Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spelling Project

If you have been reading my blog the past few weeks, you already know that spelling has been a thorn in my side.

We were using All About Spelling and I have nothing but good things to say about that program. It is fantastic. However, Magnus was not absorbing the rules like I had hoped. And I will admit, I may not have given the program enough time, but I just needed to try something different. I do think it'll be a perfect fit for Thane when the time comes.

Then, I thought to give Spelling Power a try. I liked the looks of it and the idea of only studying the words the student doesn't know. But, then my charter school approached me to check out a different program they are looking into providing. That is where Phonetic Zoo from Institute for Excellence in Writing comes in.

I was a little apprehensive in trying this program since it is recommended for grade 3 and up. After watching the DVD Spelling and the Brain and the How To Use This Program DVD, I was a little more comfortable with the idea. So, we started it this week.

I introduced Magnus to the rule and to the animal card the rule applies to. I explained it to him and we went over some of the words on the list. I set him up with headphones and he completed the lesson. I would like to say that it was perfect and he didn't fuss at all. It was a struggle. He does not like the guy's voice who says the words and sentences and the guy's reading went too fast for him. Apparently this is a bit of a problem for most students when they start the program. However, I think I have won him over. I purchased a MP3 player for him to use for spelling (and other recorded school materials). I am also letting him choose 2 different colored ink pens to use...one for his lesson and one for correcting. It's the little things.

Also, we started our own "Sound City". It is a concept that Andrew Pudewa described in the Spelling and the Brain DVD. The idea is to create a city of sounds on paper that the students can refer to and add to. It'll work well for the visual/spatial type learners. I think our pics will give you the idea...

This is our "zoo". In here is where Magnus is going to place his small phonetic zoo cards with the pictures of the animals on one side and the rule on the other. I have encouraged him to take the card from the zoo and read the rule as often as he would like.

Here is the "playground" for our city. Here is where we write the words that follow the rule: "when 'a-y' says 'a' as in 'jay & portray', it comes at the end. See 'decay and delay'."
"Playground" may not have been the best word to choose, but he understands that "play" is the root word or the first word in the compound word so it actually does follow the rule.

Here is Sound City's "Train Station". This follows the part of the rule that says:
"When 'a-i' say 'a' as in 'claim & chain', it comes in the middle as in 'train & pain'."
Again, not sure if "train station" was a smart choice due to "station" having the long 'a' sound and it not following either rule, but it's alright.

The tree you see to the left will be used for words that have the long 'e' sound and are spelled 'ee' as in 'tree'.

The rest of the rule is as follows:
"Don't let suffixes betray you as in 'decayed'. The root never changes. See 'playful & played'."

The boys were both very excited about this on going project. I think the key to keeping their interest is letting them "own" it. I will help them come up with the parts of our city, but I am going to let them draw them. This is hard for my perfectionist tendencies.

Anyhow, I will post more pics of our sound city as we do more!

1 comment:

Just some guy... said...

Cool! I think that spelling program would have been good for me as a kid. Hope it will be good for your children.