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How To Create A Better Spelling Center

Are you setting up your spelling center or looking for ideas to make it more engaging for students? Everything you need to set up a better spelling center.
Are you setting up your spelling center or looking for ideas to make it more engaging for students? Everything you need to set up a better spelling center.

Are you setting up your spelling center for the first time … or looking for ideas to make it more engaging and helpful for students? You’re in the right place. Let’s look at the three-story intellect model and how to set things up.

I set up my spelling center around the Three-Story Intellect, which encourages your students to use higher order thinking. This type of spelling center acknowledges the different ways students learn and provides activities that support different types of learners at different stages.

Set up a spelling center based on the Three-Story Intellect

The three-story intellect recognizes three different levels of thinking:

  • Gathering information
  • Processing information
  • Applying information.

Introduce your students to the three levels and the kinds of activities they may encounter and complete at each level.

I like to hang a three-story intellect poster in the spelling center for two reasons. One, it helps remind students of the three levels of thinking. Two, students will complete activities on all three levels, and you can use the poster to track what they’ve done by having students stick a brick of the appropriate color to the levels they have completed each day. For durability laminate your poster.

Are you setting up your spelling center or looking for ideas to make it more engaging for students? Everything you need to set up a better spelling center.

Create a spelling center contract

You can use spelling center contracts to let students know what activities they have to complete each day. You can also include personal challenge tasks in the spelling center contract. Contracts include a mix of individual work and partner work in the contract.

I usually set up individual gathering tasks on Monday followed by partner gathering tasks on Tuesday. Wednesday is devoted to individual processing and Thursday to individual applying. Friday is any processing task. Over a two week stretch, students are also working on personal challenges, such as creating a game using spelling words, making a crossword puzzle with all the words, or finding words in newspapers and explaining the context.

Are you setting up your spelling center or looking for ideas to make it more engaging for students? Everything you need to set up a better spelling center.

Use a variety of spelling center activities

Spelling center activities cover the different levels of thinking in the three-story intellect model, but they are also varied within each level.

The Gathering Information level activities could include activities such as :

  • Word snakes
  • Word search
  • Spellamadoodle
  • Word triangles
  • How many steps
  • Dictionary meanings
  • Magazine words

Are you setting up your spelling center or looking for ideas to make it more engaging for students? Everything you need to set up a better spelling center.

The Processing Information level tasks for individuals and partners could include:

  • Putting words into alphabetical order
  • Breaking words into syllables
  • Categorizing guessing games
  • Seeking little words in big words
  • Finding antonyms and synonyms
  • Playing with rhyming words
  • Drawing a picture of words
  • Discovering letter patterns
  • Doing word sums

Are you setting up your spelling center or looking for ideas to make it more engaging for students? Everything you need to set up a better spelling center.

The Applying Information level tasks could include:

  • Creating mnemonics
  • Creating riddles about the words and sharing with a partner
  • Playing with alliteration
  • Making a word quiz
  • Editing a piece of writing
  • Using your words in a sentence

Are you setting up your spelling center or looking for ideas to make it more engaging for students? Everything you need to set up a better spelling center.

Set up your better spelling center

If your spelling center needs improvement, the three-story intellect approach can help. Spelling center contracts make sure kids know what they need to do. Adding new activities can freshen it up and give students multiple times to interact with and practice spelling words—and you can use activities over and over—with any spelling word list. Students get familiar with the activities, but they are different each time you change the words.

The best part? I’ve put it all together for you in the bundle Spelling Activities for Any List of Words:

  • Information about the Three-Story Intellect.
  • Detailed instructions for preparing the learning center.
  • Instructions on how to best use the center.
  • Color and black and white posters of the Three-Story Intellect.
  • Poster of all the spelling activities and their levels.
  • Spelling contracts.
  • Brick templates to be added to the large posters.
  • 22 spelling activity cards sorted according to their level.

Get Spelling Activities for Any List of Words and create a better spelling center!

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