Monday, December 27, 2010

How to Memorize a Spelling Word

  1. Look at the word carefully.  Really pay attention to it!
  2. Close your eyes and picture the word in your head.
  3. Notice natural groups of letters, like the root, syllables, prefixes or suffixes.
  4. Notice if there are any other words within the word, like to-get-her in together, or ear in hear, or pie in piece.
  5. If the word does not look like it sounds, try saying it a different way to remember the actual spelling.  For example, exhaust sounds like egz-awst but you can say it with x and h sounds in it just for the purposes of remembering the spelling.  (Just remember how it is really pronounced for saying it at other times!)
  6. Think of other words that have a similar spelling pattern, such as thought and brought.  Think of a sentence that uses both words to link them in your mind.
  7. Copy the word three times. 
  8. Spell it out loud while you are looking at it.
  9. Spell it out loud while you are NOT looking at it.
  10. Write it down while someone else says it.
Those are just some tips I came up with by myself.  There is also a comprehensive list of spelling tips at All About Spelling.  Just follow the instructions to sign up for the free report 
20 Best Tips for Teaching Spelling.  They will also continue to send you helpful e-mails about teaching spelling.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Three Christmas Poems for Children

Dear friends,

Here are three poems for Christmas, to share with your children. I used these in my middle school co-op class.

Jesous Ahatonhia (Jesus is Born)

by Father Jean de Br├ębeuf, missionary to Canada
Written in 1642 in Huron
English interepretation by J.E. Middleton

'Twas in the moon of wintertime
   When all the birds had fled,
That Mighty Gitchi Manitou
   Sent angel-choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
   And wondering hunters heard the hymn--
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
   In excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark
   The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
   Enwrapped His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
   The angel song rang loud and high--
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
   In excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime
   Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on
   The helpless Infant there.
The Chiefs from far before Him knelt
   With gifts of fox and beaver pelt--
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
   In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
   O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and Heaven
   Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy,
   Who brings you beauty, peace, and joy--
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
   In excelsis gloria.

little tree

by e e cummings

little tree
little silent Christmas tree
you are so little
you are more like a flower
who found you in the green forest
and were you very sorry to come away?
see    i will comfort you
because you smell so sweetly
i will kiss your cool bark
and hug you safe and tight
just as your mother would,
only don't be afraid
look    the spangles
that sleep all the year in a dark box
dreaming of being taken out and allowed to shine,
the balls the chains red and gold the fluffy threads,
put up your little arms
and i'll give them all to you to hold
every finger shall have its ring
and there won't be a single place dark or unhappy
then when you're quite dressed
you'll stand in the window for everyone to see
and how they'll stare!
oh but you'll be very purod

and my little sister and i will take hands
and looking up our beautiful tree
we'll dance and sing
"Noel Noel"


by Carl Sandburg

The silver of one star
plays cross-lights against pine-green
And the play of this silver cross-wise against the green is an old story.
Thousands of years.

And sheep grazers on the hills by night
watching the woolly four-footed ramblers
watching a single silver star.
Why does this story never wear out?

And a baby, slung in a feed box back in a barn in a Bethlehem slum
A baby's first cry,
mixing with the crunch of a mule's teeth on Bethlehem Christmas corn
Baby fists, softer than snowflakes of Norway

The vagabond mother of Christ
and the vagabond men of wisdom
all in a barn on a winter night
and a baby there in swaddling clothes on hay
Why does this story never wear out?

The sheen of it all--is a star, silver and a pine, green
For the heart of a child asking a story
The red and hungry, red and hankering heart
Calling for cross-lights of silver and green

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