Friday, December 2, 2011

Editing for Spelling using Brain Buddies

Do your kids struggle with editing during writer's workshop? Are they slam dunking the composing part of the process, yet are dropping the ball during the mechanics stage? In our class we call that part of the process the "Clean Up" stage and in the end, we were leaving our drafts still a bit of a mess. I really want my kids to become more proficient in finding and fixing their own spelling mistakes. Right now they are relying WAY to much on me yet I want THEM to own this part of the process. We really need to work towards more independence with this Brain Buddies to the rescue.... Last year I used these guys primarily for decoding help for my kids. (See earlier post). This year I've had the brainstorm to use them for encoding as well. They work like a charm and my kids love using them.

They are attached to my dry erase board with magnets so they are easy to pull of and use. Here is the new flow chart the kids and I came up with to help us when we are editing our drafts with spelling in mind. Do you see how the brain buddies can help support them with the process?

First and foremost I want my kids to be more accountable for spelling. That means they need to use their eagle eyes to spot words that look "funny" and they suspect may be spelled wrong. I am teaching them that it is NOT ok to just leave them like that. They must attend to them.

Third graders are attempting to use more multisyllabic words when they write. Chunky monkey reminds them to break those words apart into chunks and spell just one syllable chunk at a time.

Stretchy Snake makes them slowly stretch the syllable chunk so they can really hear the sounds used in that word.

Through the RTI process we are noting that some kids are lacking in the very early literacy skill of phonemic awareness. As a whole class we are working alot on tapping the sounds we hear and recording them. In the decoding stage, skippy frog becomes tappy toad.

I think flippy fish is important here because students at this stage are more aware if a work looks "funny" spelling wise. They know there are multiple ways to make lots of sounds, long a for example can be made with an ae, aCe, ay, etc. In the flipping part they substitute various letters until they find the right match for the word and it "looks right" to their "eagle eyes".

We also work on using the dictionary during the editing stage and students are realizing they can use a dictionary for spelling if they know the first three letters of a word.

Students now have strategies they can use to attack and attend to misspelled words in their drafts. We still have work to do to become more self reliant in this part of the process but it's a start!


  1. I wanted to let you know that I am nominating you for the Sunshine Award!!! I wanted to pass back the love, because I LOVE your blog!!!

  2. And this is one of the MANY reasons why I LOVE your blog!!! Your opening line is the perfect picture of my class-the writing is awesome, the mechanics and spelling not so much. What is even crazier is that on the 4th grade Florida Writes Test they have upped the value of the spelling and mechanics when scoring the prompts. So I can't wait to use your Brain Buddies. LOVE it!!!

  3. I love this! My second graders also have trouble with editing and I think this will really help them. I'll implement it next year (I've only got one week of the school year to go - yeah!!).

    Down Under Teacher

  4. Honestly liked your way of editing the spelling. Will teach this idea with my child who is going these days to one of best Phoenix pre-k. Also, thinking to share this with his teacher so other students can get benefitted too.