Plus, I must confess I LOVE to "teach". In college I studied and obtained an elementary education degree. I taught 5th grade my first year out of college, substitute taught another two years and then left the teaching profession. However, teaching is part of my innermost being and I certainly love being able to use my gift to help Josiah, his teacher, and classroom of friends. Indeed, we have wrestled with home schooling Josiah, but we feel that isn't the best choice or decision for him/me/us right now. So, I'll stick to volunteering in the classroom and teaching kids about Jesus at our church, The Ransom :).
Anyway.....here is a repertoire of my "bag of tricks" in case any of you need to "spice up" spelling test practice with your kids. Some of these "tricks" are geared toward younger kids while some of them are suitable for any age. The last game is our favorite review game!!
- Word Cheers--Spelling Word Cheers (I printed and laminated these cards created by first grade teacher, Heather Price. We pick one out for each different spelling word or you could use a different cheer for all the words each night you practice.)
- Stencils--Give your child a set of stencils to practice spelling words.
- Scrabble-- If you have a scrabble board, dump out all of your letter tiles and have your child try and fit all of their spelling words on the board.
- Pom Poms-- Use pom poms to spell out words.
- Index Cards-- Have your child copy down their spelling words on individual index cards. Have them sort them in ABC order and rewrite them in ABC order on separate piece of paper.
- Stamps--Have your child use stamps and ink pads to spell their words.
- Wipe Off Boards-- Give your child a white board to write their words on while you orally give them.
- Play dough-- Give your child play dough to write/shape their spelling words.
- Colored Sand-- Place colored sand in a rectangular shaped disposable plastic container and provide an UNsharpened pencil for your child to practice writing their words in the sand.
- Flashcards-- Use letter flashcards to spell out words.
- Foam shapes-- Write alaphabet letters on foam shapes and kids arrange them to spell words. These came out of a boxed game no longer use.
- Pipe Cleaners-- Bend pipe cleaners into letters to spell out words.
- Computer-- Type each spelling word in different fonts and/or color on the computer.
- Magnetic Letters-- Use magnetic letters to spell out words on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. I suggest buying 3-4 sets so you have plenty of vowels.
- Roll & Write-- Number spelling words according to a board game dice (or two die if more words). Roll dice and have child write corresponding spelling word. I also have used this game to provide more intensive work on just a few spelling words Josiah specifically needs to concentrate on.
- Tip It-- I randomly placed circle stickers (leftover from a garage sale) on a light weight pizza pan. Balance the pizza pan on a 2 liter bottle (with or without liquid still in it). Assign different colored counting bears for child and parent. After parent gives each word, he/she should place counting bear on pizza pan. Then, child spells the words (up to you whether they spell words orally or on paper). If the child spells words correctly they DO NOT place a counting bear on the pan. But, if they do spell it incorrectly, they place on of their counting bears on the pan. Students will quickly learn it is important to strategically place them on the pizza pan to avoiding "tipping" the pan. Whoever tips the pan first loses and the winner gets a treat, coin, special privilege, etc.... So, the object is NOT to tip the pan. This is also a great review game for other subject areas-- reviewing for social studies/science tests, math facts, etc...
Of course, all of these activities/games can be adapted to your family's/student's needs. Does your family have any fun review games/ideas you use with your kids? We would love to hear them :)
Also, I have found some math fact review ideas, as well. I would be happy to share those too, if there is enough interest. Just let me know.