This is my new Track Game Board that I use in my Spelling Lessons. I have upgraded it from my last track – this one is new and more exciting and I had a great time making it. I selected a space theme because I salvaged some space ship pieces from a game we threw out.
Each student places their space-ship on the Blast Off (Start) button and sits ready with a small whiteboard around the track. In a larger classroom, you could have four groups each sitting around the same game board. It doesn’t need to be big or fancy – it can either be printed out from the internet or you could get creative and in those first few days of school year get each group to make their own game board as a group/team building exercise.
I call out a spelling word, kids write them on their whiteboards. When I say, “fire” they hold up the boards. If spelt correctly, they dice and move on, hopefully not getting slimed by aliens along the way. I like this game becasue everyone is playing at the same time. I usually pull out enough dice so that each student has their own. This eliminates arguments as they race their way to Planet Zybrotron before the bell rings – named by Junior Son himself.
I don’t usually focus on practicing just spelling words as I believe that transferring spelling skills into sentence writing is the ultimate goal rather than rote learning a list of words. In games like this, I focus more on spelling rules and “writing what I hear.” However, there is a place for quick spelling games and review and these are some of my favourites. You will see I use mini-whiteboards quite a lot as they are quick, easy and help promote a lot of quick thinking and automaticity in spelling.
- King of the World: King has a crown and “owns” the board. (I even have a dress-up crown for him.) A challenger knight comes up to the board. I call out a spelling word and both write it on the board. If both get the word correct, the King stays in. If the Knight gets it correct he stays in and becomes the King.
- Dice Game: Using our mini-whiteboards again, we take turns to roll the dice for some of the harder words. Six on the dice means write the word six times. There is no time for grumbling when we hit a six…just get cracking.
- Desks up: I warn them that we need to do this quietly because if my boss walks in and sees us sitting on the desk, I might get into big trouble. They believe me too. Everyone sits on their desks with the mini-whiteboards. I call out a word. When I say “fire” (or shoot or some other great word chosen by one of the kids,) they all hold up their boards. If they get the word wrong they have to climb off the desk, onto the chair, write the word correctly three times and then hop back on.
- “Teacher Teacher”: Just before the bell goes, kids line up and ask, “Teacher Teacher may I go back to class/out to lunch?” and I respond, “Not until you write (spelling word) on the board.” If incorrect they go to the back of the line. Last year I had a group who by the end of the year took great pride in making up things like “Ruler of the world, please let me go back to my dungeon.” I love it when my students call me “Ruler of the world!”
I have lots of other games up my sleeve and there are thousands of great ideas around. I love the ones I just mentioned because they are quick, easy and I have used them all successfully. I plan to do another blog post soon on the strategies I use to aid transference of spelling into writing.
Do you have some great quick and easy spelling games? I would love to hear about them.