Why Some Kids Can’t Spell and Why Spelling Tests Won’t Help

checklistWhy some kids can’t spell and why spelling tests won’t help

By Misty Adoniou, University of Canberra

A couple of years ago, early one morning, I received an SMS advising “resadents to stay indoors because of a nearby insadent”. I was shocked by the spelling, as much as the message. Surely, I thought, if it was a real message then the spelling would be correct.

Spelling matters. In a text message from a friend teeing up a night out “c u at 8” is fine – but in an emergency warning text from a government agency, I expect the spelling to be standard. But why is it that some people struggle with standard spelling?

Spelling remains the most relentlessly tested of all the literacy skills, but it is the least taught.

Sending a list of words home on Monday to be tested on Friday is not teaching. Nor is getting children to write their spelling words out 10 times, even if they have to do it in rainbow colours.

Looking, covering, writing and checking does not teach spelling. Looking for little words inside other words, and doing word searches are just time fillers. And writing your “spelling” words in spirals or backwards is just plain stupid.

And yet, this is a good summary of most of the current spelling programs in schools today.

So, what should spelling teaching look like?

Finding meaning

Children should know the meanings of the words they spell, and as logical as that sounds – ask a child in your life what this week’s spelling words mean, and you might be surprised by their answers.

If spelling words are simply strings of letters to be learnt by heart with no meaning attached and no investigation of how those words are constructed, then we are simply assigning our children a task equivalent to learning ten random seven-digit PINs each week.

That is not only very very hard, it’s pointless.

More than sounds

English is an alphabetic language; we use letters to write words. But it is not a phonetic language: there is no simple match between sounds and letters.

We have 26 letters, but we have around 44 sounds (it’s not easy to be precise as different accents produce different sounds) and several hundred ways to write those sounds.

So, while sounds – or phonics – are important in learning to spell, they are insufficient. When the only tool we give young children for spelling is to “sound it out”, we are making a phonological promise to them that English simply cannot keep.

How words make their meanings

Sounds are important in learning to spell, but just as important are the morphemes in words. Morphemes are the meaningful parts of words. For example, “jumped” has two morphemes – “jump” and “ed”. “Jump” is easily recognised as meaningful, but “ed” is also meaningful because it tells us that the jump happened in the past.

Young spellers who are relying on the phonological promise given to them in their early years of schooling typically spell “jumped” as “jumt”.

When attempting to spell a word, the first question we should teach children to ask is not “what sounds can I hear?” but “what does this word mean?”. This gives important information, which helps enormously with the spelling of the word.

In the example of “jumt” it brings us back to the base word “jump”; where the sound of “p” can now be heard, and the past marker “ed” , rather than the sound “t” which we hear when we say the word.

Consider the author of the emergency text message at the beginning of this article as they pondered which of the many plausible letters they could use for the sound they could hear in “res – uh – dent”.

If they had asked themselves first, “What does this word mean?” the answer would have been people who “reside”, and then they would have heard the answer to their phonological dilemma.

Where words come from

English has a fascinating and constantly evolving history. Our words, and their spellings, come from many languages. Often we have kept the spellings from the original languages, while applying our own pronunciation.

As a result, only about 12% of words in English are spelt the way they sound. But that doesn’t mean that spelling is inexplicable, and therefore only learned by rote – it means that teaching spelling becomes a fascinating exploration of the remarkable history of the language – etymology.

Some may think that etymology is the sole province of older and experienced learners, but it’s not.

Young children are incredibly responsive to stories about words, and these understandings about words are key to building their spelling skills, but also building their vocabulary.

Yet poor spellers and young spellers are rarely given these additional tools to understand how words work and too often poor spellers are relegated to simply doing more phonics work.

Teaching – not testing

The only people who benefit from spelling tests are those who do well on them – and the benefit is to their self-esteem rather than their spelling ability. They were already good spellers.

