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Do you tell children how to spell words to speed up writing?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Lara mfl 05, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If it's using up too much time, especially if often you're spelling the same words, perhaps do a brainstorm of words at the start and leave the 'correct' spelling' on the board for them to refer to?
  2. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    I put any "technical" words or brainstormed words on the board then that's it, they are on their own! Either they can sound out or use a dictionary as they prefer. The key is to ensure the children are aware from the outset that the expectation is they spell for themselves. When I mark the work, I highlight several mis-spelt words and the children correct these into their spelling books for future reference.
  3. I ask mine to underline any words they think don't look right with a squigly line just like Word does. Then at the end they can check and correct them.

  4. if any child asks me how to spell a word - I write it up on the IWB
    Why not - note it down on your planning to tackle later!
    Sometimes when I am writing things I will shout to a colleague 'is it double c?' 'How do I spell x this does not look right!' we have all done it. I am a (in my opinion) very good speller but sometimes words just dont look right - that can also be a problem for the children.
  5. I am Y5 and I don't do spellings during writing. But then ours is also silent and concentrated (similar to BW). My kids get a thorough explanation and an IWB slide with instructions. They get a special 'pebble' each which entitles them to a single question, They rarely use it, and certainly not for a spelling!
    Spellings are corrected as part of our editing session which usually happens the day after the free-flow writing. I expect mine to try the dictionary first, then try me!
  6. I have a year 5 class with very mixed abilities - level 1a to level 5,
    Many of my level 1 - children cannot tell me the alpahbet, never mind use a dictionary. I do not understand why you would not tell a child a spelling if they asked you.

    They have asked you because they don't know - they have had a go, they can't work out how to spell it and now they need some help. If you don't tell them what do they do? surely they can't be happy - if they are unhappy - then can the produce their best writing?
  7. Because they don't need to be able to spell it at that time. If I spelled all their words for them, they would never get anything written, so our rule is - go for it, have a go, get your ideas down.
    We have set classes. I have upper English and the bottom writing level is a 4c.

  8. But if a child says to you is it double pp or 1 p why not say double p?
    If they have thought of a fab word to use - a polysyllabic 'wow' word and they are choosing to use it for the first time - why not tell them how to spell it? Surely it would boost their confidence and encourage them to use more words they are unsure of spelling. Yes we all go through it the next day but how must that child feel with loads of words with green squiggly lines underneath? Even if they do get 2 stars and a wish.
    They might not need to be able to spell it but surely that is not the point. Even if you had a sheet of A3 paper by the board to write spellings on - that would not take much time from the writing.

  9. They edit their own work and reflect upon how to improve it. I don't edit it at all except with a'light touch' mark.
    They keep a record of any words they mis-spell.
    The get 40 minutes to write a complete piece of writing. They can't waste time asking for spellings. It's just not important enough.
    They get praise and marks for using polysyllabic wow words, whether or not they spell them correctly. Because of that, they don't feel worried about using long or difficult to spell words - i.e. precisely because they know I value content and composition far above spelling.
  10. And how do they know if they have spelt a word correctly or incorrectly during the editing process? When would you point out these misspely words or would you just allow them to continue spelling them incorrectly?
  11. Sorry not arguing with you - genuinely interested MB
  12. I didn't think you were arguing :)
    Until you try it, you don't think they will pick up on spelling mistakes, but this is a class with extremely high reading levels, and they DO mostly pick up on their own mistakes. It takes a lot of practise, but is a very valuable skill. The words they miss, I will pick up in their books after they have edited them.
    They are also very, very good at 'up levelling' the work on the rewrite day. The break from it gives a fresh eye and you get a miles better piece of writing after they've done it.
    The single question 'pebble' technique is a Paul Ginnis idea. I find it means the kids really think for themselves before 'giving up their pebble'. I use it a lot.
  13. I do many of the things you are talking about but, especially with a high level speller, why not tell them the word - it does not take up hardly any time - I need to tell my top level kids a word once and they use it without error from then on.

    so you do go back and underline their mistakes in a green squiggle?
  14. I use blue actually - and a line is a spelling mistake, a squiggle means 'gimme a better word'!
  15. Some of my children - especially the upper middle are 'perfectionists' in their own minds. If after their editing I went through and underlined spelling errors they would choose to use easier words next time - even if I say brilliant, well done for trying to use exciting words at the bottom coupled with verbal praise.
    For me it does not take too long to tell them a spelling and it does more positives than negatives!
    I don't think we are going to agree on this milliebear but each to their own!
  16. I don't think we need to. You have a very different class and what suits mine, won't necessarily work for yours!
    My strategy works well with the class I have, but I recognise that they are extremely confident in their writing skills (and rightly so, they are fab!)
    They are clear about what I will be looking for. Spelling is necessary, but they know I'll never give them a star for that. They strive to include the stuff I tell them really counts - creativity; ambitious, accurately used vocabulary, interesting writing. They haven't disappointed me yet!
  17. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    I don't tell my children spellings in the middle of their writing - if I did they would become too dependent on that and complacent (I already have to field off a fair few requests despite having the same policy all year!). Plus, it ruins the flow of their writing. I tell them to use the grapheme chart in the classroom and other displays to help and give it there best try. I emphasize that they should use the word they want, not swap it for an easier to spell one and put a dotted line under it if they are unsure how to spell it. We go over the dotted words together at the end or another time during the week.

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