StarSpell 3 Spelling Guide - Sample sessions Pointers for StarSpell in class

This Guide aims to demystify how spelling is learned. It shows smart ways to help learners, both using StarSpell and with activities away from the computer. All the practice in the Guide is based on actual classroom experience

Sample sessions Pointers for StarSpell in class

Off-computer spelling activities describes activities for spelling development across the stages, many of which find echoes and parallels in the activities StarSpell offers, described in StarSpell activities and the Spelling Route - finding your place. All those StarSpell activities are suited to larger groups in front of an interactive whiteboard, or individuals/small groups at a workstation screen.

Here we portray a number of classroom scenarios, ranging through all six stages described in the Spelling Route. In the Sample sessions we see teachers at work, using StarSpell with an interactive whiteboard, with a class or group of pupils. Hopefully, these sessions will not only show the variety of StarSpell's interactions, but will also tempt you to replicate them, and stimulate you to invent further sessions specific to your needs.

Of course, the sessions can easily be adapted for individual tuition at a single computer.

The same format has been used to introduce each session:

· Purpose of the session

· Preparation (of StarSpell, and general preparation)

· The session itself

· Links to relevant sections of this guide.

· All sessions are designed for use with an interactive whiteboard

To help you find your way around the 29 sessions, they are listed next.

List of teaching sessions

For Early phonic readiness

Listen-&-Build work

Session 1 Word-sayers meet Sound-sayers: familiarise learners with the idea of 'Tops', by presenting a group of words sharing the same initial sound.

Session 2 Runaways: practise words as strings of sounds, to be separated-out and juggled around.

For further phonic readiness

Listen-&-Build work

Session 3 The Breaker and the Builder: introduce word-building.

Session 4 Building and Blending: demonstrate building and blending.

Session 5 Vowel mischief: practise distinguishing the central vowel in CVC words.

For the beginning of Early Phonics

Listen-&-Build work

Session 5 Vowel mischief: practise distinguishing the central vowel in CVC words.

Session 6 Wink'n'Build: practise word building.

Session 7 Introducing StarSpelling (1): introduce the core routine of the Spelling mode; also practise word building.

Session 8 Introducing StarSpelling (2): introduce the "wrong letter" feature of the Spelling mode; also practise word building.

Session 9 Introducing StarSpelling (3): introduce the "wrong order" feature of the Spelling mode; also practise word building.

Session 10 Juggle me a word: practice in juggling around the sounds of words.

Session 11 Here Comes a New Sound: introduce a letter-sound match.

Session12 c-grabber at work: reinforce the learning of a letter-sound match.

For Early Phonics

Listen-&-Build work

Session 13 Count One, Count Two: introduce the concept of digraph.

Session 14 Doctor Phoneme and Nurse Grapheme: practise segmenting and re-building by focusing on the digraph in words containing a digraph.

For Early Phonics and Further Phonics

Listen-&-Build work

Session 15 Meet a New Match: introduce an alternative spelling for long (ē): ea.

Session 16 Keep a Word-Bank in Your Head: reinforce the learning of an alternative spelling, ea, and the memorisation of an ea word-bank.

Session 17 ea pickers: practise choices for alternative spellings ea and ee, and reinforce the memorisation of ea and ee word-banks.

Session 18 Spelling For Real: raise awareness of strategies for independent spelling.

For Further Phonics

Listen-&-Build work

Session 19 New Spelling for Old: introduce the alternative spelling: ear as in earth.

Session 20 Feel the Beat: introduce counting syllables, via compound words.

Session 21 Syllable Counting: reinforce syllabification skills.

Look & Learn work

Session 22 Hot Spot Study-Spot: help learners memorise High Frequency "tricky words".

Session 23 A Tricky Word: bring variety to the necessary repetition of the Look & Learn sequence (e.g. for curriculum vocabulary).

Session 24 String Along: memorisation of a common letter-string.

Working within Words work

Session 25 Hunting the Rule (1): help learners reach a generalisation, or "rule": i.e. that most one-syllable words ending in the phoneme s spell it as double ss.

Session 26 Hunting the Rule (2): present material from which learners can reach a generalisation, or "rule" (e.g. when full is added to make an adjective, it drops its second l).

Session 27 The Double or No Double Puzzle: demonstrate that prefix knowledge (e.g.: im-) provides insights into spelling.

Working within Words and Look & Learn work

Session 28 Wait for It: investigation of word derivations; also, practice in visual memorisation.

For Beyond Phonics / Near-Correct

Working within Words and Look & Learn work

Session 29 Quick on the Draw: revise subject-area vocabulary (in this case, Art, styles); also, practise memorisation strategies.


For early phonic readiness

Session 1: Word-sayers meet Sound-sayers

Familiarise learners with the idea of 'Tops', by presenting a group of words sharing the same initial sound. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· In Preferences, select Animation and set the speed to Slow for this session.

· Choose a list from Phonics Lists: Tops & Tails > Tops > e.g. bag, bun, bed.

The Session

1. Play an I-Spy type game to tune-in the pupils to the idea of listening for the initial sound. Target the initial sound/s that you'll use in this StarSpell session.

2. Show the chosen list word by word. (Click on Next, simply ignoring Start.)

3. Ask about the beginning sound. Once the pupils have heard the list through, ask them to tell you the 'top' shared by the words in this list. If necessary, guide them towards the right answer.

4. Ask your pupils to form pairs, one to be Word-sayer, the other to be Sound-sayer.

5. Pupils say word and 1st sound to each other. Re-run the list (use Again), this time holding each word longer on screen, and re-playing each word aloud several times.

6. Word-sayers say each word to their partner, while Sound-sayers tell them its "top".

Variation: Depending on your group, in the same session you could repeat the mode with two or three other initial sounds (using other lists from the same Group).

Note: Of course the segmentation part of the mode is there, all ready for your use whenever your group of learners is ready. But meanwhile this partial activity can be a very useful, motivating introduction to "tops".

