Saturday, February 21, about 25 teachers and administrators (15 from Van Allen) came together for professional development training for SPELL-Links and CLASS-Links. This training focused on word studies and how to get our students to truly understand why words are spelled a certain way as well as different acceptable spellings. This curriculum grouped words together that we never would have thought. For example, the word “said” is with the “short e” words because it makes the “short e” sound. This makes /ai/ an acceptable spelling for the sound “short e.” Many of these strategies and techniques made sense to me as a special education teacher. My students often make these common mistakes such as spelling words phonetically, or how they sound.
This training also gave us many different activities to use with our students to better help their own word study. One of the activities that I tried with my students this week was Tap & Map. During this activity we listened to our spelling words and figured out how many different sounds we heard. We then counted the boxes for each sound and crossed out the rest in the row. After I wrote the word out on the board, they were able to distinguish which sounds went in each box. By doing this activity, it reinforced that /ar/ says /R/. By the end of the week, most of my students could spell all of our spelling words correctly by using this technique.