Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spelling Dictionary

Do you get tired of students asking how to spell the same words over and over?  Well I have the solution for you!  It's called the Spelling Dictionary.  I have used it with 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th graders. 

You will need:
- a pocket chart with at least 26 openings
- a pack of unruled/unlined index cards
- alphabet stickers
- a marker or pen
- a strip of paper for the title

I use a classroom management pocket chart from Carson Delosa (See below).  It has 35 slots with room for a title.  I like it because an index card fits in each pocket. 

I cut an alphabet sticker strip (you know the kind you put across a student's desk) and stuck each letter on it's own pocket in alphabetical order.  (You can get this for a dollar the the Dollar Tree)

I then placed unlined/unruled index cards in each slot with the corresponding letter written at the top so it's easy to put back in its rightful place!

Next, I do a mini-lesson on how to use the spelling dictionary.  I go over what a dictionary is for students.  I tell them that they use a dictionary to find the definition of words and sometimes the spelling. 

I explain that when they have a word they don't know how to spell they can go over to the spelling dictionary, get the card that cooresponds to the beginning sound and check if the word is already on the card.  If it is not, simply bring the card over with a pencil (or other writing utensil) and ask how to spell it. 

For example, a child wants to spell apple.  They would check the A card and if it wasn't already there, they would have me it on there. 

At first the students like the novelty of it, but as they progress into writer's workshop, they get more confident in using it and all I have to do is ask the word when they bring over the card.  They take it to their seat and then replace it in its rightful spot. I staple on cards as they get filled. 

Every once in awhile, I have a student who brings over the wrong card, but then it's an added bonus teaching moment.
I just love this!  It really has saved my sanity during writing workshop. I know that others use a file box holder or individual spelling dictionaries in their binder or notebook. I like this as it is easy to get in and out of and they can see the words through the clear plastic on the pocket chart. 

 I hope you can use it!



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