Links

About Tops & Tails; Phonic readiness grows step-by-step; Beginning to develop phonic readiness: Stages 3 and 4; The Tops & Tails mode

Return to list of sessions


Session 2: Runaways

Practise words as strings of sounds, to be separated-out and juggled around. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· In Preferences, select Display and ensure Letter pattern is checked.

· Select Animation and set the speed to Slow for this session.

· Choose a list from Phonics Lists: Tops & Tails > Tops (single letter starts).

The Session

1. Read out the words from the list's start screen, emphasising each word's "top".

2. Ask the group to tell you the "top" shared by the words in this list.

3. Show the list word by word. (Click on Next, simply ignoring Start.) For this first run-through of the list, take time to initiate and encourage chat about each picture. (All language learning goes better when supported by context.) Use the sentences if they seem useful for your group.

4. Re-start the list (use Again).

5. Demonstrate the "naughty behaviour" of the "top": she keeps running away from the rest of the word. Ask the pupils to help you catch her. Click on Start, and the top runs off across the screen. Demonstrate how to catch her and bring her back (a click), and how a second click brings the rest of the word back in line.

6. Choose a Catcher, and re-run the word (use Again).

7. The Catcher catches the word: s/he must watch carefully to see where the runaway letter settles on the screen, then is allowed to "click 'n' catch" to re-assemble the whole word.

8. Repeat with the rest of the list, then other lists. Make it progressively more challenging by speeding up the animation (Animation, in Preferences).

Variation: Once the pupils are familiar with the routine, vary it by getting them all (or just a Catcher) to close their eyes or turn their backs as the runaway letter escapes, having to pinpoint it on re-opening their eyes/turning around.

Links

About Tops & Tails; Phonic readiness grows step-by-step; Beginning to develop phonic readiness Stages 3 and 4; The Tops & Tails mode

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For further phonic readiness

Session 3: The Breaker and the Builder

Introduce word-building. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select Animation and check the speed is medium.

· Choose a list from Phonics Lists: Tops & Tails > Tops (single letter starts).

The Session

1. Introduce the session as being all about The Breaker and The Builder. The Breaker breaks up words and The Builder builds words. (Present these two characters with suitable drama!)

2. Read out the words from the list's start screen, emphasising each word's "top".

3. Ask the group to tell you the "top" shared by the words in this list. This is useful understanding for them, before they see the word "exploded" and re-built.

4. Show the list word by word. (Click on Next, simply ignoring Start.) For this first run-through of the list, take time to initiate and encourage chat about each picture. (All language learning goes better when supported by context.) Use the sentences if they seem useful for your group.

5. Explain more about The Breaker and The Builder. Warn that The Breaker comes along to split each word in two. S/he clicks on Start and the word springs apart. But help is at hand: The Builder comes along to drag the letters together and rebuild the word.

6. Select your pupil-helpers: One pupil as The Breaker, three others as Builders, one per word.

7. Re-run the list (use Again). This time, word by word, while…

8. Breaker and Builders do their stuff: The Breaker has the job of clicking on Start, with each time a Builder coming along to rescue the situation.

9. Repeat the word. At each starburst of success, the group repeats the word, perhaps a few times, as you click the Ear in support.

Links

About Tops & Tails; Phonic readiness grows step-by-step; Beginning to develop phonic readiness: Stages 3 and 4; The Tops & Tails mode

Return to list of sessions


Session 4: Building and Blending

Demonstrate building and blending. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· ChoosePhonics Lists: Phase 2: Introducing simple graphemes for phonemes > Set s, a, t, p, i, n, m, d > n.

· In Preferences, select Animation and set the speed to Slow for this session.

· Provide each pupil with access to trays of plastic letters, or letters on cards. (This list requires the two vowels a and i, and three consonants n, p, t.)

· The learners should have already done some work on learning these letter-sound matches.

The Session

1. Display the first word of the list.

2. Introduce the activity as being about building and blending sounds to make words.

3. Explain that it starts as "listening-work". So:

o Click on the Ear, allowing your group to listen to this first word a few times. (Always include a little bit of chat here about the picture, along with the sentence, because context supports language learning. Round off the chat by re-playing the spoken word.)

o Ask how many sounds can be heard in the word. (Use the Ear to replay it as often as necessary.)

4. Introduce the next work as "looking-work", and ask your group how many letters they can see.

5. Click Start to break up the word, explaining that you are juggling the letters around.

6. Ask your pupils to pick the same three letters from their own plastic/card letters.

7. Build the word on screen by dragging the letters into place.

8. Pupils copy this by taking their own plastic/card letters and bringing them together.

9. Explain this activity as "building" the three sounds together, and say the sounds slowly, separately and distinctly, and get the pupils to do the same.

10. Demonstrate "blending": sounds blending into one word when you read. Say the complete word, now smoothly blended, and have the pupils do the same.

11. Continue with the same procedure, through the list.

12. The pupils practise building words from their own letters, which they then blend as they read them aloud

Links

Learning phonic skills in Early Phonics; Distinguishing and "juggling" sounds by manipulating letters; The Phonics mode

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Session 5: Vowel mischief

Practise distinguishing the central vowel in CVC words. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· StarSpell Lists, in Management, use Edit word lists to create a custom list of CVC words that differ only in their central vowel e.g. pan, pin, pen; bad, bed, bud; hit, hot, hat.

· In Preferences:

Animation: check the speed is medium.

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard, Speaks letter sound.

Visibility: Picture and Sentence are checked.

Sound: Speech and Other sounds are checked.

Display: Display time, select Click on OK; Word display, check Word showing.

· The learners should have already done some work on learning the letter-sound matches used in your Custom list.

· Have a poster or whiteboard image of the vowels in your Custom list, for Step 2.

The Session

1. Introduce the session by claiming that you believe some mischief has got into StarSpell's vowels: they will insist on taking each other's places when you try to spell a word. But if you can find some pupils who are able to tell StarSpell the true sound that is needed, in the end the right letter will sit properly in its proper place. "Shall we have a go? Will you help me?"

