Category Archives: Spelling

Writing Sentences for Spelling

Sentence Strip Magnets

Writing sentences with spelling words is one of our regular, old school activities. I have them write each word (whether it is misspelled or not) from the week’s list in a sentence.

Having them write sentences is immensely useful in developing writing and grammar skills (not really sure if it helps spelling as much, lol). Writing sentences also draws out other spelling words that they have problems with. In that case, I record non-spelling word words in a misspelled words list for review.

Now, sometimes we get some really whacky sentences. I know it can be tough sometimes to come up with meaningful sentences, so I sometimes have them apply certain requirements for their sentences.

Some examples:

1. Sometimes they must vary the sentence types because typically we will just get statements.  So I have them write commands, exclamations, or questions.

2.  Have them apply the grammar rule that they are currently working on (say, use adjectives if they are studying adjectives).

3. For misspelled words, I may try to have them write repetitive sentences that those words are repeated in, such as

misspelled: sour

So they may have to come up with 5 things that are sour and write simple sentences.

Lemons are sour.

Limes are sour.

Sour cream is sour.


or once we did this for “annoy:”


Write five things that annoy you and use them in  sentences.

Loud noise annoys me.

My brother annoys me.

Losing my toy annoys me.



4. Sometimes I require them to vary their sentence beginnings, otherwise all the sentences they write tend to start with nouns.

Start two sentences with a who/what (noun)

Start one sentence with a where (In the field, …….)

Start one sentence with a when (This morning, …….)


5. Sometimes I ask them to write sentences for nouns that define the word or tell what it is used for…..

A  desk is a piece of furniture


A drill is used for……………….


6. Combine as many words as you can in one sentence.

This is a fun one where they get whacky sentences on purpose, but the sentences are grammatically correct.  We don’t do this as often, but it is a winner.  This one is really great because while fun, it really makes them have to stretch their imagination to make a sentence that flows well with so many words.

7. Sometimes I make a requirement that nouns must be exact; Instead of “boy,” they have to name him, say, Fred. Or  “the man” must transform into something like, Mr. Jacobs. And then even add a descriptor like…Mr. Jacobs, the man across the street, …….etc.


These are just a few ideas that we have used to improve writing, grammar, and hopefully somewhere in there, lol, spelling skills.


Do you have any other variations that would be useful in this activity? If so, I am always looking for new ways to make sentence writing even more meaningful. Would love to hear your ideas……..


Posted by on May 18, 2010 in Spelling, Writing


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Spelling Rules Notebooking Pages


Here’s a template for making a spelling rules booklet.

The big kids are studying a spelling rules book and doing the work independently. There are not a lot of exercises so they kind of feel like they are not learning. So, we are starting to use the books for them to record the spelling rules, and some examples. Then, then the book can be used for review or reference.



Includes cover, table of contents form, and inside spelling pages.

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Posted by on April 14, 2010 in Spelling


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Homeschool Spelling

imageUPDATE: few slight modifications from the earlier post…..

TJ Homeschool Spelling/Vocabulary Routine

About the Routine

This is just a simple routine I worked up for my kids…………

Spelling Lists: Any spelling list can be used, preferably a phonics/spelling rule based list (preferred over alphabetical lists); many free ones can be found over the internet (check TJ’s spelling page for links)

Right now, some of the kids study two lists per week. I typically use two thirty-six week spelling lists (from two different sources).  One list per week was too slow for the kids;  one list per day was doable for some of them, but I decided to slow things down a bit.

The same routine is followed each day to make the spelling period run more smoothly, insha Allah.

Misspelled words from the pretest are practiced via a repetitive task/closer word study, but correctly spelled words are still used in activities to boost word skills and vocabulary skills.

The activities in the routine are basic activities. They may not fit all learning style types. I use them as they are quick independent activities and work well with my kids. You may need to find activities that appeal to other types of learners. Over at the main TJ site’s spelling page, you can find more creative activities.  For us, these basic , no frill activities work, so I just stick with them.

Day 1: List 1 of the week


Purpose: To see which words student already knows how to spell so that drills and repetition can be used with those words student does not know how to spell.

