English spelling quiz

Here's a little quiz for you about English spelling. You can guess the answers or try to 'google' them if you don't know. There are no prizes except the warm glow of satisfaction you'll receive for each one you got right! You'll probably get a warmer glow if you didn't google them!!

Have fun and leave comments about anything you don't agree with.

Spelling with Flickr One Letter images

Images4 Education
I'm studying on an amazing course at the moment called Images4Education. We are looking at tools on the web for helping to teach English through images. Great, but how can it help spelling?

View my page on Images4Education

Flickr is a fantastic tool in its own right but there are also all sorts of things you can do with the images there. I came across something today that I thought it might help people learn to spell words that they find particularly difficult.

One letter
There is a group on Flickr called 'One Letter' where people post photos of single letters of the alphabet.

Spell with Flickr and Ramsomizr
And then I found two little applications people have made that let you spell words with these letters. You just type any word into the program and it spells it with the images like this:

S whitebrick p E41 L L

I like Spell with Flickr (above) because if you don't like one letter tile you click on it and get an alternative one. So we can have the two 'l's the same to highlight the double letter. But the tiles are a bit big for this blog!


And Ransomizr (above) does a similar thing but the advantage with this one is that you can change the size of the tiles easily. You can also get different tiles but you can't change them one by one. Just type a space after the word and you get a different selection of images.

How could we use it?
Think of a word that you find difficult to spell. Type it (correctly!) into one of the programs above. Then play around with it until you get the letter shapes and colours that you like. Try to make double letters the same and make difficult parts of the words stand out in bright colours. The more you work on it the more likely you are to remember the spelling.

Then you could print it and stick it on the fridge, in your office, above your bed, wherever. Leave it there until you don't need it any more.

Or you could copy the whole image onto onto your desktop to remind yourself.

Do it yourself
You could go to the Flickr One Letter group and find the letters you want yourself. Then copy and paste them into a document. This will give you a greater choice of letters and you could try to find letter images that fit in with the meaning of the word. (But be careful about copyright if you use other people's pictures - check their copyright restrictions and make sure you link back to their original photo, especially if you are publishing it in any form.)

Do it completely yourself
Or perhaps just use the idea as inspiration. Grab your camera, go out and take your own pictures of the letters. If possible try to make them relevant to the meaning of the word. They don't even need to be real letters, as long as they are the same shape as letters - such as a circle for 'o', a right-angle for 'L', a pattern in wallpaper might look like an 's'. It might take a week of carrying your camera round until you find all the letters, but I guarantee you'll know the spelling by then!

And then you could join the Flickr One Letter group and post your pics for others to use.

Have fun!

Any other ideas how we could use this to help with spelling?

Seeing Spelling

People who generally spell well sometimes look at a word and think "Hmm, that looks wrong". People who are weak spellers often just don't have that sense of whether a word looks right or not. So how can we help them?

Often what we see when we see a misspelled word is the wrong overall shape. So it is useful for learners to start to recognise the shapes of words that they have problems spelling or that are very important for them. Let's take the words 'which' (often misspelled as 'wich' by learners of different nationalities) and 'bicycle' as examples.

The learner or the teacher writes the word correctly and clearly by hand in lower case. Then the learner draws around the outline of the word, showing clearly where there are 'sticks' (tall letters like b, d, h) and tails (letters that drop below the line such as g, p and y). Like this:

Physically engaging with the word in this this way and being forced to notice the shape of the word helps some students form a much stronger mental image and therefore helps them to spell the word correctly later. This doesn't work for all learners, but some find it really revolutionises their spelling abilities.

Words can also be 'built' this way using Cuisennaire rods. By using the white 'one's and red 'two's, learners make a very strong visual picture of the word, which means there is more chance of becoming 'printed' in the memory. Here are 'which' and 'bicycle' again.

The teacher can then 'dictate' words that students have studied. The learners don't write them they just build the word patterns with the rods. This releases them from the stress of having to be sure of every letter but still makes them think very carefully about the spelling of the word.

I have had no resistance from adult learners when asking them to make words with the bricks (only a resistance to handing them back at the end of the activity!)

When learners have had some practice with this method they can do activities like this - matching words to their shapes. They can also make such activities for each other.

If you decide to try this method or have used this or something similar in the past, please post a comment about it.

And remember there are more spelling activities at http://www.elgweb.net/spell_act.html

Using and sharing The Spelling Blog

Just to say - don't forget to check the side bar and Creative Commons Licence of this blog too.

On the side bar there's the link to my main English Language Garden website which includes interactive spelling activities and an article on teaching remedial spelling (especially to non-native speakers).

English Language Garden spelling activities: http://www.elgweb.net/spell_act.html

English Language Garden spelling article: http://www.elgweb.net/spelling_article.html

Then there's a chance to vote on what you want this blog to do. There are three ways I could take it:
1. a spelling resource for learners
2. a teacher's resource for teaching spelling
3. a general discussion about English spelling (with an emphasis on helping those who struggle with it)

There's the archive. Find the posting you are looking for.

If you have suggestions about other areas of English spelling you would like to see here, please contact me (details here ) or comment on this posting. (How to comment: go to the bottom of a blog post and you will see something like this: 7 comments Links to this post ". Click on the word 'comments' and type your message in the box (leave your name if you want) and click Post Comment.

Also in the side bar you can subscribe to The Spelling Blog. This means that you will be notified whenever there is a new post or comment. If you need more information on how to do this write to me.

Or you may just like to be a Follower if you are a member of Blogger - this means you tell me and others that you are a fan of The Spelling Blog and get updates on your Blogger Dashboard.

Find out more About Me in my profile or go to http://www.elgweb.net/aboutme.html

Lastly, right at the bottom of the page is my Creative Commons Licence. Everything on The Spelling blog can be copied and used elsewhere for non-commercial purposes BUT you must link back to The Spelling Blog and cannot adapt the material in any way without my permission. So be nice, otherwise I'll tell your mum / teacher / boss / The Spelling Blog readers / the Google Search people - whichever is most scary!

Oh, and one last last thing! On some posts you'll see an Amazon link to buy a book that I've mentioned. If you click on this and buy or download anything (books, music, software, technical equipment, etc) from Amazon.co.uk then I get a little bit of commission. But I won't link to anything that I wouldn't recommend anyway. Promise!