The people who don’t benefit from spelling tests are those who are poor at spelling. They struggled with spelling before the test, and they still struggle after the test. Testing is not teaching.

Parents and teachers should consider these questions as they reflect on the ways in which spelling is approached in their school.

Are all children learning to love words from their very first years at school? Are they being fascinated by stories about where words come from and what those stories tell us about the spelling of those words?

Are they being excited by breaking the code, figuring how words are making their meanings and thrilled to find that what they’ve learned about one word helps them solve another word?

Put simply – is spelling your child’s favourite subject?

If the answer is no, then something needs to be done about the teaching.

The Conversation

Misty Adoniou is a Senior Lecturer in Language, Literacy and Teaching English as a Second Language at the University of Canberra. She occasionally presents workshops in schools on the teaching of spelling.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Educents: New Education Daily Deal Site

A new deals site is launching! Educents.com is an easy way to get huge discounts on the educational products you know and love (and maybe even some you’ve never heard of!).

As part of their weekly flash sales, Educents.com will offer products such as foreign language programs, reading, math and science programs, as well books, learning tools, curriculum, educational toys and more, with discounts of 30-90%!

If you sign up by April 2nd, you’ll receive a FREE $10 gift card to Educents.com, which may be used on anything even shipping. No restrictions and no gimmicks. You may possibly get an item for free, or very cheap! There is no minimum purchase on the $10 gift card.

Don’t miss your chance to experience some great educational products at discount prices! Follow the link: Educents.com

Ice Skating

The Wilmington Ice House has homeschool ice skating Thursday, October 18th from 1:30 til 3:30. Cost is $6. This is open to all ages. Come join the fun!

Sailing Schedule

Sailing Lesson Update:

Thursday, October 11th  12:15 – 2:30

Ben
Jamie
Scotty

Sallie

John
adult – Courtney

Saturday, October 13th at 3:00

Scarlett
adult – Alexandra
Christian
Samuel
adult -Tracey
Gabe

If anyone else wants to go out for a sailing lesson please let me know. I can schedule through the end of October. We will plan more trips in the spring as well.

Thank you,

Terry

First Grade Common Core

In 2010, North Carolina adopted the Common Core State Standards for K-12 English Language Arts and Mathematics. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, these standards will be used for teaching and assessment beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year. The text of the standards is available here.

So what are these standards about anyway?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.

The standards are informed by the highest, most effective models from states across the country and countries around the world, and provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn. Consistent standards will provide appropriate benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live.

These standards define the knowledge and skills students should have within their K-12 education careers so that they will graduate high school able to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing academic college courses and in workforce training programs. The standards:

  • Are aligned with college and work expectations;
  • Are clear, understandable and consistent;
  • Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
  • Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
  • Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
  • Are evidence-based.

Our state, as well as many others have adopted these standards.  These changes can be overwhelming, but Common Core State Standards has many resources to help us navigate the changes successfully.  Common Core State Standards has just released their First Grade Common Core Workbook.  It includes  the largest collection of worksheets and activities for teaching the First Grade Common Core State Standards. The workbook includes over 550 pages of Worksheets, Activity Centers, and Posters that teach all the First Grade English Language Arts Common Core Standards and all the First Grade Mathematics Common Core Standards!

Additional resources for other grade levels are available on their website.  Be sure to check it out and use it as a great tool for posturing your child for academic excellence!

 

Children’s Art Lessons


Instructor: Cammeron Alekzandra Batanides
                        cell: 704-779-7831
                        email: cammeronb@yahoo.com
                        website: http://www.artbycammeron.com/

 

Location:  The Dance Element
                      7211 Ogden Business Lane, Suite 205
                     Wilmington, NC 28411
                     (phone) 910-685-3787

Schedule

 

September

 

Tuesday September 18th: 1pm-3pm     Becoming Familiar With Your Materials

 

Students will practice exercises teaching them technique, shading and an overall understanding of the charcoal media.
Some art history will be incorporated in the lesson so that students can get an understanding of these concepts through visual aids.
**September’s class will be offered for $10 a student as an introduction rate**

 

October

 

Tuesday October 3rd: 1pm-3pm Still Life

 

Working in charcoal, students will work on become familiar with concepts such as shading, light, depth and space.

