Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

How to Take the Pain out of Spelling Practice

This week a friend mentioned how painful it is to do spelling homework with her daughter.  She's tried a lot of things: writing the words, putting the words in sentences, flashcards, but nothing seems to help, and it's torture for both of them.  Sound familiar?  Well, I'm here to tell you that spelling practice does not have to be painful!  You can also use these fun ideas to practice sight words, math facts, or anything that needs to be memorized. 

1.  Write those words!  "Yeah, done that, hate it," you say?  I bet you weren't writing them in a layer of sprinkles on a cookie sheet!  How about writing them in chocolate sauce or honey on a plate?  (If When you spell each word correctly, you get to lick your finger.)  How about a layer or salt or flour on a tray?  Or using tic tac candies to make each word?  Once you start thinking about it, you'll come up with a lot of fun ways to practice!

2.  Text them.  Tell me your elementary age kiddos don't want to use their phones - or yours!  Have them sit with you while you're cooking dinner/ grading papers/ reading a book, and let them type and text those sight words to you or a family member.  Limited text plan?  Try emailing them!

3.  Learn the sign language alphabet and have your child finger spell their spelling words.  Here's a cute video to help you learn!

4.  Use magnetic letters to make the words on your refrigerator, a cookie sheet, the side of a filing cabinet... so many options!

5.  Write the words in shaving cream.  My kiddos LOVED writing and drawing in shaving cream, so we always did this to clean the tables in our classroom.  Simply spray a blob of foam on the table, then let the children smooth it out on the table top, then write in the it.  A quick hand swipe erases and resets the foam for the next word.  When you're done, your table top will be clean, the room will smell great, and that tricky spelling practice will be done!  (Your child may get some on her clothes, but it's basically soap, so it washes out beautifully.)

6.  Let your child write the spelling word with special writing tools.  Try markers, crayons, colored pens, that special pen on daddy's desk, scented markers... whatever it takes to make it fun.  Can your child write each word in all the rainbow colors?  (Yeah, you just got him to write each word 7 times!)  You can grab this rainbow writing page in my TeachersPayTeachers store, or just write them on regular paper.

7.  Is your child super active, or does he want to live in the backyard after school?  You hate to squash that healthy energy with homework, but it has to get done.  If you have a trampoline, try having your child write each word in big letters on  index cards, and hang them around the trampoline.  She can then jump and spell each word.  No trampoline?  Use sidewalk chalk to write the letters on the pavement, and jump from letter to letter to spell the words.

8.  Invest in a set of letter stamps and a pretty stamp pad, and have your child stamp out the letters.  For many children the lure of playing with rubber stamps will motivate them.  Can't afford rubber stamps?  How about alphabet cookies or pasta?  Or even a set of letters cut from junk mail or magazines?

9.  Grab an old game of Twister out of your cupboard, or at a garage sale, and write the letters on the colorful spots.  There are 24 spots on the game board, so put x, y and z together on the last spot, and then jump from spot to spot to spell the words.  Can't get a Twister game board?  Try making one on poster board!

10.  Play spelling tic tac toe, bingo, or dots, or whatever games your child enjoys, using a spelling word to mark your space.  Your child will read and write the words over and over in each game, enjoy some fun time playing with you, and you'll both agree spelling practice has never been so much fun!

11.  Write letters on toy blocks and build your words.

12.   Paint the words, or make the letters from play dough and spell them out - this feels a lot more like play, and a lot less like work!

13.  Use bath crayons and write in the tub.  If your child loves a long soak in the tub, washable bath tub crayons are the thing for you!  You can also write on the tub in shaving cream, just like I suggested in item #5 - and now your child is practicing spelling words and CLEANING THE TUB!

14.  Write on pretty paper.  Try colorful post-it notes, or fancy letter writing paper, or use regular paper and pop the finished list into an envelope and send it to your favorite family member. 

Brainstorm with your child for even more fun ways to practice spelling, and together you'll conquer those spelling test blues!

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