Saturday, November 22, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Variety is the spice of life

I do love Spark Motivation Saturdays with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching.  It is always inspiring to read how others motivate their students.  For me, I always know I have hit the "motivation jackpot" with my kiddos when cackles of glee fill the air.

This year our grade level is trying (again!) something new with spelling.  For the past few years, we have really focused on spelling high frequency words correctly utilizing some Rebecca Sitton strategies.  However, it seemed too easy for most of our kids, and the ones who had trouble with spelling didn't seem to make much improvement.  So frustrating.

Over the summer, I looked into different spelling programs/schools of thought.  I liked the idea of individualized spelling, but I have tried that before with Words Their Way and I wasn't able to implement it successfully.  Then I found these root trifolds by Teaching in Room 6 and I thought it might be a great addition to our Language Arts program--after kicking around different ideas, our grade level decided, even though the words are difficult, to have them work with them in spelling .  Years ago we had students complete a spelling packet and less than half the kids completed it consistently and it was miserable to grade--kind of why we abandoned it.  So this time, we decided that a parent signature affirming that the student had worked with the words would do.

10 weeks later--the kids seem to be learning their word parts pretty well, you can really tell with the weekly spelling tests who is working with their words, and many parents reported at conferences that they hear their kids working with the words--as one parent said, "She really enjoys doing those crazy things."

Students have a list of about 10 activities to choose from to work with their 12 words--and every three weeks I swap out about 3 of them and put in some new choices.  Some activities--such as taking a practice test, working with, and making a foldable--never change.  But the "crazy" ones do.  I think the variety and the silliness are great motivators.

Here's a list of some of the odder spelling activities we have done:

*Get a ball and "bounce spell" your words out loud (bounce the ball each time you say a letter.)
*Write your words in three different sizes: normal, jumbo, and minuscule.
*Write a letter to your favorite superhero and use all the words in your letter."
*Get permission to use sidewalk chalk and write your words on the sidewalk outside."
*Draw a picture and "hide" the words in the picture.
*Spell whisper your words to a pet, a plant, or a stuffed animal.
*Cheer your words--pretend you are at a sporting event and spell your words out loud with great gusto.
*Write your words in a list--in reverse alphabetical order.

*And this one---the one that made them cackle with glee--give an adult a spelling test with your words and then grade their answers.

No comments:

Post a Comment