2. Remind your group of what you mean by "vowels". Show them the letters for the vowels of this session, on poster or whiteboard, and make sure they know these letter-sound matches.

3. Show your first word.

4. Put the word in context, by taking time to listen to the sentence, encouraging a little chat about any picture.

5. Click the Ear and listen to the word several times.

6. Which vowel? Ask the group to tell you which vowel they hear in the middle of the word.

7. Invite your group to help you spell the word, pretending some fear and trepidation as to what mischief the vowels might be up to.

8. But you are "forced" to spell it wrongly... because of course the mischief-magic's working! You have no option but to try first one then a second wrong vowel which go crashing into the bin, while your group call out the letter-sound of the correct one. Until, on your third attempt the pupils' calling-out efforts are successful.

9. Repeat the "struggle" with the other words in your list, to then wind up the session triumphant in having beaten the mischievous vowels.

10. A final recap: return to the list's opening screen, and have the pupils read from it with you the three completed words.

Links

Learning letter-sound matches in Early Phonics; Distinguishing and "juggling" sounds by manipulating letters; The Spelling mode

Return to List of sessions


Beginning Early Phonics

Session 5 is useful at this stage, too, making custom lists to meet your current teaching needs.

Session 6: Wink'n'Build

Practise word building. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists: One Letter for One Sound > Short vowels > a.

· In Preferences:

Games: Have Sentence and Pictures showing, Letter pattern hidden and Speech on.

Adjust list: Change Max words in list to give a suitable number of words.

· Pupils should be familiar with the concept of The Breaker and The Builder from Session 3.

· From the list's opening screen, select Extra, then StarPick.

The Session

1. Introduce the session as needing Builders only, because a Breaker has already been around, busily breaking up these words. Now we need to repair the damage.

2. Choose your Builder/s: nominate one pupil per word, or take a volunteer as each word appears.

3. Show the first word of your chosen StarPick list.

4. Put the word in context by playing the sentence and talking about it, and any picture. Point out the three letters scattered across the screen, simply lying around in any old order, scrambled up, just as the Breaker left them. They need help!

5. Explain the task. Ask: "Can you see where these three letters belong?" Use the pupils' responses to draw attention to the three square dots in the centre of the screen; and point out that the first one is winking at them: "Look! That's the place for the first letter. We have winks to help us re-build this word."

6. The first Builder steps up.

7. Ask the group to help by saying each sound. They must listen again to the word; this time listening very, very carefully to the sounds that it's built from.

8. Click the Ear then ask the group to say the word's first sound for The Builder.

9. The Builder finds the right letter and clicks it, so that it shoots satisfyingly onto the winking dot, and extinguishes it. Give enough guidance to ensure success, but if your Builder can cope, allow StarSpell to bounce away any wrong choices.

10. Point out the second dot, now winking away; again ask the group to tell The Builder its sound, then ask her or him to click on its letter. Repeat the process for the third letter.

11. Continue, to complete the list.

Possible follow-up: Off-computer practice in building these same words using plastic letters.

Links

The cluster of skills that is spelling; Distinguishing and "juggling" sounds by manipulating letters; The StarPick Spelling Game

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Session 7: Introducing StarSpelling (1)

Introduce the core routine of the Spelling mode; also practise word building. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists: One Letter for One Sound > Short vowels > e.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard and Speaks letter sound.

Visibility: check Picture and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech and Other sounds.

Display: Display time, select Click on OK; Word display, select Word showing.

Adjust list: Change Max words in list to give a suitable number of words

· The pupils should be familiar with Tops & Tails in Phonics Lists, and should have met the concept of The Builder.

The Session

1. Introduce the Spelling mode: "Today we're going StarSpelling. We're going to be StarSpelling quite a lot, so let's find out how it works."

2. Choose a pupil to be The Starter (who could perhaps use a whistle?).

3. Show the screen for the first word of your chosen StarSpell Lists.

4. Put the word in context by playing the sentence and engaging your group in talking about it, and any picture.

5. Next, ask the pupils to listen to the word, very carefully. Ask: can they hear the first sound, the second, and the last sound? Can they tell you each sound? Re-play the word as often as needed, using the Ear.

6. The Starter clicks on OK to start the spelling time (perhaps with your chosen starting sound?). The word vanishes.

7. Tell the group that today you will be The Builder, but they must help by telling you each sound as you go along.

8. Re-assemble the now-vanished word, using the on-screen keyboard; get the pupils to prompt you as to the sounds you need. Avoid errors, to prevent any StarSpell correction routines, in this introductory session.

9. Check your spelling: "Shall we see if we built that properly? Let's check". The Starter clicks OK.

10. The spelling is rewarded with StarSpell's starburst.

11. Continue, to complete your list.

Possible follow-up: Off-computer practice in building these same words, using plastic letters, and other resources. (See link below.)

Links

The cluster of skills that is spelling; Activities for stage 3: learning to build and blend; The Spelling mode

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Session 8: Introducing StarSpelling (2)

Introduce the "wrong letter" feature of the Spelling mode; also to practise word building. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists : One Letter for One Sound > Short vowels > i.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard and Speaks letter sound.

Visibility: check Picture, and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech and Other sounds.

Display: Display time, select Click on OK; Word display, check Word showing.

Adjust list Choose a suitable number of words from Max words in list.

· The pupils should already be familiar with StarSpelling from Session 7, and the roles of Starter and Builder.

The Session

1. Introduce the Session: remind your group that they've already done some StarSpelling (in Session 7). Now tell them that they're going to find out other things that go on in StarSpelling. In your best dramatic fashion: "You're going to meet The Smasher, and The Helpful Star!"

2. Choose a pupil to be the Starter (who could perhaps use a whistle, as in Session 7).

3. Present the first word: add context by listening to the sentence and discussing any picture.

4. Listen to the word as often as appropriate, by clicking on the Ear icon.

5. Ask your pupils to say the letter-sounds in the correct sequence. (Click Ear, as needed.)

6. The Starter clicks OK (perhaps with chosen accompanying sound?) and the word vanishes.

7. Tell the group that today you will be the first Builder, but they must help by telling you each sound as you go along.

