The Spelling Thrill
Spelling is a difficult and mundane matter to teach, however, I have experimented with it and created quite an effective way to teach it. The procedures below are best suited for Polish ESL students, therefore they may need some adjustment in cases of other native languages.
STEP 1: Even if students already know the alphabet, they may not be proficient in spelling, which is naming letters without the context of memorized alphebetic order. That is why I selected groups of letters whose names are often confused. They are (in the case of Polish Ss):
A - I - E
C - K - S
G - J - H
V - W
Also, there are letters whose names sound very unusual and as such are hard to remember. They are:
K , Q , R , U , X , Y , Z.
The first step is to quickly pre-teach the names of the letters by putting them in the board and saying their names loud and clear a couple of times (preferably fist in the order and them pointing at random at individual letters). Then students are asked to name the letters T is pointing at, first as a class, then individual Ss are picked to name a letter in a turn. Peer-correction is welcome.
STEP 2: Divide the group into two subgroups. Each subgroup needs to elect the representative. After that, T selects a word (preferrably containg as many difficult letters as possible, e.g. Worcester, washing machine, Lady Godiva, etc). Teacher writes strokes referring to the letters on the board. Each group in turn take their guesses and each guesses letter is scored 1. When the group has guesses a letter, they get an extra point.
STEP 3. When the word / expression has been guesses, the representative of the group must correctly spell it. If it is the case, the group wins and points scored in the turn by the other group are added to the winner. However, if the representative of the winning group does not spell the word correctly, the other group's representative gets his / her chance. If s/he spells it correctly, then the group gets all the competitor's points. The group with the highest score wins and should be awarded (if their enthusiasm is not enough).
On the class following the game, the results of its efficacy may be checked in a traditional way such as a quiz.
Marcin Widmanski, Opole, Poland.
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