 

Tuesday October 16th: 1pm-3pm     Still Life Continued

 

Students will continue to work on the concepts they were introduced to in the previous class. During this time I will focus on one-on-one time and individual areas of improvement to try and strengthen their skills.

 

November

 

Thursday November 1st: 1pm-3pm   Landscape

 

Students will begin to look at drawing in a more organic nature. This course will begin with some examples of well known landscape works. They will then attempt their own. They will learn about atmospheric perspective, line, shading and light.

 

Tuesday November 13th: 1pm-3pm  Landscape Continued

 

Students will continue to work on all of the concepts they were introduced to in the previous course. During this time I will focus on one- on-one time and individual areas of improvement to try and strengthen their skills.

 

December

 

Tuesday December 3rd: 1pm-3pm  Animal Portraiture

 

Students will be introduced to portraiture. We will begin this course by working on animal portraits. They will utilize all of the concepts taught leading to this session. The children will work from a photograph of an animal of their choosing (one will be provided, or they can work from a photograph they’ve provided). They will be encourage to look at individual areas of the animal, learning the importance of relation and size. They will be encouraged to look at things individually and in space/size relation to begin to understand the process of drawing a portrait. Art history will be included.

 

Thursday December 13th: 1pm-3pm Animal Portraiture Continued

 

Students will continue to understand the elements of animal portraiture. They will continue to work on the concepts    and understandings  from the first animal portrait course. They will receive personal suggestions in order to strengthen their individual skills.

 

January   (due to the difficulty of January’s subject it will require three different courses)

 

Tuesday January 8th: 1pm-3pm     Portraiture (People)
 

 

The lesson will begin with a lesson in art history; Leonardo Da Vinci, Degas, and other artists known for their brilliant protraits. This will help the students understand the variety of portraits created- from realism to expressionists to abstract. Then we will lead into their own personal portraits. They will have the freedom to create in whichever style they choose (however it will be charcoal as they are still working in black and white- as color has not been introduced yet). Each student will be asked to bring in a photograph of a person of their choosing to create their portrait. A photograph will be provided if they do not bring one.

 

Tuesday January 15th: 1pm-3pm   Portraiture Continued
 

 

We will continue to work on the students knowledge of portraiture. They will work independently on their portraits. I will be there to encourage, suggest and educate throughout the process. This will help them to become educated while maintaining their freedom to create.

 

Tuesday January 22nd: 1pm-3pm   Portraiture Continued

 

We will continue to work on the students knowledge of portraiture. They will work independently on their portraits. I will be there to

encourage, suggest and educate throughout the process. This will help them to become educated while maintaining their freedom to create.

**Due to the extension in January’s courses this month will be $40 a student**

 

All Monthly Course enrollments are $30/ per student. This will include both sessions. Excluding September which is being offered for $10 a student for one course as an introductory, and January which is being offered for $40 a student for three courses. Each course is 2 hours long.

 

Parents please keep in mind to dress your children accordingly! As art tends to be a little messy, please send them to class in attire thats okay to create in!

 

Payments accepted: Visa, Mastercard, Discover, AmEx or cash. Payments must be received prior to the beginning of each course.

 

Please fill out our course pre-registration form to secure your child’s/children’s spot in the class.
After you fill out a registration form you will be sent a short material list of supplies your child/children will need.

 

Starting in February children will begin to be introduced to color and working with acrylic paint.

 


Free Algebra 1 Course- SAS Curriculum Pathways

CARY, NC  (Aug. 08, 2012)  –  SAS Curriculum Pathways has launched a free Algebra 1 course that provides teachers and students with all the required content to address the Common Core State Standards for Algebra. Available online, the course engages students through real-world examples, images, animations, videos and targeted feedback. Teachers can integrate individual components or use the entire course as the foundation for their Algebra 1 curriculum.

