Saturday, August 29, 2015

Spelling City

Last week I talked about using Mystery Skype in the classroom.

This week... ways to use technology as centers, or with your regular curriculum.

I have 2 programs for you to look into this week with the first being Spelling City

I started using this last year with my grade 5 and 6's and even though the free games were pretty basic (and childish for them) I did book us an extra slot in the computer lab to study our spelling words on this program... so I think they liked it.

How it works:
You can either type in your word list that you give your students or import lists that others have already created.  I always did the importing because my students were doing the Words Their Way program which MANY teachers have already done all the work of putting on the website.  I would just do a search for the sort and make sure the words were all included.  Easy Peasy.

Once imported I would rename the sort.  I had 3 groups in my class and each groups words came out of a different coloured duotang.  They saw the duotangs only about once a cycle while we were passing out the words but they knew which colour their words came from.  So I would just title sorts "green group", "red group", and "blue group" so that they would know which words to work on that week.  Any old lists I made sure they wouldn't be able to see.

I also sent home a letter to their parents about it.... so that they could access it at home to study their words.  Probably a bit more fun than sitting at the kitchen table and having your mom read off the words and you having to spell them back (which is what my mom did with us back in the day).  The nice thing about the letter is that they have one already made for you to fill in your info and print off for your students!

Other than sending them to the website once a cycle (usually the day before our spelling test) I didn't tell them which games to play or what they had to do on there.  Many would do the spelling test to see if they could get all the words right, they would often print a wordsearch of their words to go over later, and Hang Mouse, and Audio Word Match were the other 2 more popular games.

Not every student had headphones but you don't necessarily need headphones to play the games.

I had one student that was deaf that would give the headphones to her interpreter and then her interpreter would interpret what it was saying to worked perfectly.

The nice thing about this is that it does not require your students to register for anything.  It is just like they are going to a website (you'll have to give them your homepage URL) and playing games.  Their names are not stored on the website anywhere.

There was only one thing that I didn't really like (well, asides from the games being too childish for my students)... they could see the premium membership games that I wasn't paying for.  The premium membership was just over $50 (likely american) which I guess I could have used some of my classroom budget for.  It includes space for 25 students (which would have been enough for my class).  It would be something to consider in later years when I'm not so concerned with using my classroom budget for all the materials that I need for the year (because I will already have things like a classroom library and resources).

Would I use it again?

What do you think, will you use it?
How would you use it?  I could also see this being used as a center during some reading/writing centers

Also, what spelling program do you currently use (if you are using a program)... I'm interested in finding a different one!

Stay tuned next week for another easy way to use a math website in the classroom!

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