|From Bembo's Zoo at http://www.bemboszoo.com/|
|From Poisson Rouge at http://www.poissonrouge.com/abc/index.htm|
That's OK, but the fun starts when you click on an image. Sometimes there's just a little animation, sometimes there's a game. In this one you match the cake ingredients to their silhouettes and then they pour into the cake tin. Finally your cake gets baked. Mind you, I've always had a problem with virtual cake - it's only virtual!
|From Poisson Rouge at http://www.poissonrouge.com/abc/index.htm|
I guess they would make nice little starters or rewards in primary classes if your have an interactive whiteboard or computer and projector. But I do think interactive whiteboard activities need to stimulate learners to do a bit more than that. Perhaps it's just fun for kids to play with on their own - to develop a love of letters.
Any primary teachers or homeschoolers out there - tell us what you think. Useful or not for helping with spelling? How?
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteres are at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a tatol mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.
Did it indeed come from Cambridge University? Matt Davis of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit there has written a response at
http://www.mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk/people/matt.davis/Cmabrigde/ . It makes for very interesting reading and explores whether you can do the same thing in other languages.
If you haven't got time to read that, you might like to watch this video instead:
Which ways do you use?
Which ways don't you use, but might try?
Which ways wouldn't you use?
Any others I've missed?
It looks like this:
Before you download the LSCWC template though, let me explain how it works.
In the first column, the learner copies the word very carefully (spending a lot of time learning the wrong spelling would be rather a disaster!). They also say the word and spell it aloud letter by letter. This helps them to notice differences in pronunciation and spelling.
They count the number of letters and write this figure in the second column. This helps them to see they've written it correctly (not left any letters out or doubled one that should be single, for example) and also helps when they are learning the word.
Next they look at the word and see if there is anything unusual about the spelling or anything they think might be difficult to remember. They can either write it in the third column or overwrite the 'hard spot' in the word in the first column with a different colour pen. This should make it stand out and therefore be easier to memorise visually.
In the fourth column learners make any notes about ways to remember. It could be a mnemonic, something about the etymology, a related or similar word or part of a word, broken down into morphemes, etc.
Their final job before they cover the word is to establish the word shape. They write the word on the middle horizontal line in column five, using the squares to show where there are sticks (tall letters) and tails (letters that drop below the line). Then they draw around the outline of the word. This helps to fix the image of the word-shape in the mind. They look away and try to 'see' the word in their mind's eye.
Then they cover the word and the first five columns. They try to 'see' the word again and then write it in the first WRITE column. They check and if it's correct they tick in the next Check column. Then they write it again, to make sure they weren't just lucky the first time! Later they test themselves again in the final column.
If they get the spelling wrong, they cross out the bit that was wrong and try to work out why they made that mistake. Then try again.
You can also print out the cover card for your students to use to cover the words. The card has reminders and hints about what to write in each column. You can laminate the card, so it can be reused.
You are very welcome to use the template with your learners (or for yourself). If the little boxes in column five have distorted when I converted it to a PDF, sorry about that. The chart will also be in my book, Teaching Spelling to English language Learners due out spring 2011, and I'll make sure it's perfect in that.
I'd be very grateful for any feedback on the chart when you've used it.
In case you missed them, you might like to look at these postings on The Spelling Blog:
Look Say Cover Write and Check:
Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners:
and the link to the Look Say Cover Write Check template on GoogleDocs is:
People assume that I do because I'm interested in spelling, but I don't. Really, I don't! True, it makes me angry if I receive a sloppy letter from someone who is meant to be providing a service for me - like an estate agent or bank - because it makes me think they may be sloppy in other ways too. Oh, and I do think teachers should edit their writing carefully too.
We all make mistakes sometimes and we don't always see them when editing. Yes, yes, we should use a spell-check but, hey, sometimes life's a bit short for that. And, really, there are worse crimes in the world than misspelling a word that seem to get a lot less aggressive criticism. It really is pitiful to read vicious attacks on other people's spelling - attacks so badly written that they are full of spelling mistakes of the aggressor's own.
Anyway, this is a preamble to this wonderful video I have just come across of Stephen Fry agreeing with me! And it's a beautiful example of 'kinetic typography' by Matthew Rogers.
As Fry says, sometimes people DO need to spell and grammar (there, I've verbified a noun!) properly and that's why I do what I do. If you lack spelling knowledge or strategies and this creates an obstacle in job applications or exams then something needs to be done.