  1. Pretest on first half of list; correct after each word, have student pronounce each word; discuss the meaning of each word as necessary.
  2. Correct and write misspelled words on running misspelled words list
  3. Discuss phonics/spelling rule that applies to the list (if any)


Write misspelled words 10x each or other activity to practice the misspelled words.


Choose one or more of the following activities as student can handle.  Student can choose card from pouch or they can be pre-assigned by teacher to work on specific skills as desired.


  1. Choose a word sort card and sort ALL the words from this portion of the list (not just the misspelled words) according to the card.

Word Sort Activities on cards:

Sort by phonograms, categories, parts of speech, # of letters, and #of syllables


  1. Choose a structure activity card and complete the activity using ALL the words from this portion of the list (not just the misspelled words)

Activities on structure cards:

Word Maker (make more words based upon the spelling concept); ABC order, Make any nouns possessive, make any nouns plural, change the word’s part of speech (e.g. change love to lovely (from a noun to an adjective); anagrams (see how many smaller words you can find in a spelling word); change the tense of a verb; circle the vowels in each word; identify any prefixes or suffixes, add prefixes or suffixes


  1. Choose a meaning card and complete the activity using ALL the words from this portion of the list (not just the misspelled words).

Activities on meaning cards:

Find an antonym or synonym of all the words; make a riddle up where the answer is the spelling word (or make crossword puzzle clues); find homonyms of any words; make a simile out of a word (eg. Word is quiet—- quiet as a mouse); write sentences with the words (identify the grammar concept you are currently working on (e.g. you are studying predicates, so underline the predicate of each sentence you write); look up the words in a dictionary and write the definitions; look in books or online (with permission) and find each of your spelling words, write the sentence that the spelling word appears in; given a sentence with a blank, write the correct spelling word from the list in the blank to complete the sentence.

Day 2 – Second half of  first list

Quiz on yesterday’s misspelled words (oral or written)

Repeat steps I – III for the second half of the word list.

Day 3: Steps I – III  for first half of a new word list

Day 4: Steps I – III  (starting with review of previous day’s words) for second half of current list.

Day 5: Review or make up day

(complete any unfinished word; get quizzed on all misspelled words from this week as well as words on running misspelled words list).

Activity Cards

Spelling Center

I made up a little file folder spelling center for our materials.  It has the spelling routine, the activity cards, and then I paper clipped word lists inside so that I can just grab it and start class.

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Posted by on January 11, 2010 in Spelling


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Spelling City!

You’ve probably heard of Spelling City, but if not, stop by and you are in for a treat!spelling
It is truly awesome, masha Allah and free!

I have just started really using it (though I have  known about it for sometime) and it is sooooooooo helpful, its like having an aide, masha Allah.  It really helps you free up time because it can virtually be a spelling teacher for  kids, because there are so many features. This is a very big help if you have lots of kids and need some to work independently while you are working with others.

You can:
1. Enter a customized list of words (or search the forum for premade lists). You have your own list management area so your lists are saved.
2. Then, you can tell your student to go to the list and it will give a spelling test.  The word is spoken, the student types it and the word is read in a sentence.
3. Then, if student needs help after the test is complete, he can choose the “teach me option” for practice, where the word will be spelled out one letter at a time, pronounced a couple of times, and used in a sentence.
4. You can choose from games and activities that the student can play to practice the word(s). You can even print worksheets such as alphabetical worksheets or handwriting worksheets.
5. And finally, your student can print a report or certificate so that if he/she is working independently, you can see what words were missed.
Right now,  I am planning on using the testing, teaching, report features, but after that I have my own little routine that I wrote up for the kids to follow (write misspelled words 10x, record misspelled words in list, alphabetize the words, write each word from the entire list in sentences (not just the misspelled as it creates a mini grammar lesson when we review any mistakes; then I assign a grammar connection type actiity (such as making any nouns in the list plural, picking out the verbs, or whatever new concept we are studying that week, etc).

I know I sound like a commercial but if you have not tried it, its soooo worth a look!  I am also using it for spelling lists for science, etc.

Umm Ibrahim

Have fun practicing your spelling words

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Posted by on November 9, 2009 in Spelling


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Making your own spelling program for nearly independent study

Spelling can be one of the easiest classes to administer in your homeschooling.

