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Friday, May 29, 2009

Ten Spelling Games and Lessons... and a Laugh

Last night Kavya Shivashankar was crowned champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee 2009. If you're students would like to get started on preparing for next year's competition they can test their skills on this sample test from Scripps. Below the video are other resources your students can use to develop their spelling skills.

1. Spelling Wizard from Scholastic.com lets students, parents, and teachers create their own word search and word scramble games to play online. Each game can have up to ten words. To use Spelling Wizard simply enter ten words into the list field then select word search or word scramble. Spelling Wizard is probably best suited for students in Kindergarten through second grade. Scholastic also offers a free tool for creating online spelling flashcards.

2. Read Write Think has an online activity for young (K-2) students based on four childrens' books. Read Write Think's Word Wizard asks students to select one of four books that they have read or have had read to them. After selecting a book the Word Wizard creates a simple online spelling exercise based on the words in the book chosen by the child.

3. Spell Bee was developed at Brandeis University with funding from the National Science Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Spell Bee allows students to play spelling games in a head-to-head format. Spell Bee allows teachers to create accounts for students so that teachers can track student progress.

4. MSNBC has an interactive spelling bee based on the words from the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. There are three games to play and the words get progressively more difficult the longer you play. The words are read to students who then type the word into the spelling box. Just like in a real spelling bee, students can get the definition and or hear it used in a sentence. The difficulty of the words in the game make it best suited for middle school and high school students.

5. Spelling Bee The Game is an online spelling bee similar in style to the MSNBC game mentioned above. After selecting an avatar (game persona), students hear words read to them and have to type the correct spelling in the fields provided. If a student spells a word correctly, they move on to the next level. If a student does not spell a word correctly, they are given an easier word to try. If students need help spelling a word, they can hear the definition read as well as hear the word used in a sentence.

6. Kids Spell provides eight free games that help students learn to spell more than 6,000 words. Kids Spell is a part of the Kids Know It Network. The Kids Know It Network provides educational games for all content areas taught in grades K-6.

7. Spin and Spell has been featured on a number of blogs over the last year. Spin and Spell asks students to select a picture and then spell the name of the item. Alternatively, students can have word select for them and then identify the correct corresponding image.

8. GamesGames.com offers sixteen free spelling games. Most of the games seem to be designed with grades 3, 4, and 5 in mind.

9. Spelling City is a resource that Jim Moulton shared in his Best of Web 2008 presentation at the ACTEM conference in October. Spelling City not only offers games, it also offers the capability for students to type a word and hear it pronounced.

10. Catch the Spelling offers more than two dozen categories of spelling games. Each game has the same format; as words fall from the top of the screen, players have to "catch" the appropriate letters in the correct sequence to spell the word displayed at the top of the game. Players "catch" letters by moving a cursor at the bottom of the page. In some ways it reminded me of a cross between Tetris and Frogger.

This moment from last year's Scripps National Spelling Bee comes to us in the style of "Kids Say the Darndest Things." If you've had a long week of teaching, this might give you a nice laugh.

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