Monday, August 19, 2013


This post is specific to K12 curriculum for Grade 2.  However, the information can be used to spark ideas for any grade or curriculum spelling.

Tip:  Last year I really didn’t read all the details very well with spelling for 1st grade.  I thought it was pretty self-explanatory.  Needless to say, I didn’t get it figured out until MUCH later that they didn’t start spelling until 2nd semester.  Their focus is sight words for 1st semester.  Just an FYI if you haven’t gotten that far with your 1st grader’s materials.  When my 1st grader starts her spelling words, we’ll do this similar process for her also. 

Spelling Word Cards
Last year we took the suggestion of writing the words on index cards.  Definitely will do that again at all grade levels.  Partly into the year, I got smart and started writing the grade and unit number on the back of the cards.  So now I have Heart Words (sight words) and Target words (the words that follow the “rule” being taught) written out and ready to go, by unit…separated into index card holders, 1st semester and 2nd semester.  
Last year, I just didn’t feel very organized or creative with Spelling.  All the “cute” or "looks fun" ideas really just took too long for them to do.  Our time is precious and I really needed quick and easy spelling practice.  And to be truthful, spelling came very easy for both 2nd graders last year and they often took the route of just looking at the spelling word cards “saying, spelling, saying” them.  However, this year, I know the 2nd grader has a little more difficulty with learning spelling words so I want an organized way of handling it.  This is the sheet that is printed off for him.

If this is something that works for you, you can download it here.  2 pages...with or without the 2nd grade label.  If you would like something tweaked on this page to meet your non-K12 student, feel free to send me a message.  I’d be glad to tweak it for you and email you the new document.
So, what was I going for?  Short and sweet.   Something that after about a month into school, he will no longer need my instructions on what to do with his spelling words.  Variety?  How we build and what we use for sensory materials will vary so he’ll get a bit of variety.  ABC order…this is because I assumed the kiddos knew this last year and found out that most had difficulty with alphabetizing…even with an ABC chart in front of them.  So, this year…all kiddos will be practicing this weekly with their spelling word cards. 
Something we did last year that they thought was awesome (and me too…less tedious work!) was that if they passed their online review with no more than 2 wrong…they didn’t have to take their test on Friday.  It definitely motivated them to learn them.  Who wants to do spelling on “Free Friday?!”  It only happened on a handful of occasions and definitely spread out in between.  If they did not pass their spelling test…they had to practice them on the weekend and retake it on Monday.  MVCA is a "mastery required" program.  What that means is that all checkpoints, etc must be passed at 80%.

FYI:  For K12 online schools, every unit has a spelling review game online…if you are not a K12 family…you can use something like Spelling City as your online review.
A few ideas to get you started...

Sensory Tray Ideas
*  shaving cream
* hair gel
* fingerpaint
* salt (especially fun with rainbow paper underneath)
* thin layer of flour
* cornmeal
* sand (craft sand works best)
* playdough and letter stampers


Build and Write
* rubber letter stamps
* letter beads on pipe cleaner
* alphabet mini stickers
* letter cubes
* newspaper or commercial paper letters
* magnetic letters
* letter tiles
* foam letters

What on earth is "Spelling Word Introduction"?
 They have Heart Words (sight words), Target Words, Alternative Words and Challenge Words.  It really depends on the student how many words you use.  I decided early on our focus would be Heart Words and Target Words.  Preferably at 1st and 2nd grade level, I didn't really want more than 10.  

On Mondays, every child sits with me and goes through their words.  I love the "Target" rule of each unit.  Actively teaching them this rules helps them learn those spelling words more quickly!  And, of course, it helps them with spelling in their general writing.  Sitting with them helps us decide just what words they'll be working with that week.

I usually let them try to spell the word on the dry-erase board.  Depending on the child, I would have them verbally spell it and I would write it on the board so they could see it.  We focus on the spelling rule...finding it in every word and so on.  Then we sorted the spelling words...

I already know these.
These are a little more difficult.

If they hesitated in spelling, it went into the "little more difficult" pile.  That gave us our main chunk of spelling words for the week.  Sometimes I pulled in the alternate or challenge words, sometimes I didn't.  

I'd love to hear how others go about helping their kiddos learn their words!  3rd grade and up have an activity book to go with their words.  My 4th grader last year did NOT like it at all...but mom did. ☺  Yes, it took a little longer time to get through spelling but it went beyond rote memorization.  And as long as he used the "say, spell, say" technique every time he wrote the word down for an answer...he passed the tests just fine.  When he didn', he didn't do well on his tests.  The older kiddos are more than welcome to use the letter builders and sensory tray that is available that day/week if they wish to ALONG with their activity book.  ☺

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