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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Does spelling count?

Does spelling count?

Related Tags: 6-8 Middle School
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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?

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Bruce Deitrick Price's picture
Bruce Deitrick Price

How much you want to subtract for errors is one thing.
In all cases, the teacher should mark mistakes, to show that good grammar is important and to tell the students where they went wrong. Otherwise, how do they know?

Ghostwheel's picture

[quote]How much you want to subtract for errors is one thing.

In all cases, the teacher should mark mistakes, to show that good grammar is important and to tell the students where they went wrong. Otherwise, how do they know?[/quote]Agreed

Joe Beckmann's picture
Joe Beckmann
Retired teacher educator - UMass, EDC, various school systems

I never correct spelling. Instead, I ask them to email me papers, and post them on the SmartBoard using MS Word. That corrects the spelling while also inviting all students to help improve diction, usage and style. In an age when the tech is useful, USE IT!

Richard Wood's picture

Spellathon is the biggest, best and most exciting global sponsored spelling competition ever. All Schools, Colleges and University Unions will receive 25% of the income fundraised by their students!
The global and digital online Spellathon also provides a new free resource for teachers and their students to practice English spelling in the class room and at home in a fun and engaging way.

Stephen Fry ( is involved with Spellathon who has said: "This is just about the best integration of imagination, education, technology inclusiveness and fun that I've ever encountered"

Spellathon has been a successful, paper based annual fundraising event for learning disability charity Mencap for the last 18 years. In 2011, by applying online, laptops, mobiles, tablets and smart whiteboard technologies with state -of-the-art 3D animation, Spellathon will reach a global audience.

Registration is now open for all Schools, Colleges and Universities from around the world, to receive a personal invitation from Stephen Fry and a Free Digital Schools Pack that will contain the interactive whiteboard game, assembly video, pre-populated digital marketing materials and everything else they need to take part.

Jessica's picture
Building Confidence in Students, One Child at a Time

I am agreed too with the post and most of comment. While speaking English the most important things which is lacking in the most is grammar. Even the students they give less priority to the grammar part. But the method what they use for online test is awesome just writing few text and convey their message smartly.

Becky's picture
Gifted Education Specialist

I think elementary teachers have long known that smiley faces help lessen the coldness of the educational institution. I don't think it is all or nothing as far as casual register written language is concerned, but rather one of degree. A principal I had would *occasionally* draw a :-) on a note about an announcement for a staff meeting. That seemed a lot friendlier than writing "approved for dissemination." Formal papers are in a formal voice, no exceptions, but there is a lot of other written communication even in the educational institutions that blur the line between casual and formal. Helping kids understand that and self monitor for appropriateness is doing them a real favor because they will encounter it throughout their lives.

James Wells's picture

My initial year teaching Language Arts, I would not have dreamed assessing spelling for my eight graders. They are in eighth grade; they have had spelling for years and should be up to the task of spelling many basic words correctly, and the skills to find the words they don't know. My second year teaching Language Arts the students had a spelling test nearly every week. While spelling and grammar checkers are great tools, they are not fool proof. They commonly have issues in understanding the subtleties. These tools may make lives so much easier, but telling if the writer intended to type "desert" or "dessert" is a challenge for every spell checker I have ever worked with, (I admit that I enjoy the giggle in considering what a dry piece of cake the student must have had). It is just one of many things that knowledge of spelling and a all around familiarity of grammar can help our students overcome. Students need these skills! I can't even guess the number of applications that I read through looking for candidates for our youth center's after school program that were mired with spelling mistakes; it made otherwise great candidates look like they were unworthy of the offered positions. As my Karate teacher always told me you do as you have trained, if you train to do something incorrectly you will likely do it incorrectly when it truly matters.

Bruce Deitrick Price's picture
Bruce Deitrick Price

Here's the mnemonic I worked out years ago for dessert/desert.
S is the most sibilant of letters, and thus the most watery.
Obviously, desert is the drier word, while dessert is moist.

shanebravo's picture
In the world the parent-child relationship is one of the longest lasting so

We have seen more spelling errors in features. One misspelled word can mean a waste advertisement. Some time you hold a dictionary on hand or pocket if you are not using spell check.
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