“It’s a poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.” -Andrew Jackson
Um, did I mention these children are 5 years old? Clearly our little ones are heavily influenced by our text-rich world.
In kindergarten, we place emphasis on invented spelling. Invented spelling is the practice of young children using their best judgement when writing words. This opens the children to using more of a variety of words than if they only write the words they know how to spell correctly. Students write what they hear. When students use invented spelling, they seem to develop word recognition and phonics skills sooner. The more they write, the more confidence they have in their writing. The process of getting it out of their head and onto the paper is the key rather than have them get bogged down in spelling words correctly. My students are easily able to write several sentences on a given topic on their own. We have environmental print in the room on the anchor charts, plus they use invented spelling.
Using the iPads, I am able to give the students opportunities to practice spelling high frequency words and word family words. We use the app Spelling 1-2. This allows students to work on their own list of words. In the beginning of the year, I put their words in the app, but later they can put their own words in themselves. They practice all week on their given list of words on the app and they are assessed weekly. This ability to differentiate instruction allows my higher students to move on to more difficult words and my struggling students to practice what they need. At one point this year, I had 4 different lists going on the iPads. Now I’m down to 2. With a class of 26 students, I am able to meet the needs of each of my students where they are. We use a few other spelling apps for fun. Two of the apps we like are Montessori Crosswords and Word Wizard.
As we allow students to express themselves in a safe, encouragement environment, we see the possibilities and their creativity flourish.
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