Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spelling You See [Review and Giveaway]

Where to begin with our spelling woes.  I am not a good speller! When I first told my parents that we were going to homeschool, my Dad said, “I hope you don’t teach him how to spell!” He of course was joking and poking fun at my deficient spelling skills!

In first grade, we used a spelling program that I LOVED (and I still do).  It worked great for Sammy on the easy words.  However, by second grade, what he learning one week would be quickly forgotten a few weeks later.  About half the way through the school year we started the second level all over again.  I think the slower pace helped and things stuck a little better.  However, he wasn’t learning those high frequency words and he couldn’t spell basic words like car (that have a bossy r work chunk in them).
So, I started poking around online and I kept seeing references to Spelling You See.  Then, I looked at the exhibit hall list for the HEAV convention and saw that they were going to be at convention!  I reached out to Spelling You See and asked if they would be interested in doing a giveaway (and review) on my blog.  They very generously gave us Level B to get started.

Let me start by saying Sammy loves it and asks to do spelling everyday!! He also rated the program at a 10 (see the picture below)!  That should be enough praise right there, but I want to share a little bit about the program and my thoughts on it!

Each week, the student works on a meaningful passage.  Level B is about nursery rhymes.  Since Sammy already knows most of the rhymes, he is able to focus on what the words look like instead of having to sound them out to read the passage.  They work on writing different parts of the passage while looking for different phonetic chunks of words, and engaging in dictation. The lessons are short and to the point, allowing the student to stay focused the whole time! 
How the lessons break down in level B:
1. You read and clap to the rhythm of the nursery rhyme.

2. You read the passage again slowly while your student points to each word
3. The student is then asked to notice an element in the text and then underlines (or circles) that element; elements such as capital letters, rhyming words, words that are more than 3 syllables, bossy r chunks, commas, periods, etc. (the answers are in the teacher’s manual).

4. The student writes out part of the passage again

5. They then practice dictation by writing words from the teacher’s manual

Here is what the dictation section of the teacher’s manual looks like:

The things I loved about Spelling You See:
  • Short and to the point lessons
  • The passage to copy being above where the student is supposed to write.  With Sammy being a lefty, it is really helpful that he doesn’t have to lift his hand in order to find out how to spell what he is suppose to be writing.
  • Cute graphics that Sammy enjoys looking at.  He likes to point out the part of the nursery rhyme that the picture is referencing.
  • Seeing progress after just 9 weeks of using the program with Sammy.
  • Everything being right there and ready for me to use!
  • A teacher’s manual chock-full of wonderful ideas to help students and that explain the spelling process. 

My only complaint relates to the teacher’s manual.  I don’t like the way it is organized.  It has all of the lesson’s dictation words in one section.  Then, in another section, it has all of the answers to the underlining and circling section.  I would prefer that it had everything you need for lesson 1 in one section followed by everything you need for lesson 2.  This, however, is easily resolved with a few post-it note flags!
Does this sound like something you think would help your child?  Does your child struggle with spelling?  Or does your current program cause tears?  Enter the rafflecopter widget below to enter to win a level of Spelling You See for your classroom!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 4, 2015

Photo Dump - March

A boy and his dog in a box (with the church shipment of crates in the background (that is what came in the box)):

2015-03-04 12.34.08

Date night to Tim’s companies annual banquet:

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You can’t see it real well but Sammy got a little shinner at a bounce house place:

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Mommy/Son Date to Red Robin and shopping in the next big city for some summer clothes:

2015-03-12 13.04.01

I cut all of my hair off:

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I then went away for the weekend and sent Tim this picture the next morning.. talk about bed head:

2015-03-14 06.36.45 HDR

My view at the conference in Williamsburg:

2015-03-14 10.20.41

Sammy cut of fall his hair:

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Not the best picture of us.. but Tim and I went to see Insurgent on opening night:

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Boys crossing the creek on a tree:

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New appliances installed:

2015-03-26 20.12.30

My sweet niece Ellie’s birthday dinner pick:

2015-03-28 18.45.41

Ellie and I:

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My Dad, Ellie, and my mom (it was her birthday as well):

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My goofball:

2015-03-31 18.00.52

Friday, May 1, 2015

Monthly School Update - March

I didn’t manage to get many school pictures this month but here are the ones I did snag!  A little logic and math fun with the game Sequence:
2015-03-03 19.02.32
Math is more fun when you can do it in a box:
2015-03-04 10.19.20
We created a few fun art projects and hung them  up in the school room:
2015-03-05 17.01.57
Sammy wrote a pretty great story about his new bike:
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We learned all about our bodies in science:
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We went on an awesome field trip to a pottery place.  The kids got to make pinch pots which we will be picking up today!
2015-03-30 11.24.19
Weekly Wrap-Up