• Spelling

    Below is an overview. If you are looking for the actual Spelling lists for Mr. Schoch's class, you'll need to visit the Spelling City web site (www.spellingcity.com/schoch). There you can practice word spellings and definitions using a number of games and exercises, all free!
    The Sixth Grade spelling program combines three concepts: Greek and Latin word origins, common English spelling patterns, and literature-based vocabulary (words taken from our novels and other reading sources). It is based upon the theories that children will become better readers and spellers if they can learn to identify roots, apply regular spelling patterns (such as silent e to create long vowels; a second vowel to create a long first vowel, such as oa in coat, etc.), and identify word meanings in context.

    While these theories are correct, I contend that your child will become a better speller if he/she reads more often. The more a word is seen in print, the more likely it is to be spelled correctly.

    Correct spelling is expected on the majority of assignments, and students will be expected to revise any misspellings. I will NOT, however, take off points for spelling on any assignment or test, other than those which specifically assess spelling skills, or those which include a word bank of needed words.
    In our class when a word is marked as a spelling error, it will be circled in pen and "sp" will be written above the circle. Elsewhere on the page, the teacher will correctly write the misspelled word plus "3x." In order to correct the paper, the student must correct the word inside the circle, and then write the word three times correctly on the page. The word must also be added to the student's personal spelling dictionary.

    One fixed feature of Spelling in our classroom is Big Words, an activity which promotes an increase in phonetic awareness, spelling accuracy, and vocabulary development. For this activity, each student is given a strip of jumbled letters (which spell a single BIG WORD). The student cuts apart and manipulates these letters, attempting to form as many words as possible. Beginners may only be able to form two-, three-, and four-letter words, but with time and practice children will be able to use knowledge of word roots and blends to form much longer words. The ultimate objective is to spell a single word with all the letters. That word is the Big Word of the day (and it very often relates to an upcoming trip, project, or special event, and thus serves double-duty as it builds excitement and enthusiasm).

    As Big Words is used on a semi-weekly basis, the teacher will begin to discuss strategies for increasing word counts (rhyming, changing single letters at the beginning or ending of each word, using blends and clusters, using homophones, etc.). Additionally, the teacher will discuss word parts (prefixes and suffixes) which can help students to understand what they read (such as the suffix -tion, which usually changes a verb to a noun, as in the word relaxation).

    Strategies for better spelling are learned throughout the year, and children can always ask the teacher how to spell a word. The teacher will help in the way that is described below. This is an excellent way in which parents can help their children at home!

    Helping Your Child With Spelling

    Your child asks how to spell the word “protect.”

    Step 1:

    Ask your child to say the word again. Often, incorrect spelling is the result of incorrect pronunciation. The typical fourth grader’s pronunciation is “pertect,” and that is typically the spelling the teacher receives.

    Step 2:

    After the child pronounces the word clearly, you can:

    1) Ask how he/she thinks it is spelled, and have them write it as they sound it out, or

    2) You sound it out slowly, and have the child try to represent the sounds on paper.

    3) Sometimes, you can ask the child how a similar word is spelled. In the case of “protect,” however, the sounding strategy will work well.

    4) If the word is a fairly long or uncommon one, or if your child is in the middle of a train of thought, simply write the word on a scrap of paper and let them copy it. DO NOT SPELL IT ALOUD.

    Step 3:

    Look at your child’s efforts. If the word is written correctly, read the word, and tell the child that it is correct. If it is incorrect, say, “Close,” or “Almost.” Then say the word again, and write it correctly on a separate piece of paper. Your child then corrects his/her word by comparing it with yours.

    By saying the word and then writing it, you are giving your child a simultaneous auditory/visual representation of the word. If you simply spell the word out loud, the child will not retain it in his/her memory.

    Keep in mind when using textbooks that the word your child is trying to spell may be in the text itself. In that case, direct the child to the page or paragraph and let him/her scan for the word.

    When looking over your child’s finished paper, Step 3 alone can be used to correct errors. After using these steps a few times, the process becomes a quick one, and the student will soon teach him/herself.

    Hints for studying spelling words for tests can be found in the section on Study Skills.

Last Modified on August 31, 2009