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I really CAN’T DO IT! (yes.. you can!)

okay.. we’ve touched on it a bit.

The kid who just CANNOT do it. The one who totally has a melt down/freak out when something isn’t perfect. The one who’s afraid their phonetic spelling isn’t what we want to see. The one who has SUCH good ideas in their head, but just can’t quite express it.

I want to foster that safe space in my class so that students don’t feel that crazy pressure to get it right every single time.

I really believe I see potential in my class, and the way that my sponsor teacher asks the students to “use inventive spelling” is really cool. They still are wary of it, but once they bring their work to me or the teacher and get recognition for it- they feel more confident.

Now, in my last post I did touch on false growth mindset, which essentially is encouraging the wrong spelling often and not facilitating correction at some point. Here’s what my class has that I think is super helpful. We do Words Their Way and one whole wall in the room is dedicated to be a word wall. Every letter of the alphabet is up there, some had sight words under them, too. It’s really cool to be able to say to students ‘have a look around the room for words that have 5 letters in it, or words that start with the letter B…’. They have a table group game they play where the groups to find the word clues given get points (they all get points… just so you know!). My class loves this because they’re super energetic and the movement around the rooms is so great for them. It also facilitates them actively seeking words out and spelling them in their note pads.

My supervisor noticed that while I was giving my lesson, I dropped a few words the kids might not know. I think ‘obscure’ was one of them. Anyways, he suggested that i adopt a practise to write those words on the board for students to see/know how to spell. Perhaps make a collection of new words on the board and every day spend time going over them at the end of the day. I thought it was a fun idea because then they get used to seeing new words, and maybe even adopt them into their own oral language (or even written!).

One of my students came up to me during my lesson on Favourite Place and showed me his inventive spelling. He definitely used inventive spelling for the word (I think it was ‘hiking in the mountains’), and I asked what he wrote. Once he told me, I notcied how accurate his inventive spelling was- and i commended him on it.

Here’s my question: when or how can we switch from inventive spelling to getting it right?

Back to the I CAN’T. Another student was having trouble with a spelling assessment. I said the word out loud, he was to write it down. He second guessed himself every time. every time! I noticed that he often got the sound-letter right the first time, then said it outloud himself, asked me, and scribbled it out when he second guessed himself. Then he would say ‘no, it was an E’ and change it yet again. He was getting to the freak out stage soon.

I think it was a sign that growth mindset it lacking in my class. and it doesn’t seem like it will be an easy fix, for sure.

I wanted to share this video with you all, and I intend to share it with my class and have a conversation one day with them about how we can move past I CANT to I CAN TRY!

As you can tell, it’s a total work in progress. I appreciate you who’ve given some feedback on ideas and really- if anyone has any other Growth Mindset tools they’ve seen and know work please let me know! I am all ears 🙂