Quick note from the Editor: Naomi contacted the website at the beginning of this academic year and has offered to share her insight and ideas with the Literacy World, so in advance I thank her for her contributions to the site. I will regularly upload Naomi's suggestions, as well as develop a *Featured* page with all of her ideas as well. On a side note, it has been very rewarding to receive such positive feedback on the website and to now have connections with others who share our passion for Literacy. Thank you.
How to Teach Spelling with Sticky Notes
If there’s one thing many of us struggle with as children (and as adults), it’s spelling. For some it comes naturally, but for others, it’s a case of trial and tribulation as we trip over the formation of letters and the bizarre rules (and exceptions to the rules) that the English language is crammed with.
So, how can we make learning to spell a little bit easier? Well, one thing that we can do is to make a game of it using stationery. Yes, really – here’s how to teach spelling with sticky notes.
First, begin by telling the students the rule you’ll be focussing on. For instance, if you’re teaching spellings of nouns ending in ‘y’ where it’s necessary to change the ‘y’ for an ‘i’ and add ‘es’ to make it plural (for example, changing ‘party’ into ‘parties), recap the rule first. Ensure that everyone has a grasp of the rule, as you’ll shortly be asking them to spend some time thinking without your guidance.
Then, divide the students into pairs or threes. Give them approximately ten minutes to come up with as many words as they can that follow this rule, keeping in mind that you’ll need to make this challenge age-appropriate. Expect the quantity and quality of words to be within a particular range depending on the developmental stage of the children you’re teaching, and take care when grouping children to ensure that there’s a good balance of ability within each team.
It’s also a good idea to incentivise children at this point. For instance, award house points (or a similar reward system) to encourage children to think of the most interesting or unusual words they can. This brings about an additional learning benefit whereby a strong knowledge of words learnt from reading can be rewarded and encouraged further.
Then, once the ten minutes is up, ask each pair or group to choose the most interesting or unusual word they have found. They’ll need to be prepared to explain its meaning to the rest of the class. Then (and this is where the sticky notes come in), ask them to write the word, spelling it correctly, on a sticky note. (If you need to buy sticky notes to ensure that every child has an adequate amount in their groupings, check out stationery suppliers such as GLS).
Once the word has been written on the sticky note, ask the class to check the accuracy of the spelling, correcting it if necessary (and explaining what was incorrect to begin with). Similarly, ask the class to confirm that the word fits with the studied spelling rule (so for this particular lesson, words such as ‘balcony’ and ‘adversary’ would be excellent examples from children of early key stage two level).
Then, stick the sticky note on the wall within a special feature display titled ‘We Love Spelling!’. Doing so will encourage enthusiasm for the game, make children feel that their effort is appreciated, and will also keep spelling rules fresh in their minds.
If the class is struggling to follow the rule or spell the word correctly with its proper ending, use sticky notes to write the front half of the word, and on a separate sticky note, write the back half of the word. ‘Swap’ the endings (i.e. remove and replace the sticky notes) so that children can see how a noun is spelt when it’s singular, compared to how it’s spelt in its plural form. Encourage them to join in with this activity, challenging them to show you how the word should be spelt if it’s a single noun or a plural noun.
Hi there! I am Mr Birch, a full time primary school teacher and creator of 'keystage2literacy.co.uk...' This website is currently dedicated to Literacy in the curriculum and hosts a collection of ideas that I have used with classes in the early years of my career.
Key Stage 2 Literacy
Chris Birch 2011-2016