Sunday, August 28, 2011

What to do about spelling homework?

Hello all my bloggy friends! I am stuck in a little conundrum about what I should do with spelling homework for this year. OK, first off let me just say that I HATE homework. As a parent and as a teacher. I guess it is probably because, when you have two sons with pretty tough learning disabilities homework was like torture. Anyway, I want to make it as easy as possible but still effective as a form of practice. I do not grade homework because I do not think it is fair to grade them when they don't all have the same support at home. I actually had a parent last year whose child was not doing well in class at all, she just didn't get the concepts, and at the end of the year the parent was very angry with me because I was recommending the child for retention and he said to me "If you would grade her homework she would be an A B student" well of course she would because he was helping her with every single step and telling her exactly what to write. It wouldn't be fair to grade it, so I just save myself the headache and I don't grade it, I check it for completion.
Anyway, wow, did I digress, last year I used a spelling choice board for homework. I had like 9 -12 squares and each square had a different spelling activity and the students had to choose one activity to complete each night. They seemed to do well with this. But then over the summer I read how someone else did homework by assigning a different activity every night but each week it was the same activity, so like every Monday the kids would write the spelling words in ABC order, on Tuesday they would write them 5 times each etc. SO I thought that would be simple for my kiddos to remember what to do. Now I am wondering if they are going to get bored and not get anything out of it after a while. So I thought I would throw it out here to all you great teachers and see what you all do for your spelling homework! Please share


  1. I don't like the activity every night kind of homework. At most, I like to focus on spelling homework either one or two nights a week. As a kid, I did not get anything out of ABC order or 5x each because I studied anyway on Thursday evenings. I am also giving sentence writing as morning work throughout the week, focusing on important skills to prepare them for Florida Writes. I am going to have them practice starting with a variety of words and give five sentences two mornings a week with skills to focus on, too, in grammar and just creativity in general.

    From there, I am still assigning a choice activity homework on Thursday evenings, opening up other evenings for silent reading and math homework (and one night of current events). I think out of all official homework, math will be the most important in the long run.

  2. I am personally not a fan of spelling homework because I don't think it has any impact on whether or not the children learn to spell. I usually have them do some kind of spelling activity in that classroom that they can choose to do at home as well but I don't really assign spelling homework.

  3. My team and I have struggled with this concept as well! You are certainly not alone. Last year (my first year in fourth grade) I felt like the students learned the words for the week, but didn't really retain them. This year we are trying a new (new to us) approach. We are going to assign our students 8-10 words per week. The words are coming from Randi Whitney's writing academy of commonly misspelled words. I would much rather focus on 8-10 words and have the kids remember them than give them a list of 25 and not. The students will be responsible for participating in a "spelling choice" type of activity throughout the week. Also if the child makes a 100 on the pre test then they aren't responsible for taking the test.

  4. I love Randi Whitney's stuff. Unfortunately I can't use those words for my spelling or I would. I have never given them the choice of an activity but I am doing that this year. I think for my kids they will enjoy it more. I am hoping they will take more ownership and study. I have noticed that the younger grades at my school aren't doing much in the way of playing with words. So I am hoping my spelling practice will help with this.