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?

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middle school technology teacher

I think their text speak is

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I think their text speak is acceptable in informal writing. Their ideas may flow more freely if they don't have to concentrate on spelling and writing mechanics. However, in writing that will be turned in for a grade they need to use proper spelling and writing mechanics. I also don't want to see hearts and smiley faces!

Assistant Professor of human anatomy, University of Sharjah, UAE

Digital writing should not be discouraged

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If digital writing is subdued, then how can people communicate on the widely used on-line social media platforms? Twitter and YouTube, for example, restrict the tweets or comments to few words only. Without the help of emoticons and punctuations it would be difficult to express one’s opinion or feeling. However, I do agree that formal writing should still be encouraged.

I believe that students

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I believe that students should be taught and encouraged to use proper grammar, punctuation, etc. However, there is also a place for a more 'digital media' style of writing. Maybe have a journal time where students can reflect on their lives using any style of writing that they want. This allows students to become well rounded in both formal writing and in social media writing skills.

Founder, Improve-Education.org

Couldn't agree less

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RE: "Without the help of emoticons and punctuations it would be difficult ..." 1) I'm on these sites and have never needed emoticons, etc.. 2) Kids should know intimately what correct looks like before you let them loose.

Absolutely. Students need to

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Absolutely. Students need to be able understand and demonstrate their comprehension of standard English. The technology today has taken away from that learning and brain washed them into texting and shortening words or using incorrect grammar and puncuation. Stidents need to have proper english skills for their future success so I believe it's better to start them out early.

Middle school English teacher from Flushing, New York

Yes! Especially if the word

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Yes! Especially if the word is on the page in the form of a word bank. If my students misspell a word that is directly in front of them, they lose credit. Correct spelling is more than just about the correct arrangement of letters, but it also forces students to pay more attention and to be more meticulous in their work, which translates to other subject areas (math in particular).

On the other hand, spelling mistakes on in-class essays that demand analysis is something I try to overlook (to a point). If the kid misspells "disingenuous", but writes an insightful piece about tragedy in Of Mice and Men, I ain't gonna kill 'em.

Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

as always- it's somewhere in between

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Spelling and grammar are important so that you can get across meaning, and nuance, as needed. It's part of having language fluency. And it develops over time, as kids become more sophisticated in both their thought process, writing production, and general communication skills. Spelling also connotes how well educated you are to many people, so I think it's an important metric that needs to be nurtured over time, but not seen as a punishment tool in grading. That seems only to discourage kids from writing and producing more content.

This article, published in

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This article, published in Huff Post, is interesting...

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/21/technology-spell-check-leaves...

Literacy Graduate Student

Yes!!!!

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I do believe spelling counts. I feel that spelling and handwriting are getting pushed to the side in curriculum today for a variety of reasons. One reason is the shift in instructional priorities. The second reason is our current emphasis on digital forms of communication. Word processing programs, spell-check, among other editing tools have led people to believe that teaching spelling and penmanship is no longer necessary. These skills are foundational skills that help build reading and writing skills. Research has proven that children’s ability to map sounds to letters grows through practice and by exposure to print, amn of their direct letter-sound associations grow more conventional(Hendersson & Beers, 1980; read, 1975; Templeton & Morris, 2000). This growing ability to map sounds to letters becomes a kind of glue that helps hold words in memory. As their knowledge of words increases, and as they are taught reading and spelling in school, children have more information from which to develop more sophisticated theories about the system. Invented spellings gradually become more conventional in appearance as children begin attending to how sounds are spelled, not just to single letters, but also to patterns of letters. Graham, Best Practice in Writing Instruction(2007),p.184. I agree that spelling and handwriting are building blocks. Poorly developed skills can affect higher level-literacy processes. I do not feel they should be neglected by any means. However, I do feel that students need to experience writing on digital devices as well. We need to prepare them with 21st century skills to be successful in today’s learning world. Therefore, I believe there should be a balance. I feel they should be taught foundational skills in spelling, handwriting, reading and writing first but encourage them to practice and learn writing using technology as well. One suggestion for teachers would be to have students writing rough drafts with pencil and paper and writing final drafts on the word processor.

Executive Director, Founder of Arts & Learning Conservatory

Of course spellings count if

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Of course spellings count if one can not spell it corretly he/she cannot correctly pronounce it,overall language perfection evaporates so i think is is truly important

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