Adventures in Spelling

15 April 2015

Do you teach spelling in your classroom?   Directed spelling instruction has long been a subject of debate.   When we give a weekly spelling list, the students seem to only be able to spell those words for that week.  Is it still valuable to spend time on spelling instruction?

The answer is yes!  The majority of the research out there suggest that students benefit from some sort of systematic approach to teaching spelling.  This means that they benefit from basic drill and practice and from learning spelling patterns.

What about "invented spelling?"   Invented spelling definitely has its place in the primary classroom.  We don't want to hinder our students' writing by expecting everything to be perfect!   Students should be encourage to stretch out words and apply what they have learned about spelling patterns to spell unknown words.  Students can always go back and edit their writing using classroom tools such as the Word Wall.

Throughout my years of blogging, I have often been asked if I had a resource of weekly spelling lists.  I did have one that my colleagues and I were no longer satisfied with.  My colleague, Janine Every, and I decided to work together to revamp our spelling sequence and list.  The result, our Words of the Week Packet!

You can grab our scope and sequence for FREE {here}.

This is what my focus wall looks like.  The words are from my Words of the Week Packet and the phonics posters come from my Sounds of Y center packet.  I have a literacy center packet for just about every phonic element we cover in first grade.

You can also....

Last year, I decided to try a spelling homework menu.  It was a hit and I continue to use it this year. My Spelling Homework packet works for five, ten, or twelve spelling words.  

For a freebie on how to do homework in a spelling notebook, click below!

Spelling centers are a great way to practice spelling.   I love to switch mine up.  Here are some of my favorites.  Click on the images find the centers sources.

The sand center is a freebie, that can be found in another post by clicking the image below:

I think the app above is called "Fire Draw."  I will check the iPads at school and update this post. 

You can find many more spelling centers in these resources:

Here a some spelling themed centers you can purchase from 

My favorite book to teach the students about invented spelling is CDB! by William Steig.  Here are the links to the other great spelling themed books:

During snack time, the kids ask to listen to phonics songs.   I go to my "First Grade Phonics" YouTube Channel and put on the phonics song that relate to our Words of the Week.  You can check out my playlist by clicking {here}.

Do you do spelling tests in your classroom?   The grades on spelling tests all depend if the parents are willing to study with the students at home.  Yes, some of your really bright students can get 100% without even trying and the centers in class really help with reinforcing the words.  Taking that into consideration, this year instead of calling it a Spelling Test, we are calling it a Words of the Week Challenge.  We don't expect 100% or 12/12 correct each week.  Our Words of the Week are challenging and we really want them to be able to decode them and learn spelling patterns.  A pre-test can give you a base score.  Then you can challenge the students to get 1 or more correct above their base score.   This is a great way to differentiate without having to give out different lists each week.  Another way to differentiate would be to assign some students half the amount of words.  In cases where the words are just frustratingly hard for the student to encode, you may want to make it a matching challenge.  Have them match the word to the picture of the word (my phonics packets all have picture word walls).  Or even for those with language difficulties, have them just identify the picture.  It really is up to you and your specific population of students. 

Here are some other great spelling resources by my blogging friends:

Rachelle Smith also has a great post on her Super Spelling Slipper Club on What the Teacher Wants you can find it by clicking here.

I am throwing a tax break sale in my store!

Thanks for stopping by I hope you found some useful ideas!   Here is a free poster on the spelling of "because."


  1. So many great ideas! Thank you for sharing!

  2. I so appreciate this post! Especially as we wrap up the year and see where we can improve for next. I downloaded the scope & sequence, too - thank you!! Jen

  3. Holy amazing post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, you rock!

  4. I loved your "Spelling Bonds" organizer. What a great way to think about looking at the words. It got me thinking in our district we do "word study" so all of the words are words with prefixes or suffixes. It would be awesome to do a spelling bond with separating prefix, root, and suffix from the word. The main get even be able to further connect how the prefix or suffix changes the root word, like a math equation. I teach 4th grade, but you wouldn't believe the number of kids spelling "whith" still! Awesom ideas and resources.

    1. "The main get" is suppose to be "They may even" ... The dangers of typing on your iPad lol

  5. I just found your blog on bloglovin, and I'm loving it!

  6. Oh my goodness, you have shared SO many amazing ideas here. That text message activity is so neat! What a good way to tap into what interests these kiddos. Thank you for sharing!


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