Box of spelling tricks

28th November 2003 at 00:00
After a weekly spelling test, rather than writing out or transferring corrected spellings into a word book, my Year 34 pupils fill in an "Oops" card with their name, the date and the corrected spelling, fold it up and put it in our "Oops Box". This is a a large round box decorated with brightly coloured jungle animals. Next to it is a stock of cards, 8cm x 4cm, marked with the three rows to be filled in.

When there are five minutes to spare at the end of a lesson, a pupil is chosen to get the box. They pick a card and read out the name and the word.

The pupil whose name is read out has a go at spelling the word.

If incorrect, the class helps out and the card goes back in the box until it is picked again and spelled correctly by that pupil. If correct, the pupil puts the card in the bin and then chooses the next card.

I also use this system when marking - if a spelling is incorrect, I write Oops! in the margin and underline the word. The pupil will then put the corrected spelling in the box.

This classroom tool offers many benefits: increased interest in spelling; less anxiety and demoralisation over weekly spelling tests; the opportunity to work together and learn from each other's mistakes; less teacher time spent checking corrections.

Sylvia Verinder, Year 34 teacher, Newbottle and Charlton Primary School, Northamptonshire

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