So watch, enjoy and comment below! Do you agree with Stephen Fry? And me?
Stephen Fry Kinetic Typography - Language from Matthew Rogers on Vimeo.
I originally found this here.
Remember if you buy any of these products (or anything else) from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk via the links here or above, the small commission I earn will be sent to The Afghan Reading Project.
Details about The Language Show.
So what is a Full-Body Spelling Workout? The Spelling Blog regulars will know that I favour multi-sensory methods of improving spelling. This session will be wall-to-wall multi-sensory activities for all ages. It will include:
- Ways to help students write similar-sounding words
- Ways to help weaker spellers visualise words (as good spellers seem to do naturally)
- Things to do with your hands (that help to remember spellings)
- Things to do with your brain (that help you to remember too)
- A spelling gym - been meaning to do some exercise? Learn spelling at the same time!
- A chance for your feet to get in on the act too.
My session, (whole title: Hands-On, Eyes-On Feet-On! Full-Body Spelling Workout) is on at 13.15 (till 14.00) on Sunday 17th Oct.
By the way, volunteers will be invited to participate in a great game that you need to take your shoes off for, so make sure there are no embarrassing holes in your socks ;-)
Hope to see you there.
We'd love to know. Tell us in the AnswerGarden word cloud below by either clicking on an existing word or phrase that you agree with or writing something new in the box. You can only contribute once every 24 hours. And you have to keep it short. (If you want to say more please leave a Comment in the usual way.)
Trickiest thing about English spelling... at AnswerGarden.ch.
|Word cloud of Remedial Spelling in EFL by Johanna Stirling at http://www.elgweb.net/spelling_article.html|
Hope the spelling article's useful and you enjoy the Tagxedo.
- he says the more people text the better their literacy scores - you need to be able to spell well to be able to abbreviate that spelling,
- he claims dyslexics are not good at texting,
- teachers and examiners report that texting abbreviations are very rarely found in children's and young people's examination answers.
David Crystal - Texts and Tweets: Myths and realities
Or if you want to read more, see David Crystal's book Txting: the gr8 db8
Buy this book or anything else from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com via these links (or any other link on the blog) and I receive a small commission which will be passed on to the Afghan Reading Project .
- Challenging Spite
- Angelic Penlights
- Glistening Chapel
- Lightening Places
And can you work out these anagrams? Again all on the same theme, but this time anagrams of three different words or phrases.
- Clean lips
- Holographic Rat
- Legible pens
I really like this phrase made out of two anagrams of each other:
Should we use anagrams to teach spelling?
It depends. People who spell quite well often enjoy the challenge of them. It encourages them to look at words carefully and to think about the spelling. So this may be helpful in moderation.
People who have big problems with spelling usually don’t enjoy them. They have enough trouble with spelling – they just don’t need someone to go messing up the letters deliberately, thank you very much! Those with serious spelling problems may feel that every written word is like a puzzle to be solved anyway.
Much more useful for these learners is finding letter sequences in words that make new words. Finding ‘a rat’ in ‘separate’ really helps with the spelling. I wrote a post about this (with activities) at http://thespellingblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/spelling-long-words-1.html
Did it take ages to make those anagrams?
No, I cheated! Just go to http://wordsmith.org/anagram/ , which is an internet anagram server (I, rearrangement servant), put in your word or phrase, and a list of anagrams, mostly meaningless, is offered up. Great fun ... if you can spell. But, be careful, it's addictive!
Bye for now
Alright, no Ninjas.
Here are some very public and very embarrassing spelling errors:
A very public mistake was made by the Chilean mint. Thousands of coins were issued with a misspelling of the country's own name - the word 'Chiie' was stamped on them instead of 'Chile'. Incredibly, nobody noticed the error for a year. The Chilean mint decided not to take them out of circulation and now they are becoming collectors' items. So if you've got any Chilean coins lying around, take a close look to see if they are in fact 'Chiiean'.
In the recent British general election, UKIP (UK Independence Party) candidates made a number of spelling gaffes. One sent out a leaflet from the 'UK Independance Party'. And another published a poster saying he was 'fighting for Britian'. This candidate later claimed that it had been a deliberate error to create interest and discussion. Of course we believe him!
