Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reviewing Spelling

I'm always looking for ways to review spelling words other than the traditional copying on paper or oral "bee".  There is nothing wrong with this time proven methods that can address both visual and auditory learners, but neither really addresses a kinesthetic/tactile learner.  [Side note: Being able spell words orally and being able to write words down are actually two different skills.  Just because your student can do one well, doesn't mean automatically he/she can do the other.  Use both.  You'll see more reason to do this in the study below.]

A kinesthetic or tactile learner is one who learns through touching and movement.  In all my years of teaching, I find this learning style usual the most difficult to incorporate while teaching.  However, I know that the more, learning methods you use, the more you actually remember, so even if your child isn't a kinesthetic/tactile learner, he or she can still benefit from adding this aspect.

A study done at the University of Texas found that people remember:

10 percent of what they read;
20 percent of what they hear;
30 percent of what they see;
50 percent of what they see and hear;
70 percent of what they say; and
90 percent of what they do and say

In fact, if you've seen the movie Akeelah and the Bee (and if you haven't, you should), Professor Larabee adds kinesthetic learning to Akeelah's memorization when he has her jump rope as she memorizes her words.

All this to share just a few different ways I've had my daughter study her spelling words the past few weeks.

 She thinks it's fun to "be" the letters.  She makes her body into the letter shape as she orally spells out each word.  OK, so sometimes the letter shapes get a little abstract, but it does make her focus more on each letter as she spells the words.

Another thing I did (of which I didn't take pictures) is to write in shaving cream.  I sprayed some plain white shaving cream and had her write her words in it.  I attempted to keep most of the shaving cream on a plastic place mat to aid in clean up.  This is actually a fun activity on many levels.  I've used this for PKs to write the letters, numbers or shapes.  You can also use it for math facts, for instance.  Pretty much anything you can write on paper, you can write in shaving cream.

I also had her type her spelling words into her "blog."   You could also just do this on a word document.  Since she's not "fluent" in keyboarding, the hunt and peck method makes her focus more on each letter of the word as she types it in.  Obviously, it also starts to get her working on computer skills.

Today, we went outside for spelling.  I had her write her spelling words with sidewalk chalk on the sidewalk.  Again, plenty of movement and fun.  I made sure she did them in a column, so we didn't have chalk all over our clothes when we came back inside.


So, those are just a few of the things I've been doing.  I'd love to hear additional ideas, so if you're reading this, please share your ideas in the comment, so others can benefit in addition to me.

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