An edublog about integrating technology into the classroom.
World Spelling Day
What it is: World Spelling Day is brought to you by the same folks who hold World Math Day. This year (2011) World Spelling Day is taking place on March 3. Don’t wait, sign your kids up now and they can start practicing! World Spelling Day is a world-wide competition between students where they engage in live games of spelling. Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play up to 100 games to earn points for their personal tally. Students can play more than 100 games during the event but only 100 count toward the Spellometer. Students who answer the most correct question will appear in the World Spelling Day Hall of Fame. World Spelling Day has 5 levels to play and 20 games at each level. Just like World Math Day school age students (4-18 years old), individual children, and homeschoolers can register and participate. Register as many or as few students as you want (for free!). Even better, if you already registered for World Math Day, your login credentials will work on the World Spelling Day website!
How to integrate World Spelling Day into the classroom: It couldn’t be easier to get your students involved, just sign them up by registering, pass out usernames and passwords and away you go. Students can play in a computer lab setting (they like to try to login at exactly the same time so they can play against each other in games) or on classroom computers in 60 second rotations. The 60 second time limit on games makes it easy to pass all of your students through a World Spelling Day center on classroom computers. In addition, students can take their login information home with them to play at home. World Spelling Day takes place every March, now that you know it is coming, plan to make it an Olympic type event in your classroom. I have been known to hold opening ceremonies in my classroom prior to the event.
Since your students are competing against students from around the world, why not use the competition to practice using a map and identifying countries? Since I had a Promethean board, I did this digitally with a Google Map. Each time a student competed against a country, they would come up to the board and put a “pin” in the map. Don’t have an interactive whiteboard? The paper map and actual pins are just as fun!
Tips: There is a free World Spelling Day app for the iPad, you can get it here.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using World Spelling Day in your classroom!
What it is: What makes technology SO great is the way that it can make life (and teaching) more productive and fun. Over the years, I have found so many ways that technology can make reading more rewarding for both kids who love to read, and kids who dread reading. Today, I created an “Extreme Speed Booking” website for @michellek107′s class at Anastasis. I created the site quickly using Weebly, an awesome WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) website editor. Drag and drop website building is where it is at! The idea behind the site is to introduce students to a variety of books and form classroom book groups. How does Extreme Speed Booking work? A whole lot like speed dating. :) Students spend a little time with each book and then rate them accordingly with “I want to read more”, “Interesting”, “Not for me”, or “I’ve already read”. Students can also make a note of how interested they are in reading the book (maybe a 1-10 scale)? This process introduces students to a variety of books, genres and authors. Students may come across titles and authors they wouldn’t otherwise find. It also helps teachers form classroom book groups that are of high-interest and investment to students because they had input.
For our purposes at Anastasis, I created the Weebly website with a link to the “look inside” on Amazon. Because all of our students have an iPad, this was the simplest way to get the book preview into the hands of the students. Don’t have technology? No problem! Just make sure that you have enough copies of books so that each student can sit with the physical book during the Extreme Speed Booking sessions. If you have classroom computers, you can do a blend of both.
Explain to your students that they will have 2 minutes with each book. During that time, they can choose to read the introduction or first chapter, read the book jacket, or flip through and look at chapter titles and pictures. The goal during this time is to discover whether this is a book that they would like to read. It is okay if it isn’t a book they would want to read…the goal is to find out which book they are most excited about. After the two minutes is up, sound a bell that signifies it is time to switch. Before they switch, students can quickly make a note of the Title and rate the book. Continue on until students have had 2 minutes with each book. Collect the notes students have made and formulate book groups based on interest in the book.
I’ve added a few extra pages to our Extreme Speed Booking website including places where students can explore other books that they may like to read (Shelfari and Book Wink). I’ve also added a form that book groups can fill out as they are reading. The form gets emailed directly to the teacher. Our students will probably be blogging quite a bit of reflection about their reading. I thought it might also be useful to have a place for groups to answer questions, make comments, or update their teacher with their progress as a group.
@michellek107 created a Google form for her students to fill out while they are speed booking. Great idea! She is so smart. This will make it easy to collect all of the responses in one place to form groups.
Suggestions for books:
Choose books from a variety of levels, make sure you have a few book options for each reading level in your classroom.
Choose a variety of authors and genres, this is a great way to expose students to authors and genres they don’t normally seek out on their own.
Set up classroom computers with some book trailer videos from a site like Book Wink…this is a great “introduction” to a book or genre and acts much like a movie trailer.
Choose a variety of books from ONE author. After students have completed reading in their smaller groups, they can come back together and do an author study as a whole class; each group contributing something a little different.
Choose a variety of books from ONE genre. Students can read books in the smaller groups but discuss common features of the genre as a class.
Choose a variety of books on a similar topic. Students can read books in the smaller groups and then discuss the different character perspectives, author approaches, etc. This would be really neat to do with historical fiction, Holocaust fiction, etc.
Use non-fiction books that reinforce topics and themes that you are using in other academic areas.
Use biographies of presidents, change makers, authors, etc. Students can learn about a specific person in the smaller reading group and share what they have learned with the larger group later.
Tips:Extreme Speed Booking is a lot of fun with tech, but equally doable without tech! If you have access to a 1-1 tech environment, or can reserve the computer lab for a round of speed booking, you can use my technique above. Weebly makes it very easy to do this!
If you haven’t already, check out Shelfari and create a virtual bookshelf of book recommendations for your class or school. You can see our Shelfari shelf for Anastasis below. If you teach 3rd-12th grade it is worth checking out Book Wink!