Today my friend Liz and I presented a workshop at WestCAST on “No more boring spelling worksheets!” This was the first time either of us had presented at a conference so it provided a great opportunity to share some of our own learning with our fellow student teachers.
Last Fall, we got to talking about our experiences working as educational assistants in Calgary schools. The elementary students we supported with literacy were struggling to spell high frequency words and this was affecting their ability to communicate their thoughts in writing. Also, the one-size-fits-all spelling worksheets that their teachers were using each week were not helping them to become better spellers. Instead students were memorizing words for the Friday test and forgetting them by Monday.
There had to be a different approach that would benefit our students. Our workshop explored a number of questions:
- How can we personalize instruction in a class of 30?
- How do we make our lessons meaningful for each student?
- How do we encourage skill transfer across the curriculum?
- How do we communicate to students this is an important skill to develop?