I am very new to the All About Spelling bandwagon, and really wish I had heard about it a long time ago. It is very similar to a program I used when teaching Kindergarten and First grade called Systematic Sequential Phonics they Use. Unfortunately, I have searched and searched for this book to no avail, because it must be out of print. Both programs end up teaching spelling and phonics at the same time in a very hands on, kinesthetic way. Here’s the link on Youtube explaining All about Spelling:
As soon as I saw the video, the teacher in me was hooked and I immediately ordered Level 1. All of the materials arrived today, and here is what I got:
The basic startup kit.
The magnets put onto the letter tiles and then punched out.
An explanation for why you need the tiles.
The level 1 kit as well as the organizer box, divider cards and phoneme CD-ROM.
This is what the board looks like set up with magnets used near the end of Level one, which is where we are going to start with Bruce. There are a bunch of other magnets that I have in a bag to save for future levels. Unfortunately, (and I’m kicking myself right now), I bought the wrong darn size magnetic white board to go with all of this. I had to go back to Office Depot and buy one that was 2’x3′.
If you have followed my blog you know that I have a neurotic fear of magnets around young children, so even though these are pretty weak magnets I’m going to store the whole board behind my china cabinet when not in use. For once, having an old hand-me-down china cabinet and wall paper that needs to be replaced is a good thing. If they get scratched up by this gigantic whiteboard, no big deal!
The Level 1 cards punched out and organized in the box. I’m glad I bought that box! A word about the blue cards. Do you see them up there in the box? Each blue card contains a rule or generalization about spelling. Level 1 has 16 rule cards in it. This is how I was able to figure out what steps in Level 1 I still needed to cover with Bruce, even though almost all of Level 1 is too easy for him. I just sat down there in his room and asked him to answer the questions on each of the blue cards. The ones he didn’t know directed me to what step to do in the book.
Here’s a picture of the lesson plans I’ll used to do the first activity with Bruce which was really quick and fun. Even a horrible speller like me wasn’t able to mess this up!
Once again, the teacher in me wishes she had the whole box, Levels 1-7. What an amazing diagnostic tool those blue cards would be! I’m thinking of our church’s tutoring program for disadvantaged students… You could go in and figure out exactly where a third grade English Language Learner was at in terms of spelling and phonics just by going through those blue cards. Then you could go back to the lesson plans, and know exactly what to teach.
As a former teacher, when I come across materials like this it makes me super excited, but also sad because I know that there are educators all across the country teaching in impoverished districts that are desperate for meaningful tools to help teach reading and spelling. If only I had access to this back in East Palo Alto, when I was muddling through trying to use Open Court! I could have written a grant to the Peninsula Community Foundation for five sets of materials and then used them for small group instruction. Of course, being able to do this program at home in a one-on-one setting is even more effective.