Monday, November 16, 2009


Spelling is very important in the world of grade three, apparently. Jackson did very little spelling in grade 1, as is the trend apparently. Grade 2 he was given a poem one week and in a week he was expected to write it out when dictated. But we were never told how he did on these weekly adventures so it didn't really seem like a spelling test. And truth be told there were usually only a few words Jackson needed to learn.

This year the proverbial gloves are off. Jackson gets a list on Monday and a test on Friday. The words the lad is coming home with are hard core. Coniferous. Responsibility. I barely know how to spell those without my old pal spellcheck.

So we have 4 nights to accomplish this incredible feat of learning spelling words. Jackson, to put it mildly, is not a rote learner. He won't, as many of his classmates might, write out the words 5 times a night and have them down pat.

We must find a thinking boy's way of remembering that it's c-a-m-e-r-a- not c-a-m-a-r-a, even though it kind of sounds like the latter. It goes like this: you take pictures using your eye; eye starts with E, so it's camEra.

We look for words inside of words. There is an "is" in divison. An "ear" in learning.

And sometimes we just try to pound in his head that "shun" at the end of the word is never spelled the way it sounds. It's usually "tion". Unless it's "sion".

Jackson was struggling this week with coniferous. He started by spelling it canefirus. We started by talking about coniferous trees and that they have cones so the word must start with CON. There is an IF inside the word. Then with sheer determination I drilled into his head that there is an ER in there. But the OUS eluded both of us. Each time he spelled coniferus. I would correct his U-S by saying loudly O-U-S. I did it so often that I told him to just hear in his head my yelling O-U-S. That seemed to work.

The past couple weeks Jackson has added some d-e-f-i-a-n-c-e into the spelling sessions. Though he wants to learn the words theoretically, he just doesn't want to stop doing whatever his is doing (current favourite activity torturing his sister) long enough to work on i-n-v-i-s-i-b-l-e.

So he lost some privileges and I found some new grey hairs (they're gone now) and we battled through two weeks of spelling with good success on the weekly tests.

This week Daddy will have the privilege of battling the spelling monster. If it works out I might just fake an injury next week.

1 comment:

Ellie said...

I am so dreading the spelling quizzes - G is still is first grade, so we aren't there yet. She gets frustrated with me SO quickly every time we do homework ... I foresee some trouble in this area.

I LOVE the tricks you're using to help with spelling... and I don't have to spell coniferous often, but when I do I will totally picture you yelling O-U-S! in my head.