Friday, January 17, 2014

Spelling City Makes Word Work Fun

20 Day Blogging Challenge,  Day 11:  What is a website that you cannot live without?  Tell about your favorite features and how you use it in your teaching and learning.

We are between testing weeks, so my class has had an entire cart of laptops in our room all week.  That means we have been one to one this week, and we have loved it!  Most weeks I have to rotate students through the nine computers that we usually have, so it was nice to have everyone working at the same time.

One of my favorite websites is Spelling City.  You can find it at  Learning how to spell correctly is an important skill for reading and writing, but we are usually limited in the time we can devote to it.  Using Spelling City gives kids additional opportunities to practice, and they are enthusiastic about using it. There are activities for both spelling and vocabulary.

It also makes it easy to customize lists and activities to meet the needs of individual students.  I currently have students divided into three spelling groups, with varying numbers of words and difficulty levels.  All lists emphasize the same skill.  For example, this week all our words end with a long e sound.  We spend time learning about the different spelling patterns that make that sound.  I still do classroom lessons, but the games and activities on the website are great reinforcement.

You can use Spelling City for free, but I willingly pay for the classroom version.  Then I can monitor what students are doing.  Most Mondays, I assign Spelling City as a homework option.  The next morning I can check to see who practiced using Spelling City, and who chose a written option.

Most weeks we take our spelling test on line, using Spelling City.  There are some great advantages.  Students work at their own pace, they get immediate feedback, and the tests are graded for me.  You can view and/or print their completed test, so you can see exactly where they were successful or need additional work.  Lists I set up for this year, can continue to be accessed and used in following years, but it is also easy to make changes whenever needed. Students can also create their own lists, and you have the option of using lists that have been created by other teachers.

If you have never used Spelling City, check it out.  Then let me know how it worked for you. 

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