Here are tips on how I structure my spelling classes to make them virtually run by themselves, freeing you up with more time.


1.    Get your word list.

On the TJ main site’s Spelling Page, I have some links to spelling lists by the grade from the ‘net.  If those don’t tickle your fancy, just google “x grade spelling lists” and there are many to be found or you can take words from   your child’s reading/literature that you are reading for English, or use words from other classes that your student is studying but has misspelled or make up your own based upon a phonics outline.

  1. Make your schedule for the whole list, laying it out on a calendar. 

We currently spend two days per list; the third day is for the test and then we start a new list.  The kids cross off the days on the calendar so they (and you) can see their progress.

  1. Make up a generic spelling cover sheet.  (This is the BIG idea)

This is a sheet which lists all the assignments for the list/lesson.  By making it generic, you can just print out and use the same sheet for all lessons.

Make up separate sheets for each grade level so you can tailor the assignments to fit the skill level.

Here’s what our cover sheet for second grade level contains. At the end of the post , I have created a link to it if you’d like to use it.

To make the sheet work for all lessons, I leave some blanks so I can put in list specific activities:


Tasks for Lesson  #________

Class 1

A.   qTake pretest. Correct it and write any misspelled words on your Misspelled List in your binder.

B.   qGo over rules and word meanings with teacher or _________.

C.   qRead the sentences I’ve (teacher) made that contain with the words.

D.   qPut the words in ABC order in your notebook.

E.   qSort words by ________________________  and ____________________

F.    qWrite misspelled words in stair steps 5 or ___ times each

G.   qWord Search

H.   qUnscramble

Class 2

I.      qReview (spell orally or write words from this list plus some from past lists and those from misspelled list that your teacher dictates.)

J.    qPlay riddle game with meaning clues. (or give a crossword puzzle)

K.   q Fill in the blank with the correct spelling word.


L.    qHomework: Write each word in a sentence (younger students (or those which have trouble composing) can  just copy your sentences from day one)


You must:


1.  Use ________________ as the theme for your sentences.

2.   _____________________________________________


(this second underline contains an activity which links the sentences to a current grammar topic being studied or review; for example, circle all the nouns in the sentences you wrote.)


 (Correct the sentences the same day and have student make corrections).


Class 3

M.   Take test (give words and your sentences)

N.   Start next lesson unless more practice is needed.


On the last day of each week or on the weekend, give a simple proofreading activity—(optional) or incorporate it into the main lessons.

Execution Tips

At the beginning of each lesson, I give a pretest (the older kids can administer this) as per the coversheet. I then go over the list with them, review or teach the phonics/list concept with them, make sure they know the meanings (but again, an older student can help with this).

Then, I give them their own printed copy of the list (to use with the activities) and send them off on their own. If they have questions, they come ask. As they complete the activities, they check them off on the cover sheet. The letters by the task or what the student uses to head their papers  which makes it easier for me to correct. [ I require headings (name, date, and topic/page number (page numbers are for other classes) to help keep the student’s writing neat and organized, insha Allah.] If a task will not be assigned for a list, I just cross it off before given coversheet to student.

And that’s it for carrying out spelling class!


Planning Tips:

After making the cover sheet, the only prep that is needed now is to prepare any activities which vary from list to list, examples:


·      Word searches/unscrambles/crossword puzzles.

·      Sentences for reading, fill in the blanks.

You can knock several lessons’ word searches/unscrambles, etc out at one time, insha Allah. They have word search and other puzzle makers free, online, and you can just copy and paste your words from your electronic word list to make many puzzles at one sitting.

Sit down one day and write sentences/ fill in the blanks for many lessons or, better yet, give this task to older students when they are bored and have nothing to do.  You can provide review for them by having them to tell you the parts of speech of each word in the sentence, or the predicate, subject, etc.


Download TJ’s sample Second Grade Coversheet



You can use the coversheet idea for other classes as well, insha Allah to help older students be more independent, providing structure when they are off on their own or structure for your teacher led classes to make them run more smoothly.

Insha Allah, in future posts,  I’ll provide examples of coversheets that I have made for classes other than spelling.

(I call it a coversheet because my kids file it in their binder and it goes before all the work for that lesson).

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Posted by on April 11, 2009 in Spelling


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