8. Spell the word, deliberately choosing one wrong letter (for this list, perhaps the vowel). Answer any group objections by handing-over the responsibility for checking to StarSpell (next Step, Step 9).

9. Bring in the Starter for the check-and-correction routine: "Shall we see if I built properly? Let's check." The Starter clicks OK, as for Step 6.

10. The Smasher arrives on-screen, and jolly sound of breaking glass accompanies the wrong letter into the bin.

11. The on-screen Helpful Star delivers the correct letter into place. The correct word stays on screen.

12. Talk through what went wrong (the letter that the Smasher threw away), and what's now right (the letter that the Helpful Star replaced).

13. Time to get it right: The Starter clicks OK; the word vanishes; choose a pupil now as Builder, to re-assemble the word; check ("Shall we see if the Builder has built properly? Let's check". The Starter clicks OK) and the starburst rewards your Builder.

14. Continue, to complete your list.

Links

The cluster of skills that is spelling; Learning to build and blend; The Spelling mode

Return to list of Sessions


Session 9: Introducing StarSpelling (3)

Introduce the "wrong order" feature of the Spelling mode; also practise word building. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists: One letter for one sound > Short vowels > o.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard and Speaks letter sound.

Visibility: check Picture, and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech and Other sounds.

Display: Display time, select Click on OK; Word display, check Word showing.

Adjust list Choose a suitable number of words from Max words in list.

· The pupils should already be familiar with StarSpelling, and the roles of Starter and Builder, from Session 7. From Session 8 they will know that StarSpelling involves the Smasher and the Helpful Star.

· Plan your organisation, for Step 2.

The Session

1. Introduce this session in your best dramatic fashion: "the Helpful Star as weight-lifter!"

2. Choose a pupil as the Starter, as for Session 7.

3. Show the first word of your chosen list.

4. Put the word in context by playing the sentence and engaging your group in talking about it, and any picture.

5. Ask the pupils to listen to the word, very carefully, and say the separate letter-sounds in the correct sequence. Re-play the word as often as needed, using the Ear.

6. The Starter clicks OK to make the word vanish.

7. Repeat the sequence from memory: the group or selected individuals do this.

8. Tell the group that you'll be the first Builder, but they must tell you the sounds you need.

9. Spell the word, but deliberately transpose two letters e.g. odg (dog). (You could even put all three in the wrong order e.g. gdo). Answer any group objections by handing-over the responsibility for checking to StarSpell (next Step).

10. The check-and-correction routine: "Shall we see if I built properly? Let's check." The Starter clicks OK.

11. The Helpful Star hoists then drops the letters into their correct sequence.

12. Keep the correct word on screen, and talk through what went wrong, and what's now right. Comment on the letters that were moved around; demonstrate how the 'word' would sound with the letters in that wrong order.

13. Time to get it right. The Starter clicks OK; the word vanishes; one pupil as Builder re-assembles the word; check ("Shall we see if the Builder has built properly? Let's check". The Starter clicks OK) and the starburst rewards your Builder.

14. Continue, to complete your list.

Links

The cluster of skills that is spelling; Activities for stage 3: learning to build and blend; The Spelling mode

Return to list of Sessions


Session 10: Juggle me a word

Practice in juggling around the sounds of words; quite a thoughtful activity. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· StarSpell Lists, in Management, use Edit word lists to create a custom list of CVC words, for example: net, top, tap, pan, pin.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard and Speaks letter sound.

Visibility: check Picture, and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech and Other sounds.

Display: Display time, select Click on OK; Word display, check Word showing.

· Provide each pupil with plastic letters, or letters on cards. The sample list here requires the four vowels a, e, i, and three consonants, n, p, t.

· The learners should have already done some work on learning these letter-sound matches.

The Session

1. Show the first word of your chosen list.

2. Add context, through talking about the sentence, and about any picture.

3. Ask the pupils to listen very carefully to the word. Re-play the word as often as needed, using the Ear.

4. Can the pupils say the first, second then last sound?

5. The word vanishes as the Starter clicks OK.

6. Ask the group to repeat the word's sequence of sounds, as in Step 4, now from memory.

7. You spell the word on screen, but deliberately spell it 'back-to-front': for instance, spell net as ten.

8. Ask the pupils to say the letter-sounds in the on-screen sequence that you have just typed. Discuss: "Can you see how I've been juggling these sounds around?"

9. Point out that sometimes mixed-up letters do make another real word. So call for volunteers to tell you the new word now on screen, or guide your group to say each on-screen letter-sound until they arrive at the new word.

10. Time to rethink: "But StarSpell wants its word back. We'll let the Helpful Star re-jig it!"

11. Choose a Starter who clicks OK; the Helpful Star hoists then drops the mis-sequenced letters to make the original word.

12. Time for the group to get it right; the Starter clicks on OK; the word vanishes; with the group's help, you re-assemble the word correctly; or you ask a pupil to be the Builder.

13. The check and reward routine: "Shall we see if the Builder has built properly?" The Starter clicks OK. The Builder is rewarded with the starburst.

14. Continue in this way, through each word in this short custom list.

15. In consolidation, replay the list, and this time your pupils are required, as each word is spoken, to build it with their own plastic/card letters.

Links

Learning phonic skills in Early Phonics; Activities for stage 3: learning to build and blend; The Spelling mode

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Session 11: Here Comes a New Sound

Introduce a letter-sound match. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists : One Letter for One Sound > Short vowels, picking any list from 1 to 5.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: un-check On-Screen Keyboard, because the spelling of the word is not your focus here.

Visibility: check Picture, and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech and Other sounds, but uncheck letter sound and letter name.

Display: Display time, select Click on OK; Word display, select Pattern only.

