Lesson: Spelling Centers

Author: Marc Sheehan

Source of Idea: Kathy Kuldanek, Camelot Elementary (Federal Way, WA)

Subjects: Spelling, Writing

Instructional Level: Can be used from first through sixth grades

Skills: Spelling in written and oral formats: writing words, spelling out loud

Time: 30-40 minutes

Materials: Spelling lists, pencils, crayons or markers, letter magnets, word searches using spelling words (Puzzlemaker is an excellent source), dry erase markers, erasers, white boards, chalk, small chalkboards, lists of specific spelling centers, manila folders

Objectives: Students will practice and improve their spelling skills.

Introduction: I used spelling centers during a long-term substituting assignment in the Spring of 2004. My students were allowed to practice their weekly spelling words in a variety of ways: finding them in a word search, writing them on paper three times each in different colors, writing them on a white board, using letter magnets to create the words, spelling them with a partner, and writing them on paper while hiding the words in a folder.

Procedure: The number of centers can vary according to your wishes, supplies, and time. I required the students to complete at least three centers from a list of as many as seven options. Each student received a paper listing the various options. The students could work alone or with others and choose where to start and where to move to (They could also be assigned where to start working and when/where to move). The list was to be turned in at the end of the period of 30-40 minutes. The options I used were:
* Word Searches: The students would find the words in a word serach I created through Puzzlemaker.
* Cover and Write: The students would look at a list, then hide the list in a folder before writing the words on a piece of paper. The students would check their work when done to judge their accuracy, then repeat 3-4 times.
* Rainbow Writing: The students would write the words 3 times each in different colors.
* Write on the Board: Students would write the words on the white board using dry erase markers. This option could be altered to write on chalkboards using chalk.
* Spell with Magnets: Students would make the words with magnets and attach them to a metal surface (a white board would work for this).
* Spell with a Partner: Students would take turns quizzing each others on their spelling words.
* Spell with Eyes Closed: The students would look at the words, then spell them out loud with their eyes closed.
* Other options could include: Creating flashcards using the words, using letter tiles to make the words, writing the words in clay or sand, or writing sentences using the words.

Closure/Modifications: At the end of the session, the students will hand in their lists of spelling centers to show how many centers they completed. Options can be altered or added/deleted for students with disabilities as part of their IEP goals and modifications: requiring fewer tasks, accepting verbal responses in place of written responses, and/or altering materials for students with physical or visual impairments to make the materials more usable.

Assessment: How many centers did the students complete? Did they complete the required number of centers?

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