The most recent one I've seen is not IN English but BY the English and it is rather embarrassing because of where it is rather than what it is. The new glass doors to the Classics building at Cambridge University needed some kind of decor to make sure people saw them and didn't walk through the glass. So the University decided on a quotation from Aristotle: “All men by nature desiring to know” written in Greek, but unfortunately the Greek “Σ” in ΦYΣEI – or phusei, “by nature” – has been written as an English “S”. There is also a mechanical problem with these automatic doors and they are very slow - which gives each student plenty of time to contemplate the spelling while they wait for the doors to open.
In March 2009 The Daily Telegraph reported on the spelling mistakes found on the blog belonging to John Knight who was then the Schools Minister. They found the following: "maintainence", "convicned", "curently", "similiar", "foce", "pernsioners", "reccess" and "archeaological". Most of these look like typing errors to me and Mr Knight himself is quoted as saying, "When I was at school the teachers told me to always check my work. While my spelling is generally pretty good, I need to focus more on checking." Yes, you do Mr Knight. But wait a minute, the Telegraph should also check its work carefully when it complains about his 'mispellings' - in other words his 'pelling mistakes'. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/4522525/Education-ministers-blog-littered-with-spelling-mistakes.html
The unfortunate Mr Brown, when he was Prime Minister, made a small spelling mistake which caused offence. He personally wrote, by hand, to every family who had a member killed in battle in Afghanistan. Mr Brown is partially blind and has to use a thick pen to make the letters clear for himself. It is said that he has a 'unique' handwriting style and it is at times difficult to read. However, he had clearly misspelled the surname of Grenadier Guardsman Jamie Janes, who had been killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, as Jamie James. The bereaved mother, on reading the letter, was so angry about it that she sold the story to a newspaper. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/2720283/Prime-Minister-Gordon-Brown-couldnt-even-get-our-name-right.html .
And here is a flyer I received a few years ago and just had to keep (sorry Collins!). I'm not sure it's such a good advert for their 'dicationary':
Finally, this is not really about spelling but has to be my favourite blunder. In Wales road signs have to be in Welsh as well as English. So when a road sign was made saying "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only", the local authority emailed their in-house translation service to ask for the Welsh translation. They got a very quick reply, copied it onto the sign below the English and installed the road signs. Only those who spoke Welsh knew that the translation of 'Nid wyf yn y swyddfa ar hyn o bryd. Anfonwch unrhyw waith i'w gyfieithu" is "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated". Love it!!! http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7702913.stm
Any mistakes you find in this article, or in the blog as a whole, are of course entirely deliberate and just to create interest and discussion!
Do you know of any other public or embarrassing spelling mistakes? Any of your own?
How carefully do you check your spelling?
If you're a teacher, how do you encourage your students to edit?
1. Look at these football scores – do you think they are likely?
Brazil 2-5 South Africa
Argentina 4–3 Greece
USA 2–4 Algeria
2. Why do you think they have been given those scores? (Hint: vowels).
3. Think of two other matches that could be played in the World Cup. What are the ‘scores’ (from the number of vowels in the country names)?
4. Print off the worksheet below. Look at Part A only, not Part B. Write in the ‘scores’ in Part A. Do as many as you want.
5. Decide how likely you think each score is in the real World Cup. Highlight the ones that you predict might be true. When the World Cup gets going, see how many you got right.
6. But before that, look at the spelling of the countries. Learn the spelling of any you don’t know. If there are a lot you don’t know, just choose the most important ones to learn. Concentrate on the vowels. Use Look Say Cover Write and Check to learn the spellings (See http://thespellingblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/look-say-cover-write-and-check-lscwc.html )
7. Now look at Part B but don’t look at Part A (or any notes you made while learning the spellings). Don’t cheat!! Identify the countries and fill in the vowels.
8. Check your answers in Part A.
9. Enjoy the World Cup!
World Cup Spelling
I have just returned from a trip to Malaysia and was interested to see many English loanwords in Bahasa Malaysian (the Malay language) where the spelling has been changed to reflect their own spelling conventions and in some cases their pronunciation too. So you might ...
• ... go to work by bas
• ... nibble on a biskut
• ...put your car in the garaj
• ... buy a ticket at the kaunter
• ... be late for your English kelas
• ... buy a new komputer
• ... take a teksi
• ... watch televisyen, or
• ... visit a ...
I am writing this from a trip around the some Balkan countries and my host informs me that in Slovene and Croatian when English words are used the original spelling is retained, whereas Serbia prefers to keep true to its own spelling conventions so loanword spellings are changed to reflect that.
