Teaching middle school is not for the faint of heart. But if you're called to do it, you know there's nothing else quite like it. Join us in discussing what works - and what doesn't.

Does spelling count?

Sandra Wozniak President, NJ Association for Middle Level Education

Does spelling count? That used to be the big question. What students meant was “will you be taking off points for misspelled words?” While using technology in class now, the question is essentially, “do we have to spell words right on purpose?” I frequently use an online discussion tool. Many students use text speak and emoticons whenever they are using an online tool in their personal lives, be it social media or mobile. Students have learned a variety of ways to make their words become their voice, including emoticons, CAPITAL LETTERS, and lots of punctuation!!!!!! Some teachers allow that style of writing while using online discussion tools because it increases their excitement and engagement with the tool, freeing them to “learn the way they live,” Other educators feel that if you are using the tool for a class students should be practicing proper writing skills at all times, including spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, etc. What do you think? Does digital writing count?

Comments (47)

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Retired teacher educator - UMass, EDC, various school systems

Spell it HOW? you just did it

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Spell it HOW? you just did it as "corretly," and, of course, earned a squiggle red underline. Too many - perhaps thee - type on phones and low functioning keypads, or use software without that squiggle, to rely on how "critical" spelling may be and whether it be truly or truely important....

middle school math teacher in Ohio - I blog at www.teach4theheart.com

This is a tough question. As

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This is a tough question. As a math teacher, I started out not counting spelling (points off for spelling was a pet peeve of mine as a student.) But I soon found that the students weren't learning how to spell basic math terms and thus looked like they didn't know what they were talking about.
I found a good compromise: I took a half point off for each misspelled point on their test. BUT - if they wrote each misspelled word 5 times and turned it in, I gave them the points back.
It was win-win: if they cared enough about losing points, they would write the words. But not making it mandatory saved me from the headache of tracking them down.
I found that the students' spelling of the words dramatically improved with this system.

Education Consultant

Students should know the

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+1

Students should know the difference between times when spelling counts and when it does not. Spelling is an important skill that kids should always be learning and practicing. However, with social media, it's a skill that is not practiced often enough.

Compromise on this issue is always appreciated by students. Try assigning a "tweet report", where students have to create a series of tweets on a subject. This will give them an opportunity to express themselves when spelling "doesn't count".

As long as you're clear on your expectations, students will rise to any challenge!

In my opinion, you couldn't

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In my opinion, you couldn't have solved it better.

I concur. Learn foundation

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I concur. Learn foundation before you throw rules out the window.

Middle school language arts teacher in eastern Colorado

I do the same and find that

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+1

I do the same and find that it works in my classroom, as well. Glad to hear I'm not the only one!

Sixth Grade English/History teacher (New)

When in doubt I ask, "What

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When in doubt I ask, "What would I want for my children?" The answer is yes, spelling matters.

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