By Teachers, For Teachers
If you are an elementary school teacher, then you know all too well that spelling words are a huge part of your curriculum and teaching strategies. For many of you, Mondays are the day that you teach the new words, then send your students home with a list to study and practice for Friday’s big spelling test. However, writing a word three times over or using it in a sentence each week can get extremely boring for students. To help add a little variety to your students’ regular spelling routine, we have come up with some incredibly fun new teaching strategies to make spelling homework a little less boring. Here are 25 creative and interactive teaching strategies to practice spelling words.
Many teachers like to use a Tic Tac Toe board as a means to help students practice their spelling words. On Monday, after you have taught students the new words for the week, you can send them home with spelling Tic Tac Toe. To create the board, you need to make a 3x4 grid. This is larger than a regular Tic Tac Toe board, because if you want students to practice spelling each night of the week for Friday’s test, then this will allow students to choose one task each night for four consecutive nights. Write down a different spelling activity in each square on the grid for students to choose from. Your students’ goal is to get four in a row (Tic Tac Toe), either up and down, left to right, or diagonal. Here are a few spelling homework activities that you can add to the squares on the grid.
ABC Order – Write your words in alphabetical order.
Letters – Write your words as many times as there are letters in the word using a fancy pen.
Colorful Words – Use two different colors to write the spelling words -- one color for the vowels and one color for the consonants.
Create a Fortune Teller – Create a spelling word fortune teller out of paper and spell the word out loud.
Rainbow Words – Write each spelling word with a different color crayon or pencil.
Computer Words – Type each spelling word on the computer using a different color and font.
Finger Tracing – Use your finger to spell out each word one letter at a time on your mom or dad’s hand. Then, have your mom or dad try it on you so you can guess what the word is.
Rainbow Colors – Use all of the colors in the rainbow to trace each word on your spelling list.
Cool Whip Words – Take a cookie sheet and spread cool whip all over it. Then, use your finger to write each spelling word.
Words in Words – Write down each spelling word, then write one word made from each word.
Timed Words – Set a timer for two minutes. See how many times you can write the spelling words in the time allotted.
Spelling Memory – Write each spelling word twice on a flashcard, so if you have 10 spelling words, you will now have 20 flashcards. Place the cards face down and play spelling memory.
Spelling Song – Write a song using as many spelling words as you can.
Word Stories – Write a short story using all of your spelling words at least once.
Search and Find – Use a newspaper and highlight as many spelling words as you can find.
Snap and Spell – Snap each letter, then snap for each whole word.
Scramble – Choose five spelling words and write them down letter by letter. Then cut the letters up and scramble them to spell each word.
Acting Out Words – Find a parent or a friend and act out each word. When they get it correct, spell them the word you acted out.
Military Words – For each word that you spell, you must do a jumping jack or a push up.
Train Words – Write each word on the list as one big word, using a different color for each word.
Volcano Words – Make volcano words by adding one letter to each line. Do this for each word on your list.
Piping Words – Use pipe cleaners to spell each word. Once you have spelled one word, reuse your pipes to form the next word, and so on.
Play-Doh Words – Roll out some Play-Doh so it’s flat. Then use a pencil to make dot letters to spell out each word.
Find and Define – Look each word up in the dictionary and read what it means.
Rhyming Words – Write down two words that rhyme with each spelling word on the list.
Children benefit from using their spelling words over and over again. The more they use them, the faster they will learn to spell them. Plus, by using a variety of different activities, you will be able to reach every type of learner in your classroom.
Do you have any special teaching strategies to make spelling homework more fun? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you do in your classroom.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.