Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spelling in a Techno World

Hello, all! It's Andrew from Mr. First Grade... I wanted to share a spelling tool that I've been utilizing in my classroom for a few years now.  Last week, I had the opportunity to present at our district's technology in-service on Spelling City.  They told me that I'd have an hour and fifteen minutes to talk about the site, so of course I said "YEAH! I'd love to!" and then later, I went "Oh shoot... that's a long time!"  So I did some digging.  The more I dug, the more I found.  Like I said, I've been using it for a few years, and maybe you have as well, but I was BLOWN AWAY by how many features this site has.  Did I mention it's a FREE resource?

When you first sign in, you can create your own spelling/vocabulary lists by clicking on the LIST MANAGEMENT section.  I added all of the spelling lists for our reading series, as well as our sight words, and here's what my lists look like...

You can decide how many lists are available to students for practice by selecting YES/NO under the "published" column.  You can also import lists from other teachers if you don't feel like typing them all in yourself!  On the homepage, you can search for lists - I recommend searching for a title from your reading series, then going to that teacher's page to import all of their lists.  Once you import the lists into YOUR lists, you can also edit the list without altering the original one.  This was especially helpful for me because we add 3 sight words to every spelling list.  I was able to import someone else's Reading Street spelling lists, then go in and add just the 3 extra words.

Speaking of importing lists, here's where my favorite find comes in! Under the Teaching Resources page there's all sorts of goodies like sample lessons and useful word lists.  The word lists include word families with practically every vowel sound, digraph, etc.  There are science and social studies word lists broken up by grade and topic.  The math word lists are broken up by grade level and common core strand... And all you've gotta do is hit "IMPORT" and the words are plopped right into your list management page.  BLEW MY MIND.

When you click on a list, it will bring up all of the options for practice. There's a chunk of free games that students can play, which they love.  You also have the ability to print worksheets of your word lists.  I especially like the handwriting worksheets option... I have handwriting fonts on my computer, but these are automatically generated from your spelling list.  Love it.

There is an option for a premium membership, which works out to roughly $2/student, I believe... Our principal told us that instead of purchasing spelling books for us, which we don't really use anyways, he's going to get us all premium memberships.  *Happy Dance*  With a premium membership, you can add students and assign different lists and activities to different students.  For example, I could add my advanced list to Spelling City, but only assign it to those students who are advanced in spelling.  I could also assign extra practice, such as the "teach me" practice, to my ESL students.  Students can take the test right on the computer.  It logs their score for each test in your grade book, as well as their overall score.  You can exempt students from assignments if they're absent for a few days, AND you can re-assign things to students who need extra practice... I'm pretty pumped to have this for next year!

If you want to give it a shot, OR if you already use it and want to see what else you can do with it, check out their FAQ page.  It's got short videos explaining every aspect of the website!  I highly recommend it... My students love it, and like I said, we only used the free side of it!!

What do you use to keep your students motivated to practice their spelling words in such a technology-driven society?


  1. Love love love Spelling City! Our class had 6 iPads this year and they loved using them to go on Spelling City and practice their words. Such a great resource!

    The Craft of Teaching

  2. I LOVE Spelling City! What a blessing to get the premium membership! I also use it to take tests because the less paper I have to run off, the better! ;)

    I had no idea that there was an option for un-publishing lists. My kids log in at home to practice also and I was always nervous they were also on the previous lists from the year (extra practice doesn't hurt though right).

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. This sounds like an awesome tool to use. I will have to really look into this. Right now I was typing and copying my spelling list for students every week. Using this they could access their lists at home, and they could practice how they need to practice! Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Mrs. 3rd Grade 

  4. I had parents put every words their way list in it. We named it for our first grade team so we can all use it. I want to have them do the spelling tests on there. Goodness that would save time!!!

  5. Vocabulary is important for comprehension. Readers can’t understand what they read without knowing what most words mean. The most profitable and enduring manner through which to strengthen vocabulary skills is to teach students to use word structure to determine meaning. helps to enhance your lexical strength.
    Give a shot..!!