It’s the time of year when spelling exotic words that you’d never use in day-to-day communication is all the rage. The final rounds of the Scripps Spelling Bee take place, with daily coverage on ESPN.
As I wrote in an NCTE Inbox blog post a couple of years ago, the problem is that while spelling has apparently become prime time entertainment, spelling bees still aren't good pedagogy. A 2007 Washington Post article explains that spelling bees provide limited support to students learning about words and the ways that they work. Sue Ann Gleason, the teacher quoted in the article explains the spelling bees “honor the children who already know how to spell, but they do little to support those who need explicit instruction.”
So while the Spelling Bee may get kids and their families interested in spelling for a few days, take a look at the spelling lesson plans and activities on ReadWriteThink for ways to support every student (not just the ones who can spell funny words like weissnichtwo. And check out the calendar entries, lesson plans, and classroom activities below for more classroom-ready ideas. Have a great week!
- Listen to the most recent podcasts on ReadWriteThink:
- Are your budding scientists eager to discover what makes plants grow? Check out The Science of Spring from Science NetLinks and watch students’ imaginations bloom.
- Inspire students with some summer reading activities:
- Authentic Persuasive Writing to Promote Summer Reading (Grades 9–12)
- Beyond “What I Did on Vacation”: Exploring the Genre of Travel Writing(Grades 9–12)
- Book Clubs: Reading for Fun (Grades 3–5)
- Reading Everywhere with Dr. Seuss (Grades K–2)
- Find more resources to kick off a summer of learning from our partners on Thinkfinity.
From the Calendar
- May 31: Today is Walt Whitman’s birthday. Students write and illustrate their own children’s stories using the text from a Walt Whitman poem. (For grades 7–12)
- June 1: National Spelling Bee Finals are held this week. Students discuss why certain contests get more publicity than others and what counts as “knowledge.” (For grades 7–12)
- June 1: CNN debuted as the first television news network in 1980. Students brainstorm a list of modern news sources and from previous centuries. Groups then research one of these sources and create a timeline showing the evolution of news. (For grades 3–12)
- June 3: Jesse James robs the Obocock Bank in 1871. Students listen to folksongs and related information about Jesse James, and then research James’ life and write new folk songs about James or another famous outlaw. (For grades 3–12)
- Look ahead to next week for lesson plans and activities on the Crystal Palace, the first sale of ice cream, and the birthdays of authors Cynthia Rylant and Nikki Giovanni.
Connecting with Other Teachers
- As a teacher, how do you inspire students to learn more during the summer? Share your ideas on the Thinkfinity Community.
- Follow, friend, and connect with all the Thinkfinity partners with this collection of links to where to find us online.
- Add your thoughts to one of the Featured Topics on the Thinkfinity Community:
What do you find most rewarding about being an educator?
How do you motivate the unmotivated?
How do you inspire your students to learn more over the summer?
- What resource rocked your classroom this year? Share a resource that most surprised you and sample a few that other teachers have shared.
If you have feedback or questions about ReadWriteThink, all you have to do is contact us.
[Photo: Bee by _PaulS_, on Flickr]