“Success in Algebra 1 opens the door to STEM opportunities in high school and beyond, and can set students on the path to some of the most lucrative careers,” said Scott McQuiggan, Director of SAS Curriculum Pathways. “This course gives teachers engaging content to support instruction, and will help them meet Common Core requirements.”

SAS developed the Algebra 1 course in collaboration with the North Carolina Virtual Public School, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the Triangle High Five Algebra Readiness Initiative, an organization that promotes the important role mathematics teachers play in preparing students for college and careers.

The course maps to publisher requirements recently established by the lead writers of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. More specifically, the course addresses the authors’ concerns for greater emphasis on mathematical reasoning, rigor and balance. In addition, the course takes a balanced approach to three elements the writers see as central to course rigor: conceptual understanding, procedural skill, and opportunities to apply key concepts. It incorporates 21st-century themes like global awareness and financial literacy while weaving assessment opportunities throughout the content.

Each lesson in the Algebra 1 course has four sections:

  • Get Ready – introduction.
  • Learn – instructional content with interactive components and guided practice.
  • Practice – additional problems to confirm the learning.
  • Review – summary, including printable materials.

While Algebra 1 is the first full course developed, SAS Curriculum Pathways provides interactive resources in every core subject for grades six through 12 in traditional, virtual and home schools at no cost to all US educators. SAS Curriculum Pathways has registered more than 70,000 teachers and 18,000 schools in the US.

SAS Curriculum Pathways aligns to  state and Common Core standards (a framework to prepare students for college and for work, and adopted by 45 states), and engages students with differentiated, quality content that targets higher-order thinking skills. It focuses on topics where doing, seeing and listening provide information and encourage insights in ways conventional methods cannot. SAS Curriculum Pathways features over 200 Interactive Tools, 200 Inquiries (guided investigations, organized around a focus question),  600 Web Lessons and 70 Audio Tutorials.

SAS IN EDUCATION

In addition to SAS Curriculum Pathways online resources, SAS analytics and business intelligence software is used at more than 3,000 educational institutions worldwide for teaching, research and administration. SAS has more than three decades of experience working witheducational institutions.

ABOUT SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 60,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW® .

Drama/creative writing classes with the fabulous Ms. Kim!

Hello KC!
 
I hope you’re having a great summer!  The fabulous Ms. Kim will be back this fall to offer her drama/creative writing classes for our kids.  Classes will start on Friday, September 14 – Friday, November 30.  Class time is from 10am – 12 noon at the NE Regional Library.  Ages for this class is 6/7 and up.  Cost for the classes is $110 for 12 week session.  Or $10/class for a drop-in.  I believe Ms. Kim offers a discount for sibling participants – please contact her at info@luv2act.com for more information on cost.
 
Also, are there any families that would be interested in Ms. Kim teaching a 3- 5/6 age drama class from 1pm – 3pm?  We had a few that were interested in the spring.  Hopefully, there will be more kids for both classes!
 
Please let Ms. Kim know if you are interested in either class – info@luv2act.com.  Thanks!
 
Love,
Lisa

Choosing Curricula

If you’re new to homeschooling, finding the perfect learning plan for your child can be a challenge. Most public and private schools use a formal curriculum for each student, and you may mistakenly believe you must follow that same path at home.

Families often begin homeschooling using a complete curriculum package. Many, however, find the structure or workload overwhelming and begin to experiment with different teaching methods. The trick is to find a method that accommodates your child’s learning style. As you become more experienced and gain confidence, you’ll discover effective teaching tools that can help your family achieve educational freedom.

Traditional teaching methods are explored here, as well as a few non-traditional approaches that may surprise you. As a homeschooling parent, you have many curriculum choices. Your children benefit when you are aware of them all.