What about in another language that you know? When words are ‘borrowed’ from other languages, is the spelling altered?
Interesting? You might like these previous posts:
What you can do:
- Browse the great links here in my Diigo Spelling Group.
- Join the Spelling Group and add your own links .
Which words do you find difficult to spell?
Here we're going to look at 10 words native speakers find most difficult to spell and ways to remember the spelling. Next time (or very soon) we'll look at the words that non-native speakers have most trouble with and how to remember those spellings.
(Photo from vancouverfilmschool at Flickr)
This word comes from minute (tiny), not mini, so there's a u after the min not i.
We can remember it has double l because it's like million, but what about the double n? I just think of the year 2000 and remember there are 2 n's.
If you are embarrassed you have two red cheeks, so there is a double r.
If a word ends with a consonant, vowel, consonant (CVC) pattern we double the final consonant before adding a suffix beginning with a vowel. However, if the CVC syllable is unstressed we don't double the consonant, eg open > opening. Here the stress is on the final syllable ocCUR, so we double the r.
The most misspelled word! Just remember: "The best accommodation has two double beds" (double c and double m).
(Photo from toddwight1 at Flickr)
If you have perseverance you are willing to do something several times before you get it right.
This word literally means to sit on top of something (to replace it). So super is 'on top of' and sede is 'sit' (think of sedentary).
Normally we drop a final e before a suffix beginning with a vowel (like > likable, persevere > perseverance). However, if the letter before the final e is a c or g with a soft sound (as in notice or outrage) we need to keep the e before a suffix that begins with a, o or u, because c and g are only usually soft before e and i. So we write notice + able = noticeable and outrage + ous = outrageous.
The word harass (and harassment) may come from an Old French word meaning 'to set a dog on' (to get a dog to attack somebody or something). Whether this is true or not, we can remember that a dog harasses a hare, so just one r. If you have trouble remembering how many s's you might like to think about which part of the hare the dog bites first! (Photo of Hare by Daveynin at Flickr)
When you have an inoculation they only use one needle. Just one n. In fact there are no double doses (no double letters) in the word.
Without looking at the words above, on a piece of paper, write the words according to the clues below:
1. A hotel, hostel or apartment, for example.
2. To annoy or repeatedly attack somebody.
3. 1000 years.
4. Very, very small.
5. Replace something with a newer type.
6. A feeling of shyness or shame.
7. You can see something easily, obvious.
8. The quality of continuing with something although it is difficult.
9. Something that happens, an event.
10. An injection which prevents you from getting a disease.
Other related posts on The Spelling Blog:
How do you spell...
5 reasons why English spelling is difficult
Mnemonics for tricky spellings
-able or -ible?
What I like about it is that it teaches about prefixes and suffixes rather than just tests. There are loads of spelling activities on the web that are great if you just want to test your spelling. Most of the people I work with have problems with spelling and so they need help, not just something that reconfirms that their spelling is poor.
Let us know if you have other sites that have teaching rather than testing activities for spelling.
By the way, thanks to the award-winning teachertrainingvideos.com for leading me to this. There are other spelling sites examined there too, but most of them do test rather than teach. The notable exception is the wonderful Spelling City which I've written about before here.
Other related posts on The Spelling Blog:
Spelling Long Words - Prefixes
Confusing Prefixes - dis and dys
Confusing Prefixes - anti and ante
Look Say Cover Write and Check
Look at these words. What do you notice about the sound and the spelling?
wander, want, watch, wash, swallow, warrior, swap, wannna
And now these:
walk, wall, war, warm, water, wardrobe, warning, towards, dwarf
Hopefully you noticed that all the words begin with, or contain, the letters wa.
In British English in the first lot, the wa sounds like it should be spelled wo - we hear the sounds /wɒ/ : watch, swallow, was, etc.
In the second graphic, the wa sounds more like 'wor' (war) or /wɔ:/ walk, warning, award. But if you look carefully, you'll see that the wa in these words is mostly followed by r or l (except in water).
Are these rules? No, they can't be rules because they are not definite enough. There are exceptions such as water and also a very few words where the wa makes a more phonetically regular sound of /wæ/ like in wax (and another word that's not polite enough for The Spelling Blog!) and a few other pronunciations. But there are patterns to be seen.
Are these patterns useful? Yes, I think it's worth raising awareness of this. Nobody ever pointed this out to me and I just thought a lot of these words were phoneticaly irregular, but it's reassuring to see a pattern.