· In Management: Edit word lists, Edit Words, Print word list: print a copy, or copies, of the word-list, including its pictures, but not the sentences.

The Session

1. Introduce the session, with suitable dramatic flourish, by telling the pupils that you've a new letter-sound match for them (or, whatever term you're using: grapheme-phoneme correspondence, GPC, sound-symbol correspondence).

2. Show the first word in the list: it will be spoken, and the featured vowel will appear below the picture.

3. Put the word in context by playing the sentence and engaging your group in talking about it, and any picture.

4. Replay the word as often as seems useful, before asking the group to say the word themselves.

5. Next, ask them to "say the word in slow motion", separating out the three sounds: t-o-p.

6. Now ask them to listen especially hard to the featured vowel sound, as you point to it on screen.

7. Get them to say the sound, isolated from the word.

8. Then again have them say the complete word, listening out for that vowel at its centre, while you point to it.

9. Click on OK when ready to move to the next word, and quickly type the word in. Incidentally, that, and the rewarding starburst, gives you a chance to comment briefly on the task you were doing: you were spelling!

10. Move on through the list, maintaining in this same manner the focus of this session: the introduction of that particular short vowel.

11. Reinforce the experience by giving your pupils copies of the word list, with the words and their pictures, to collect in a folder. Or enlarge one copy on your photocopier, for wall display.

Links

Learning letter-sound matches in Early Phonics; Activities for stage 3: Learning letter-sound matches; The Spelling mode

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Session12: c-grabber at work

Reinforce the learning of a letter-sound match (c is used to illustrate). Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select Phonics Lists: Phase 2 > Set 3: g, o, c, k > c.

· A tip: Lists introducing consonants make an easier introduction to this session than the vowel lists. (Consonant lists provide more word initials.)

· In Preferences:

Visibility: check Picture and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech and Other sounds.

· Your group of learners should already have been introduced to the letter-sound match c (as in cat).

The Session

1. Begin by displaying the opening screen of your chosen Phonics List. The screen will have a key picture in the right-hand box; for example, this list, for c, has a picture of a cat.

2. Let the pupils comment on the cat; perhaps encourage talk about their own cats.

3. Click Go to show the first word, with a picture of the cat, as StarSpell says the word.

4. Build up more context: "We've just heard about your cats. I wonder what the story is here, about this cat."

5. Click the Radio for the sentence. (Once the pupils are familiar with the mechanics, you can appoint a pupil as "DJ", or "announcer", to have the task of clicking the radio.) There may be a little more chat about this cat.

6. Explain that the word, centre-screen, is cat, while you, or DJ, click Ear a few times.

7. Point to its initial c, and involve the pupils in hearing that c sound as they repeat the word.

8. But eventually you grow curious about the Start button, click it, and surprise! In front of their eyes, the word has broken up.

9. This is where you call for a c-grabber. You need a volunteer to come up and click the c, so that the word can be built together again.

10. Your chosen c-grabber clicks on c, and once the c has slid into place, you complete the word's re-assembly as the pupils watch.

11. Have your DJ click Next, and repeat the sequence with the remainder of the list, each time choosing a different c-grabber.

Note: This is a session focused on learning a letter-sound match. But of course at the same time it does demonstrate the phonic skills of building and blending, and here you are the demonstrator. In other sessions you'll decide those skills are the focus; then will be the time to appoint pupils as your Builders, as in Session 3.

Links

Learning letter-sound matches in Early Phonics; Activities for stage 3: learning letter-sound matches; The Phonics mode

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Early Phonics

Session 13: Count One, Count Two

Introduce the concept of digraph; Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· SelectStarSpell Lists: Letters Combined for One Sound > ch, sh, th > 'ch'.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: un-check On-Screen Keyboard.

Games: check Picture, Sentence and Speech.

· In Management, go to Print worksheet, current list, and prepare sufficient copies for use as follow-up.

· Prepare a whiteboard or flip chart with two columns: 'phoneme-counts' and 'letter-counts'.

· Prepare a poster or a whiteboard for Step 8, displaying the word digraph, with space to add ch, at Step 10.

· Your pupils will need to have had practice in counting the phonemes heard in a word, and be familiar with the idea of grapheme-phoneme correspondences (letter-sound matches).

· Choose Extra then StarPick.

The Session

1. Explain that, in StarPick, the pupils will hear a word, see its picture, and hear a sentence about it. But they won't see the actual word. Instead, they will see its letters scattered all over the screen, and some empty dashes showing where the word must be built.

2. Divide your group into two teams: Count One team has the job of counting the sounds in each word they hear. Count Two team must count each word's scattered letters.

3. Go to the first word, and click Ear to play the word several times; click Radio to play the sentence as well. Allow a little comment, enough to keep the word 'alive' within a context.

4. Now, set the two teams to their rival tasks. Count One will need to mentally replay the word, or say it to themselves, in order to count its sounds (phonemes). Count Two will be busy counting the letters they can see on the screen.

5. Take their respective counts and write them up on your two prepared columns.

6. Discuss the discrepancy; e.g. chin will give three sounds , but four letters. Ask: "How can that be?" Of course, the terms phoneme and grapheme will prove invaluable in this discussion.

7. After some suggestions, take the lead. Spell the word, and point out that the difficulty is solved by having two letters work together to make one sound.

8. Point to the term digraph on your poster/whiteboard to introduce the term for this pairing.

9. Continue through the list in this same manner, keeping Count One and Count Two scores as you go along.

10. Conclude by getting the whole group to tell you how to write the digraph ch, against the word digraph on your poster or whiteboard.

Possible follow-up: The worksheet for this list, completed individually or in pairs.

Links

Learning letter-sound matches in Early Phonics; Letter-sound matches beyond single letters; The StarPick Spelling Game

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Session 14: Doctor Phoneme and Nurse Grapheme

Practise segmenting and re-building a word by focussing on the digraph. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select Phonics Lists: Phase 2 > Set 4: ck e u, r > digraph ck).

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: Picture and Sentence should be checked.

