Making spelling tests fun

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
Spelling tests are understandably hated by weak spellers. These children can use a variety of learning techniques and yet still struggle to remember spellings.

Here is a strategy for Year 7 and 8 children to put fun back into spelling tests, while providing reinforcement of correct spellings and monitoring children who need support.

Divide the class into two teams. Take two children, one from each team, and give them a whiteboard marker.

Ask the two children to stand on opposite sides at the back of the classroom, the same distance from the whiteboard at the front.

I call out a spelling (one of the spelling test words) and the two children have to run to the whiteboard.

The winner of the point is the child who writes the correct spelling on the whiteboard first.

Methods of reaching the whiteboard can be changed to hopping, jumping or crawling. I always take part, racing against a learning support assistant, with one of the children calling out a spelling.

After the children have written their words at a furious speed I check with the class to see if the spelling is correct and then write it up neatly.

To differentiate the activity the two children at the back of the classroom begin with their eyes closed. This gives me time to write a spelling on the board, with one extra letter.

The winner is the first child to cross out the redundant letter.

Sometimes I write four different versions of a word and the winner is the child who ticks the correct spelling. On other occasions I write the word backwards and the winner is the child who writes the spelling the right way round first.

The winning team is the first to score 15 points, to ensure that all children have at least one go.

Patrick Higgins

Teacher of English, Trinity Catholic School, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

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