Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spelling City

The kindergarteners and I made Spelling City today!

Last summer I heard Andrew Pudewa speak on spelling. He mentioned a teacher that he admired had a wall in her classroom for what she called Sound City with places to record words that they had learned in word families to help kids remember which words are spelled alike.  I thought that was cute, and maybe useful, and filed it away in the idea bank in case we needed it later.  This is the talk I heard, if you want to buy the MP3 download and listen to it.  Totally worth it, in my opinion. 

The spelling curriculum that the twins are working through uses the Ayres list of the 1000 most frequently used words in English writing.  They learn those in order (most frequent to less frequent), and since they're just getting started, the words are all fairly small and simple.  But they're not grouped in word families at all, and I noticed that Hazel and Charlie weren't necessarily noticing which words were spelled alike from day to day.  They're doing really well with the program regardless, but I thought this little exercise--taking some of the trickier words they're learning and putting them in groups with like sounds--might help.  

Here are some close ups of our Spelling City board. I apologize for the photo quality.  I cannot get good pictures in my mud room, no matter how hard I try.

Month Mountain, with the days of the week and the months of the year.  That "Day Hike" sign might be my very favorite part of the whole city. I crack myself up! Also seen here are the edge of Homophone Hill and the pond at the top of the Silent-E Stream.  Are live/live homophones or homonyms?  Whatever.  I can never keep homonym/phone/graph straight, so I just picked one for the label and we'll throw them all up there.  These kids are too young to care, right?!

I should probably have found a way to divide out the silent final E words into their different rules, but I just started writing them all in the pond, mixed together. Maybe we'll tweak that later. 

The barn on the farm will hold our words that use the /ar/ phonogram.  We're putting /ee/ words with the sheep and /or/ words with the horse. Don't laugh at my sheep and my horse!

The spellings of the sound /er/ are in this area.  I feel like I broke some cardinal rule by not using the /er/ phonogram sentence from Spalding--Her first nurse works early, but this is cuter. ;) Words with an -er go on the hill with "her flowers".  Words with an -ir and -(w)or are with the bird and worm.  Words with an -ear are in the sun, and -ur words are on the church. 

The largest part of the board is made up of houses on Vowel Team Parkway.  Pictured are the homes for oy/oi and ay/ai.  The kids wanted a train station and train for ay/ai, but I ran out of steam (pun, ha!).  Maybe another future tweak.

So, this will be a bit elastic as we change it to suit our needs and continue to add words, but I'm very pleased with our first draft!  Now, any bets on how long it'll take before someone gets mischievous and tears all that paper down?  I hope it's longer than I fear! I'd like to use this for a while! 

No comments: