Children focus on one spelling pattern, or rule, for 2 weeks and develop their confidence and understanding of the words along the way. The 2 week block follows the same pattern each week allowing the children to focus solely on learning and understanding the spellings rather than learn how to do new activities. They will not bring home a list of spellings to learn each week for a spelling test as research has shown this in not an effective way to embed spelling knowledge. Instead they will have opportunities to test their growing spelling abilities in every lesson.
The first activity the children will do is called the Spelling Zone. These fun videos introduce children to the spelling focus from the 3 aliens who guide children through spellings from year 2-6.
Dots and Dashes
Next, children will dot, dash and smile. This is where they will revisit their phonics knowledge in order to build upon this to understand new spelling patterns,
This activity gives children a root word and asks them to apply the new spelling pattern to that word. For example, changing the root word leaf to leaves using their spelling pattern of making plurals. This is a great opportunity to master and deepen grammar knowledge as they’ll learn more about suffixes, prefixes etc.
Dictation is so important as when we are writing in other lessons we have so much to focus on: thinking of a sentence, adding good vocabulary, making our sentence effective for the reader and so many more things to think about! When we are doing dictation the children can focus solely on handwriting and spelling as an effective way to embed the spelling focus in a context.
Four in a Row
Here children challenge each other to get 4 spellings in a row correct. If children make mistakes they work to correct them and explain why this is correct. Again, this is an opportunity to develop spelling knowledge rather than just test it.
Choose The Right Word
This activity ensures that children know the meaning of the new words they’re learning to spell and can use them correctly in a sentence. This encourages the children to use them in their own writing and is much more effective in ensuring the spellings we teach are reflected in their writing ability not just a Friday spelling test.
Team teach then gives the children the opportunity to teach their friends ways they have learnt the words. This lets the children take ownership of the teaching and learning and research has shown that if you can teach a skill then you have truly mastered it.
Jumping Red and Orange Words
The final element of a two week block is all about teaching red and orange words. Red words are introduced in phonics in EYFS and Key Stage one and these are words that don’t sound how they look. Orange words are the common exception words and these are words that are commonly spelt incorrectly and we teach these using a range of different techniques to help these tricky words stick in the children’s memory. Below are a range of ways in which we teach these words.