Sound: check Speech, Letter sound and Other sounds.

Display: Display time, select Click on OK; Word display, select Word hidden.

· Your learners should already know the letter-sound match ck. They've also been introduced to the term digraph.

· For the possible follow-up, in Management/Print worksheet (current list): prepare sufficient copies of the worksheet.

The Session

1. Start things off by clicking on Spelling, and StarSpell will speak the first word in the list, while displaying a picture and a context sentence.

2. Ask the group to tell you the final phoneme of the word, and discuss the fact that they are familiar with its grapheme ck.

3. Choose a Doctor Phoneme and a Nurse Grapheme. Doctor Phoneme is able to identify the phonemes in a completely healthy word. Nurse Grapheme can find the graphemes to build a broken word back to complete health.

4. Doctor Phoneme tells everyone the separate phonemes of the word, in their correct order. S/he has the right to click on Ear as often as needed. The count is made clearer if Doctor Phoneme demonstrates by holding up a finger for each phoneme counted.

5. Doctor Phoneme directs Nurse Grapheme as to which phonemes to type on the on-screen keyboard, to spell the word. Here, you will need to be ready to step in with some commentary, when the ck grapheme is reached. You will need to highlight to the group the decision Nurse Grapheme must make, in clicking two letters for one phoneme. Comment on the fact that in this digraph the two individual letters make the same letter-sound.

6. Repeat throughout the list, with different pupils as Dr Phoneme and Nurse Grapheme, per word.

7. Wind up the session with a reinforcing demonstration of the concept of digraph. Switch to your selected Phonics List, then break up and re-build two or three words (or as many as you need) to show how Phonics depicts the final ck digraph as one entity.

Possible follow-ups: The Worksheet for this list, completed individually or in pairs.

Links

Learning phonic skills in Early Phonics; Letter-sound matches beyond single letters; The Spelling mode; The Phonics mode

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Phonics and Further Phonics

Session 15: Meet a New Match

Introduce an alternative spelling for long ē(/ee/): ea. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select Phonics Lists: Phase 5 Alternative Spellings > /ur//oo//ai//ee//igh/ > /ee/ as in seat.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: check Picture and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech, Other sounds and Says letter name.

Display: Display time select Click on OK; Letter pattern. select emphasised.

· Have ready a large image of ea on whiteboard or poster, for Step 7.

· Your pupils should be familiar with the concept of digraph.

The Session

1. Introduce the work of this session: meeting a new letter-sound match.

2. Tune your group in to the sound upon which they're going to focus. "Listen to this list of words and pick the odd-one-out: beach, steam, meal, back, beast, heat." Help them to identify the vowel-sound shared by all but the odd-one-out. Introduce the term: the long ē sound.

3. Show the opening screen for the Phonics Lists /ee/ as in seat list, and read out that list: "You've just heard my list: beach, steam, meal, beast, heat. Now let's see if StarSpell's thought of those, and if it's thought of others, as well." (Your aim is for pupils to begin to memorise their own ea word-lists, towards being able to call up a mental file of ea word.)

4. Click Go, then use Next to play straight through the list. Briefly use the sentences and pictures to generate some context for each word. (You're continuing to help build mental ea-word files.)

5. When back at the list's opening screen, begin your focus on this new letter-sound match. Some of the group will have picked up on it. Ask them to keep it secret just a little bit longer, because now StarSpell is going to highlight it for them, to make sure everyone has noticed. So tell them that next, they should watch out for lighting up time, just after each word comes up on screen; the new letter-sound match will change its colour from yellow to pink.

6. Focus on ea, by playing through the list again, this time using Spell. At the very first word, point out that the new grapheme is ea. Then use the on-screen keyboard to spell the words, but involve the group: ensure that they call out each letter ahead of your typing it.

7. Wind up the session by presenting the grapheme ea writ large on whiteboard or wall-poster, re-capping that it's a grapheme for the long ē phoneme.

Follow-up - memorise the word-bank: Go straight to Session 16.

Links

Alternative spellings and alternative pronunciations; Completing the learning of the remaining letter-sound matches; The Phonics mode

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Session 16: Keep a Word-Bank in Your Head

Memorise a word-bank as a way of managing alternative spellings; here, an ea word list (as in seat etc.). This session should follow straight after Session 15, using the same word list.

Preparation

· Select Phonics Lists: Phase 5 Alternative Spellings > /ur//oo//ai//ee//igh/ > /ee/ as in seat.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: check Picture and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech, Other sounds and Says letter name (letter-names being preferable to letter-sounds, for digraphs).

Display: Display time, select Click OK; Letter pattern, select Emphasised.

Adjust list: all the preferences will work, but Alphabetical provides an extra clue.

· Click the Spelling button to show the opening screen for the first word of the list, with its picture and its focus spelling pattern ea.

· You will need a flip-chart, or whiteboard, for writing up the word-list, and another on which to keep a score. Make two columns, for yourself versus your group.

The Session

1. Open the session with reminders of previous work: show the StarSpell screen with the focus letter-sound match: ea as in seat, and challenge your group to recall their memory bank of ea-words from Session 15. Write their words on the flip chart.

2. Explain the reason for that challenge: some phonemes can be spelled in more than one way; it helps to keep word-banks in your head of lists of words that share the same spelling. This session will practise an ea list.

3. Nominate a pupil as Keeper of the List, ready to tick off words on the flip-chart when they come up in StarSpell; and add words from the StarSpell list that have been left off it.

4. Nominate another pupil as Scorer.

5. Explain how this session will work: you will be asking the group to name a few possible ea words before each word is displayed. (You're helping them to build up a mental word-bank.) Then, to add a game-like element, choose someone from the group to pick one of the named words. If the next displayed word turns out to be that choice, the group earns a 1 point score, marked up by the Scorer. The word will be displayed. The Scorer marks up the appropriate score; the Keeper of the List either adds the word to the flip-chart list, or ticks it.