However I would feel happier if I could find an etymological reason for this pattern - believe me, I've searched. Any ideas, anyone?
By the way, when I finally finish my Teaching English Spelling book (before summer 2010, I hope), there will be an awareness-raising exercise about the wa spellings.
And for learners who find writing difficult, this can make a great model for their own writing.
Here's one I made. This is a guided one: there are hints to help learners solve the puzzle and think about spelling. Feel free to print it out and use it. The second page is the key. If it's too difficult learners could read the full text first or the teacher could read it out.
This is the first one of these I've ever made, so feedback welcomed. Especially if there are any mistakes!!
Code Word Nouri
If you want to read the words, they're on Taylor Mali's website
Darren Elliott ( @livesofteachers ) had this little outburst on Twitter this morning! And it made me think: how important is it to spell names right? It seems it's not very important if it's someone else's name but very important if it's yours!
My own name is a bit of a spelling nightmare. Johanna is not usually spelled with an h in English (the h is completely silent), so people often write Joanna or even Joanne, which is a more common name. To a lot of people I'm Jo, but I'm definitely not Joe (same pronunciation but that's a man's name). My Stirling is spelled with an i not an e (Stirling not Sterling, same pronunciation), so I always have to say 'like the Scottish city not the money'.
So people often spell my name wrong. Do I mind? Yes! Well, no! But yes! And no! Intellectually, of course not: my name isn't easy, people are busy, life is short, what does it matter? But my gut feeling is: 'that's not me!'
Perhaps the spelling of our name is part of our identity.
And of course sometimes it really does matter, because if someone types my misspelled name into Google they might find somebody far more interesting than me! Or emails offering me an all-expenses paid trip to the Seychelles may never get to me (not the spam kind- they always get through).
What about you? How important is it that people spell your name right?
"When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking - it says its name."
It means in a word like bean, the e is pronounced (with the long sound like the name of the letter E) and the a is silent. Here are some more examples:
And here is a video about it for kids. Beautifully made, cute and convincing ...
... I was going to write about this 'rule' in my book (Teaching Spelling to English Language Learners). First thing that happened was that I was a bit stuck for examples. Then I got suspicious and decided to check it out. I wrote all the possible vowel digraphs (two written vowels together that make one sound), such as ae, ai, ao, au, ea, ei, etc and I put them into a concordancer at http://www.lextutor.ca/concordancers/concord_e.html
And what did I find? I found this rule was just not true. It only works for a few digraphs and then not always. Look, these ones generally do work:
oa - coat, load, approach, goal, etc (most words with oa make the o sound and the a is silent, except if it's followed by an r: board, coarse)
ai - rain, paint, rail, failure, etc (this one is pretty good too but some common words don't follow the rule: said, pair, etc)
ea - sea, beans, easy, please, beach, etc (this one sometimes behaves according to the rule but look at all these exceptions (and there are lots more) : leather, already, early, appear, break, bread, etc)
Some pairs have a few examples
ui - juice, fruit, suit (but not liquid, build, guide, biscuit and many more
ei - ceiling, receive but not height, eight,
oe - toe, woe, goes, potatoes but not in shoes, does, poem, foetid or canoe
ue - blue, true but not in guest, league, queen, affluence and any more.
And the others really do not follow this rule at all. At best there are two or three words that follow the rule for these combinations, but generally none,
ae, ao, au, eo, eu, ia, ie, io, iu, ou, ua, uo.
Now those of you who follow my work know that I don't give a fig for 'rules' in spellings. We can only look at patterns, or precedents, and make guesses. But it does annoy me to think that children are taught 'rules' like this when they're just not true.
Do you agree? Are you a teacher who has taught this 'rule'? Can you justify it? Do you know any other 'rules' that are not true? Is a 'rule' that's partly right better than no rule at all?
Ask a weak speller and they'll probably just look worried!
Here is a (very old) video of a (very young) Tony Buzan talking about just this.
(Note: I've got the video to start in the right place but for some reason not finish where I want it to. If anyone can tell me how to do this I'd be grateful. I suggest finishing at 3.17. In fact the video freezes at 3.46 anyway)
So to help weak spellers, we need to help them to 'see' words too.
Some techniques for doing this coming soon.
Thanks, by the way, to Tim Kenning for the video link.
Oh and ... a very happy 2010 to you all.