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Here are five days of spelling activities proven effective in Special Ed classes


Language Arts  


1, 2, 3  

Title – Simplified Spelling for Strugglers
By – Laurie Johns
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 1-3

When I teach spelling to my Special Education classes, I have had to gather ideas from many sources to make it work. I am posting this compilation here for others to benefit from. I use the same format for all lessons, just changing the spelling words. My words typically have the same vowel pattern, but you can adapt it to fit most spelling lists.

Day 1 – 30 minutes

      Introduce spelling list words.
      ex. list

lot rot got

      Have the children say the word, spell it, then say it again:

lot l – o – t lot

      Discuss what they think the definition is and have them verbally use it in a sentence (depending on group size pick a kid, or all can think and share), repeat until you’ve covered all words.
      Then get out white boards. I say each sound; they write the letter they hear:



What’s the word? lot

      . Continue through list.
    This concludes with them writing all the list words 4 times each using different colors (crayons, markers, pencils, etc.). That way they have to do each word, then switch to do the others. It cuts out the llll oooo tttt down the list spelling.

Day 2 – 30 minutes

      Review list words again: say the word, spell it, then say it again.
      Worksheet letter shape boxes – write the words in letter shaped boxes that fit the word. Can create this on edhelper.
      Word Chop Worksheet – the list words are divided in half and kids need to piece them together to make the words. Can do on your own or create on edhelper.
      Conclude with Cut-and-Paste – given the list words and letters for each, they must cut out the letters and match them to make the words and paste the letters in order next to the word spelling it.

lot l o t

      (If they have different vowel patterns, create a cut and paste word sort to match the specific patterns)
-ot -op
hot shop
pot hop

    As I said earlier, I do my spelling using the same patterns, so we could use it as a chance to review the last list.

Day 3: – 30 minutes

      Start with saying nothing – show 1 child a spelling list word card and only ask them to say it, spell it, repeat until you’ve gone through the list or all kids had a turn, whichever you like.
      Then give WORKSHEET – Sound Match to Letter page.
      Teacher reads list words and kids have a sheet in front of them with various letters. You have to create this to go with the list words. Pick letters at random to fill in.


l t r o a e t r d

      = ________


sh sm st o a e p d b t

      = ________
      They need to circle the correct letters they hear, then write the word: (


      ) (


      Touch ID Worksheet – the list words are written out and when they hear it, they must touch the word being asked for, repeat by spelling the word to them aloud, repeat again by giving definition they need to find the word.
      Conclude with writing sentences for each word.

    (Can do all or part depending on kids and time)

Day 4: – 30 minutes

      Start off by teacher saying list word aloud, then kids need to all spell together, then say word.
      Put words into ABC order.
      I start out by hanging up my clear shower curtain that has all the ABC’s on it. The kids get the ABC worksheet.
      Their worksheet has all the ABC’s on top. They have the list of words also on the top. I have them on stickies. We do this together. The kids now have a choice, they can either write the words in ABC order crossing out the alphabet on the top as they go or cut and paste the list words in order also crossing out the alphabet as they go (depends on the kid).
      At the same time I have the words on stickies. As kids are working I give them randomly a stickie and they must put it up on my shower curtain. When done, the kids just need to check themselves on the curtain.
      WORK SHEET – Sentences fill-ins with the given words and without the given words. You can create on edhelper or make your own.
      If we have time I’ll throw in:
      Spelling Memory – make up 2 cards of each word on index cards, place face down on floor or table. They just need to find a match.
      Conclude with a word search of spelling words.

    You can also create this on edhelper.

Day 5:

      Before test, I do Spelling Word Stomp as a review. It also gets the test jitters and wiggles out prior to testing. Get out the clear shower curtain with the letters all written on A – Z.

      Kids come and stand around the curtain. I call a student and give them a word to spell. They must step on each letter correctly, then pick another student to go next until all kids have gone.
      Give Spelling TEST.

This has worked well for my special education classes. The repetitive practice helps and the various teaching methods covered hit varied learning styles. You’ll be surprised at your spelling test results.

I have kids with severe emotional handicaps who were throwing papers at me at the beginning of the year and now they enjoy doing this, can sit quietly through tests and are getting good spelling grades. Plus they are carrying this information over into their journal writing and language classes.

E-Mail Laurie Johns !

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