6. You spell the first word for the list, using the on-screen keyboard, but involve the group: ensure that they call out each letter ahead of your typing it.

7. Careful! After spelling, wait before clicking on OK: that pause is the "window" in which the next word-prediction can be made.

8. The group makes a prediction. Continue to work through the list, as in 5 above.

9. Stress that the list of words is a useful spelling bank; perhaps find a routine for storing it and adding to it. (Useful later when other alternatives for long ē are met.)

Possible extension: rerun the list as a spelling exercise, with a new pupil for each word.

Links

Completing the learning of the remaining letter-sound matches; The importance of grouping; The Spelling mode

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Session 17: ea pickers

Practise choices for alternative spellings ea and ee, and reinforce the memorisation of ea and ee word-banks. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· SelectStarSpell Lists: In Management, use Edit word lists to create two custom lists of long ē words, mixing ee and ea spellings; e.g. "Beach, beak, feel, need, team, sleep, speed, seat, sweet, street" "steam, tree, green, screen, meal, heat, wheel, meet, wheat, meat."

· A tip: the Word details tab will let you check that StarSpell knows the word.

· In Preferences:

Games: check Picture, Speech and Sentence.

Sentence: check all options.

· In Management/Print worksheet/current list, print copies of the first word list to share.

· Prepare a flip chart or whiteboard with two columns, ee and ea, for Step 8.

· Your group will have worked on the letter-sound matches ea (e.g. Session 16), and ee.

· Find your second custom list then click Extra but don't click StarPick yet.

The Session

1. Before the session, set your pupils in pairs to complete the first custom list worksheet; effectively a multiple-choice task, with the words listed at the foot of the sheet.

2. Help pupils to think about their completed list. Ask how many words contain a long ē sound. (All) "And have you noticed in how many ways that long ē is spelled?" (Two) "What are they?" (ee and ea) "Now, do you have more ee's than ea's?" This last answer may be inconclusive. So: "Let's look at another list, and see whether ee or ea wins out."

3. Divide your group into two; choose an "ee picker" from one and an "ea picker" from the other. "Let's see who has to work the hardest!"

4. Choose a Scribe, to add each word to the appropriate column on your board or flip-chart.

5. Click StarPick, to play the first word. At this scrambled introduction of the word, "pickers" and their teams must decide to which team each word belongs. They need to scan the screen to suss out whether they have two e's available, or an e and an a.

6. Once decided, ee or ea, the Scorer writes the word in the appropriate column. At this point, ignore any errors, reminding the group that StarPick is ready to show them the way.

7. Click Radio to listen to the sentence before the word is spelled, because context helps the memorisation of alternative spellings.

8. Point out that the word will appear in the sentence next, as it is re-assembled.

9. Re-assemble the word on screen, exactly as the scorer has spelled it. StarPick will, of course, bounce away any errors. For pace, choose to be the speller yourself, or delegate.

10. Continue in this way, to complete the list.

11. Discuss the score-board, and their earlier worksheet, pointing out the more-or-less even distribution of ea and ee words.

12. Explain the value of memorising a word list for each alternative. (See Session 16.)

Possible follow-ups: Complete a worksheet for the second ee/ea custom list; have a class display of ee/ea words and add more as they crop up

Links

Learning alternative spellings and alternative pronunciations; Completing the learning of the remaining letter-sound matches; The StarPick Spelling Game

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Session 18: Spelling For Real

Raise awareness of strategies for independent spelling. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists: Letters Combined For One Sound > Paired vowels > ea as in beak

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: check Picture, Sentence and Target time.

Sound: check Speech, Other sounds and Says letter name.

Display: Display time, select Click OK; Word display, select Word hidden.

Sentence: uncheck visibility.

Adjust List: Alter Max words in list to suit the group's ability at Steps 8 and 10.

· Your group will have already worked on the letter-sound match ea (e.g. Sessions 16 and 17).

· Have ready a large image of ea on whiteboard or poster, for Step 5h.

The Session

1. Welcome and challenge your group to this "grown-up" session of Spelling For Real.

2. Go straight to the screen for your first word.

3. Play the sentence, and point out that there is no written version at foot of screen.

4. Explain that the word is a "think-hard word". Point out that your pupils meet think-hard words in "real" writing, when they have to work out difficult words all by themselves.

5. Talk the group through the strategies of independent spelling, as follows:

a. Listen to the word, as many times as you need. Demonstrate by clicking Ear.

b. Say the word slowly, checking out the number of phonemes you can hear.

c. Turn to your partner and tell them how many phonemes you hear in this. Come to a group consensus.

d. Ask: "What do we need to know next?" (The graphemes for these phonemes.)

e. Remind the group that some graphemes can be digraphs.

f. Ask for a show of hands: "Who thinks one of the phonemes in this word is a digraph?" (Adapt for any word that has two digraphs, for instance: beach.)

g. Establish which phoneme that is; in this word it's the long e sound.

h. Remind the group that they've already met ea for long e. (Show poster or whiteboard image of ea.)

6. Call for a volunteer to come up and spell this first word on screen.

7. After that, click Close, top left, to return to start of list.

8. "Now you're ready for Spelling For Real". Add motivation by pointing out the target time, top left corner of screen. Call for a volunteer to come up and spell the whole list.

9. At the end, check the target time.

10. Re-run the activity with other volunteers, with the challenge of improving on the target time. (Maybe add some kind of team competition, for fun.)

NOTE: This works equally well with StarGuess (accessed from Extra).

Links

The cluster of skills that is spelling; Helping learners to understand and talk about building and blending; The Spelling mode

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Further Phonics

Session 19: New Spelling for Old

Introduce the alternative spelling: ear as in earth. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select Phonics Lists: Phase 3 The remaining phonemes with graphemes > vowel digraphs ai ee etc. > 'er'

· Phonics Lists: Phase 5 Alternative spellings > /er//oo/ai//ee//igh/ > /er/ as in earth

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: check Picture and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech, Other sounds and Says letter name.

