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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Friday, November 7, 2014

3 Simple Tips for Using All About Spelling With Multiple Ages

3 Tips for Using All About Spelling with Multiple Ages {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Two years ago, as I watched my daughter struggle with spelling, I went searching for a program that would unscramble letters for her. I needed a tool that would put sounds in their proper order...something that would set them all straight. 

I found All About Spelling and watched with thankfulness as words FINALLY became clear to her. (You can read all about that here>>> and more here>>)

Since then, two of my boys have joined her in an ongoing quest to learn HOW to spell...not WHAT to spell. 

Admittedly, with three different children doing three different levels of All About Spelling, it can sometimes be difficult to keep all the curriculum organized in a user-friendly way. By implementing three simple tweaks to the program, I've established a smoothness to our spelling time, making All About Spelling more manageable for multiple ages. 


I add in "real world" words

And here's how I do that.




I use a "spelling binder.

If you are familiar with All About Spelling, you know that each level comes with a student pack consisting of all the necessary flash cards for that level as well as a handful of helpful charts. I set all of the flashcards aside to be organized in the Spelling Review Box (more on that below), and then group ALL of the charts in a spelling binder.

Essentially, this is just a 3-ring binder that I've filled with plastic page protector sleeves. I use the cover pages of the student packs as the dividers of the binder in order to separate one level from the next. Then, I place all of the charts for each level right after its cover page. By keeping all the charts for EVERY grade level in one binder, I can easily flip through them to review previously learned charts. If my daughter, who is currently working her way through AAS Level 5, needs to review a rule learned in Level 3, I don't have to leave the work space to go dig out the Level 3 charts. I have them all with me in my binder and can easily use them for reference.



3 Tips for Using All About Spelling with Multiple Ages {The Unlikely Homeschool}

I alter the review card box

For lack of storage space, its not conducive for me to own three separate review card boxes. Instead, I choose to add additional divider tabs to ONE box so that I can use it for all three of my current spellers. Since I color-code my kids (Yep, I'm THAT mom!), I've purchased small sticky-note packs in the three appropriate colors. I use these to mark the individual progress of each of my kids within the designated sections of the box. Since MY tabs are only sticky-notes, they can easily be moved around to different cards without leaving any residue behind.
3 Tips for Using All About Spelling with Multiple Ages {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Looking for a Great Spelling Program?

I'd highly recommend All About Spelling. It has revolutionized both the general attitude towards spelling around here as well as the ability to spell correctly!

I always endorse starting a child at Level 1 no matter what grade level he/she is currently at for other subjects. Since AAS is based on learning the RULES of spelling and not just a list of random words to be memorized, starting at the beginning will help to ensure that he/she learns ALL of the rules in a progressive order. 

If you decide to begin the program and are starting with an older child, feel free to breeze through the initial books at a faster rate and slow down when your child reaches any unfamiliar rules and concepts. When she first started, my daughter was in the fourth grade. She zipped through Level 1 which gave her a solid review of phonetical foundations, and then took a slower pace with Level 2 and 3. Each consecutive level has been a slow-and-steady progression. Although she is still not AT grade level (She is in 6th grade and is halfway through Level 5), her spelling has shown marked improvement.

Forward motion. Isn't that the goal?

Got any great tips for using All About Spelling for multiple ages? I'd love to hear them!

20 comments:

  1. Hi Jamie, thanks for the tips. I have a question? How do you have your students study their "Real World" spelling words? What specific activities do you have them do? Thanks.

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    1. We practice these in the same way we practice the suggested words in the AAS book. Lots of hands-on practice (with the tiles, letter magnets on the fridge, writing in shaving cream, etc.) and plenty of "boring" practice too (on a white board with a marker, on paper).

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  2. Awesome idea with the sticky notes in the card box. I'm currently using Level 1 with both my 2nd grader and kindergartener, and that will make it much easier for me to remember which cards they're on!

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    Replies
    1. Great! It's been helpful for me. I'm happy to be able to pass the word to others.

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  3. Great tips to use AAS. Question: do you use and keep set up the recommended 2'x3' white board? My biggest problem with the board... if I keep it set up my little ones get into it. If I don't, it takes 5-10 minutes to set it up depending which child is doing it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I keep the tiles set up on the board, but then tuck the board behind my school hutch (facing the wall) when we are not using it. Every once in a while a tile will fall off as I'm getting it out. But, for the most part, they stay on.

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    2. We bought a cookie sheet and put the tiles on it (alphabet in two rows, everything else the same), then use a separate cookie sheet or a magnetic wipe off board to work on. That way I could put the already set up cookie sheet away where my toddler couldn't get it.

      This was a helpful post, thanks for the ideas!

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  4. One other thing...I always enjoy your videos : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always enjoy doing them. I hope to do more as time allows.

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  5. In your notebook - What is in it? Is it your teacher book / stuff you typed up?

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    Replies
    1. All of the phonics charts that come with the program from level 2 onward.

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  6. Hi Jamie, thanks you so much for sharing this. I was looking for a fun way to do spelling with my hand on boys and AAS matches our phonics based approach perfectly. I just got it in and looked it over. I have a feeling my green boy is going to zoom through it. Yep! I'm that mom too. Lol! I do have one question, would you recommend laminating the phonogram cards. Or do they hold up pretty well. Thanks again, you have truly been a wonderful blessing to our homeschool, may God bless you and your family abundantly! Oh, one more thing, could you do a post on language arts and writing for 1st grade. We are moving in that direction and it's not my specialty. I have scoped out a few things and leaning towards first language lessons for the well trained mind, but the writing part has got my brain in a fog, any suggestions would be awesome. Thanks, Ashley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question. Mine have held up well, but I don't let the kids have them. I use them strictly as flashcards.

      I have a creative writing post in the works, actually. Not sure when I'll be done with it. But, soon...

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  7. Jamie - how does it work to have children in different levels of AAS and use the sticky notes to divide them in the box. I'm having a tough time wrapping my brain around that :) And, if you have 2 in one level, are you using two sets of cards? Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope. Just one set of cards. That's where the sticky notes come in to play. I can separate the cards that each child is working on but still have them in their correct section of the box.

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  8. Thanks for this post. I am just starting AAS this year with all 3 of my grade school kiddos and it really helped me shape how I'm going to do this. I'm imagining that eventually they will spread out in the box and your post-it tabs will work well for us.

    For now, after the first week, they are all using the same cards so I have developed my own little system. I am putting color-coded post-it flags on the cards in the review section. One flag means only that kid is reviewing that card, 2 flags means the two corresponding kids are reviewing that card, but not the other kid, no flags means they all need to review that card. I won't move the card to "Mastered" until all 3 kids have it mastered. I thought maybe this would be helpful for someone else starting out with several kids at once.

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  9. Hi Jamie,
    Thanks for the post! I love the binder idea and the color coded tabs!! I have tried to use AAS a few times in the past and I seem to have trouble with the delivery of the lessons. Is there any way you might could do a video on how you teach the lessons? it would be great to see each level you are using.
    My kids really need help with spelling and I've tried several different curriculums but haven't felt satisfied with any so far. I'd really like to give AAS another try.
    Also, I think my biggest problem is that I have 2 4th graders, a kindergartener, a 3 yr old and a 1 yard old all wanting my attention at the same time.
    Thanks for your blog! It's very helpful and encouraging!
    Kelle

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  10. Hi,
    I was wondering where you got the spelling rules chart (as shown in the 3-ring binder)? I own all the levels of AAS and don't have anything like that but would love them as my children also forget, on occasions, some of the rules they learn't months prior.
    Thanks, Heidi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They came with the student packs of each level.

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