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Spelling Practice- Yawn!

Author:  Vicki Jennings, UT

Grade Level:  3 (adaptable to other grades)


4.2.1 By the end of fourth grade, students will identify, describe, and apply knowledge of the structure of the English language and standard English conventions for sentence structure, usage, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
4.3.1 By the end of fourth grade, students will pose questions and contribute their own information or ideas in group discussion in order to acquire new knowledge.
4.4.1 By the end of fourth grade, students will gain information or complete tasks by listening.


popsicle sticks, chalkboard


As American as apple pie, the weekly spelling list is a "cornerstone" of education!  Admit it or not, we all use list (by choice or by administrative mandate), and drilling and practicing for Friday's test can be pretty boring.  The following are three ideas to use for spelling units in third grade.


1.  Write the spelling work on the blackboard.  As you point to each letter, have the students call out the letter... but not just in a monotone murmur.  If the letter is a consonant, the boys say the letter in a deep, husky, "football player" voice.  If the letter is a vowel, the girls call out the letter, using a high-pitched, "sweet young thing" voice.  Once the students get the hang of it, another step is added.  Not only do students call out the letters in the different voices, but they also stand up, then sit back down with each letter.  The drill gets everyone giggling.

2.  The whole class stands in a huge circle around the room.  Pronounce a work, then pint to a student who is to say the first letter, the next student (moving left or right) says the second letter, the third student says the third letter and so on, moving around the circle.  If someone goofs, that student is out and returns to hs/her seat.  Repeat the word, then continue with the next student in the circle.  The idea is to go as quickly as possible.  Other ways of getting out may include taking too much time, repeating out loud what has already been said, or asking for the word to be repeated.  It is a good idea to reward the final person standing.

3.  With students in groups of four, given each student a number: 1, 2, 3, or 4.  Before the activity begins, write each team's name across the blackboard.  Also have four popsicle sticks with the number 1, 2, 3, or 4 written on one end placed in a cup with the numbers down.  Pronounce the spelling word, then allow the teams 15-30 seconds to practice spelling the word within the team, making sure each member can spell the word.  Say stop when the time is up and bring everyone to silence.  Repeat the word and randomly choose a stick from the cup.  If the stick has, for example, a 2 on it , then all the 2's from each team come to the board and write the word below their team name large enough to be read, but small enough to be covered with their hand, awarding a point to each team whose member has correctly spelled the word.  By drilling each other, everyone learns to spell the word.  By not knowing  "who" from their team will be called on to spell the word, each person makes sure all of their fellow team members can spell the word.

ASSESSMENT:  Students will keep a "spelling" book that lists all the words that are new to them in the above activities.  Spelling Books will be reviewed weekly.