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Word Study

December 15, 2020 | Melia McHugh

For the last four weeks, Second Grade students have been learning some rules in spelling and working on spelling 8 words using these rules.

In this lesson, students learn that by adding a “silent -e” to the end of a word it changes the vowel sound from a “short” vowel sound to a “long” vowel sound. First, they added an -e to the example in the left column. Then, they challenged themselves to think of their own short vowel words that they could add an -e to, to make it a long vowel sound. It was amazing to see what they came up with!

They create their own word list on a green sheet of paper. They use this sheet of words for the rest of the week as they practice spelling in different ways.

One of the strategies they use during the week is “Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check”. They “Look” at the word on the list and then turn the list over. They will “Say” the letters for the word after they pull down the far left flap and “Write” the word. They flip the list back over and “Check” each letter that they see on the list and in the word they wrote. For example: “cane” they will say, “C,C-A,A-N,N-E,E”. Then, they cover the first flap and pull down the middle and far right flaps, one at a time, repeating the process.

Another strategy that is used, is writing a word three times in a row in their Word Study Notebooks. They work on spelling and handwriting.

We also do step or ladder writing. When students do this work in their notebooks, they “build” the words one letter at a time.

Writing each letter in the air, while saying the letter, is a strategy known as “Air Writing”. They spell each word 3 times using this method. This is another way for their bodies to “feel” and say the letters of each words as they write.

Students end the week by writing sentences that include their spelling word. They not only are working on spelling, but also thinking about sentence structure. Are they starting the sentence with a capital letter? Are they remembering punctuation? Are they able to start their sentences in different ways?

Finally, on Thursday mornings, they take a quiz on the eight words on a white sheet of paper. Teachers will check and record each student’s scores. We staple all of their work from the week together and send it home for you to see. Take a moment to ask your child which of these strategies they like best and why. I was surprised by some of their answers.


Melia McHugh

Teacher, Grade 2 Forests Class

Melia McHugh first started working with young children at a private school that cared for children from infancy through third grade while in her early teens. She enjoyed her experience working with all age groups, especially her time during college when she taught arts and crafts to kindergarten through third grade students during the summer camp season. After completing a degree in Anthropology and working as a trainer in the Human Resources industry, Ms. McHugh returned to her first passion and got a degree to teach and work with children again. After seven years of teaching high school social studies, Ms. McHugh decided to stay home with her two children.

Ms. McHugh and her husband discovered Mustard Seed School when it was time for their oldest son to enter kindergarten. Soon after he started school, she started to substitute teach at Mustard Seed and later worked part-time in the Nest and as a maternity leave replacement in grades four and five. Ms. McHugh enjoys watching every child, including two of her sons, thrive in the community and environment that Mustard Seed excels at providing for each and every student. When not at work, Ms. McHugh enjoys spending time at the beach or outdoors with her husband and three sons. Ms. McHugh also loves history, reading, and resting.

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