pattern that we focus on, two words are review words from the week prior, and 3 words are high-frequency words from the story that do not follow the phonics rule of study for the week. Each day students choose 1 spelling activity out of a mesh file folder that is filled with various practice activities.
For the spelling test, I have my students spell the first 10 words. I then give them a bonus word that follows this same spelling pattern. The students must then circle the correctly spelled high-frequency word. Lastly, they must circle the incorrectly spelled review word in each sentence and write it correctly.
We have been working on building our conceptual understanding and fact fluency through games. The first game I introduced to my students is called Sums of 10. This game encourages students to explore the number combinations that make a sum of 10.
Before play: remove all the jacks, queens, kings, and jokers. (I do this prior and have the needed cards ready in a zip top bag)
Players: work in pairs, or for a quicker game work in groups of 3 or 4
deal out all cards to players
on each player’s turn lay down a card on the work mat that makes a sum of 10
if you cannot make a sum of 10 match then you lose a turn
game is over when first player gets rid of all their cards
When I introduce a new game to the class I do so by playing the game against the class under the document camera. After a brief explanation of the rules and some modeling I give the entire class the opportunity to play the game with a partner. Only after my students are well-versed in playing the game do I put it in my math rotation as a center.
I just love hearing my students discuss strategies and number relationships while they play the game. The class has been playing this game for 2 weeks so now the students will reflect on the game in their math journals about the skills they have practiced and the strategies they used while playing the game.
Types of sentences are what we always study at the beginning of the year. We begin with making a class anchor chart. It always amazes me how much my students love making anchor charts. My charts are nothing much to look at but they get the job done.
The best part about studying the four types of sentences is creating candy punctuation sentences. As you can see, it is a delicious Friday afternoon treat and it really makes learning fun.
We used Brach’s candy corn, Red Hots, Smarties, and Tic Tacs to create our punctuation marks since I have a student with a peanut allergy this school year. You can also use the licorice pull n’ peel as a question mark but I did not know for certain if they were peanut free or not so went with Tic Tacs instead.
Okay… so that is not quite how John Cougar Mellencamp’s song goes but that is how I sing it in my head. Shortly after college the road of life led me back to the same small rural Illinois town I was born, raised, and educated in. I was a fresh-out-of-college-grad and put my application in at quite a few schools. Imagine my surprise when I was hired in my hometown district. This tiny town is the inspiration for my blog…Hometown Happy Teacher. This is where my story begins and why chapters are still being written.
A small glimpse at a few of Hometown Happy Teacher’s chapters…
My grade school has only two hallways and the high school across the street…one hallway!
My 2nd grade classroom is my childhood 3rd grade classroom.
My window to the world each and every day is a peaceful view of agriculture.
My 1st grade teacher became my colleague, mentor, and friend 15 years later.
I still pull out some vintage Spartan wear every now and again. Once a Spartan… always a Spartan!
I have taught 2 of my own 3 children. (Child #3 will be in 2nd grade this upcoming year!)
When I was in elementary school I didn’t enjoy reading or literature at all. Now I love to read! My master’s degree even has an endorsement in reading. My goal is make every child that comes through my door a reader.
My small town has a strong sense of community. They take pride in their strong relationships and shared values. When members of our community are ill, in mourning, struggling, or afflicted then each one chips in and helps out in every way possible.
My story continues. I have so many more chapters to write in my happy hometown and this pleases me beyond measure.