Full-Body Spelling Workout at IATEFL

At the IATEFL Conference in Brighton (England) this year I led a workshop called  

Full-Body Spelling Workout 

This focused on kinaesthetic routes to teaching spelling. The lovely people at IATEFL videoed my session and have posted it here on the Brighton Online website

But you can also watch it below. It's about 45 minutes long.


It was wonderful to meet so many people at IATEFL. A special thank you to those who came to my workshop. For me this year's IATEFL was the most enjoyable and useful one ever. If you weren't able to attend you can watch lots of sessions here.

13 comments:

  1. Just posted a link to this on the TeachingEnglish facebook page http://www.facebook.com/TeachingEnglish.BritishCouncil if you'd like to check for comments.

    Please feel free to post there when you have anything you'd like to share.

    Best,

    Ann

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  2. Ann, thank you very much. Much appreciated - and thanks for letting me know.
    Johanna

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  3. Hello Ms. Stirling,

    My name is A. Athas, and I’m currently an English education major at a Floridian university. I just thought I would comment on your video, and tell you that you have awesome ideas to help English Language Learners with spelling. For instance, I thought the play-dough spelling of “bed” would definitely help students with the distinction of “b” and “d”—and it’s such a creative idea. Lastly, I thought the full-body word spelling looks like an engaging activity, and my students would love it. Again, I thank you for presenting such useful, fun, creative, and effective methods to help our students with spelling.

    ~A.Athas

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  4. Thank you so much, A. Athas, for your very encouraging words. I always really glad when people find my work useful.

    Johanna

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  5. Great video. I will recommend it at my school. Such wonderful ideas for making spelling fun. With the playdough spelling the words could be projected onto the interactive whiteboard and traced there. I also love the movie idea. My students will have a million ideas on that one.

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  6. I'm thinking we can do the wa words in 2 colour playdough.

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  7. Thinking about machine from French, as in your video, have you had to explain 'mechanic' that has the Greek souding ch in it? My students would be sure to challenge this one.

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  8. It's useful to point out to learners that a lot of English comes from French, most of French comes from Latin and a lot of Latin comes from Greek. So both pronunciation and spelling may be affected by the route of a word's entrance into English. It looks to me as if 'mechanic' came directly from Greek, while 'machine' (although from the same root)came via French.

    Take a look at this from The Online Etymology Dictionary (www.etymonline.com/) - a favourite website of mine.

    "machine (n.)
    1540s, "structure of any kind," from M.Fr. machine "device, contrivance," from L. machina "machine, engine, fabric, frame, device, trick" (cf. Sp. maquina, It. macchina), from Gk. makhana,

    mechanic
    late 14c. (adj.) "pertaining to or involving mechanical labor" (now usually mechanical), from L. mechanicus (n. and adj.), from Gk. mekhanikos "an engineer" (n.), also "resourceful, inventive," lit. "pertaining to machines" (adj.), from mekhane (see machine)."

    So we can see that machine came via French, but mechanic didn't. In other wordds, I was right ;-)

    The differences are interesting, but don't make English very user-friendly for learners!

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  9. Hi Johanna, thanks for this clarification. You're inspiring me to pursue this path more deeply.

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  10. Can you suggest any short/brief videos outlining the history of English suitable for young children? My Australian students don't have a concept of Roman Invasion or Angles or Jutes. It would be a useful thing to contextualise the activity about word origins ,which I am desperate to do with my class and did a lot of trialling with my own children over the weekend with many words. That's how I noticed machine and mechanic.

    (I've had a brief look at the BBC and British Museum sites with no success.)

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  11. No, sorry, I've never come across anything like that. I do my own talk about the history of English spelling called 'Where DID you get that spelling? and if you pay for my flight to Australia I'll come and do it! ;-)
    Johanna

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  12. I'll get to work on that one :-) ! Though you may have done yourself out of that job as the explanation in your text is pretty much all the info I really need for my students.

    Still we here in Oz might be receptive. Blissfully we have never heard of synthetic phonics..... (What a terrible name for a program. Can you imagine the eyes rolling about it in ten years?)

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  13. Hi Johanna,

    Things move slowly in real time but I finally did some lessons on your great idea about the languages that common letter combinations/chunks come from. I think I used the same examples you modelled in your video. Then I had a big list of words, that I found matching pictures for, and showed them one by one on the smartboard. Those were the words that went into my classes spelling lists this week. We have done two sessions with the moving around the classroom so far and will do another. A key part for my class is tracing the part of the word (in the air) that tells us it comes from eg Greek 'ch'

    Following one of the session I then put the 3 class lists on the smartboard, moved the furniture back and had the students sit in pairs, back to back so one partner faced the board, the other away. They tested each other on words orally, then made drawing or cartoon about the word they found hardest. This was one way of assessing which words are hard, but my kids love drawing so much, they get in and make sure the word is spelt correctly in the cartoon. Also they know I won't accept it incorrectly!

    Megan

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