Display: Display time, select Click OK; Word display, select Word hidden for Steps 4 and 5. Change for step 8.

Sentence, check all four options.

· Each pupil to have a notepad and pencil, or an individual whiteboard, for Step 9.

· Select Management/Print worksheet/Current list.

The Session

1. Play straight through the Phonics er list. Click Go, then Next. Encourage the group simply to listen to the sentences, as context to help them recall the list.

2. Then ask the group to name the focus: letter-sound match: er.

3. Switch to your second Phonics list: /er/ as in earth.

4. Use Spell, and go to the first word, earth. The word is hidden. Play the sentence, for context.

5. Discuss the sounds of the word with the group. Point out that the first phoneme is /er/.

6. Type in the "expected" spelling, erth, with a flourish. Click OK and stand back to watch StarSpell bin your effort and replace it with earth.

7. Point out and discuss this new letter-sound match ear. Explain that this list will show several other words that spell the /er/sound as ear.

8. Click Close to go back to the opening screen, quickly go to Preferences: Display. In Word display select Word showing.

9. Now go through the list word by word, as follows:

10. Play each sentence.

11. Allow Study time; add discussion as needed.

12. Click OK, then pupils spell the word on their own pads/whiteboards.

13. One pupil spells word on StarSpell. Allow StarSpell to respond to any errors.

14. Round-off the session by distributing the list's worksheet for consolidation.

Note: You can print any word list, with or without pictures and sentences, as an aide memoire.

Links

Learning alternative spellings and alternative pronunciations; Learning to manage alternative spellings and pronunciations; The Phonics mode

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Session 20: Feel the Beat

Introduce counting syllables, via compound words. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists: Further explorations > Syllables and spelling > compound words.

· In Preferences:

Animation: set the speed to medium-fast for this session.

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: check Picture and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech, Other sounds and Says letter name.

Display: Display time, select Click OK; Word display select Word showing.

· Prepare resources for a possible follow-up: to collect and display more compound words.

The Session

1. Introduce the concept of compound words. Slowly recite a list: eyebrow, goldfish, etc. After 5 or 6 words, ask in what way these words are alike. Continue with another 5 or 6 words, either to move closer to a definition, or to confirm a correct response. Finally, draw out the fact that these words comprise two words brought together.

2. Introduce the session as about compound words, which actually they've just defined.

3. Divide your group into two, one half to look out for the first word in the compound words they are about to spell, and the other half to look out for the second. Explain that you'll do the spelling while they concentrate on identifying the two words making up each compound.

4. Go to the first word of your selected list. After playing the word and sentence, hold the word on screen. Ask Group 1 to identify the first word, and Group 2 to identify the second.

5. Then click OK, to spell the word quite briskly, perhaps with letters called out by Group 1 and Group 2 as appropriate to their word.

6. Continue in this way through all 8 words in the list, focusing on the concept of two words coming together to create a compound word. From time to time, ask the Groups to tell you the first word in the compound, or the second; vary it, randomly.

7. The results window appears, once the list is completed. Use it to demonstrate how you can "clap the beats" of these words: two claps for birth-day, etc. (You're now shifting the focus from compound words, to syllables.)

8. Ask your pupils to read down the list with you, together "clapping the beats".

9. Introduce the term syllable. Define it here as "a chunk of a word that that you can hear as one beat, or one clap."

10. Talk over why it's important to know about syllables. Guide your group to see that syllable recognition helps them handle longer words: it breaks one big task into smaller tasks; it supports checking-up on all the phonemes of a word; in reading, it provides a bit-by-bit strategy for long words. (See Further notes.)

Possible follow-up: collect more compound words, to create a display.

Links

Syllabification; Activities… Syllabification; Spelling mode

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Session 21: Syllable Counting

Reinforce syllabification skills. Listen & Build work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists: Further explorations > Syllables and spelling > split like du-et.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: check Picture and Sentence; for speed, uncheck Reward.

Sound: check Speech and Says letter name.

Display: Display time, select Click OK; Word display, select Word showing; check Letter pattern emphasised.

· The pupils should already have worked on syllables, including syllables split as du-et.

The Session

1. Warm-up with revision of syllable recognition, pitched at the challenging level of words split like du-et.

a. Have volunteers spell each word, through your first StarSpell list, quite quickly.

b. At the Results window ask: "Who can remember what's unusual about these words?" (syllables split between two vowels).

c. Ask your group to clap the beats in each word.

d. Then remind them of other various ways to count syllables, and the need to decide which way works best for them.

e. Remind them about choosing a word as personal aide memoire, for any list.

2. Present the real business of the session: Counting Syllables in Very Long Words.

3. Switch to a second list: StarSpell Lists: Prefixes, suffixes, roots> Further suffixes (L Gr) >
'-ient'.

4. Ask the group to read out the list on the opening screen. Add context by discussing the words' meanings, and the link between the first word and the key picture.

5. Go to the first word. Play the sentence, for brief discussion. Hold the display, while pupils:

a. Copy the word onto their notepad or whiteboard.

b. Silently count the syllables, using the method of their choice.

c. Write the number of syllables against their written word.

During this time click Ear several times to give generous opportunity to hear the word.

6. Click OK then spell the word: you or a volunteer taking direction from the whole group.

7. Continue in this way through the list.

8. At the Results window, check and discuss the correct syllable-counts for each word.

9. Sum up by pointing out the connection between words like du-et, and the suffix -ient.

Possible follow-ups: Sessions of the StarPick and StarGuess Spelling Games, and maybe the Worksheet; collect more words with the -ient ending; write a paragraph with as many -ient words as possible.

Links

Syllabification; Syllabification; The Spelling mode

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Session 22: Hot Spot Study-Spot

Help learners memorise High Frequency "tricky words"; in this case, could, would and should. Look & Learn work.

Preparation

· Select Phonics Lists: Phase 5: Alternative spellings > /ur//oo//ai//ee//igh/ > /oo/ as in could.

· Use Management/Edit word lists to create a custom list: could, would, should.

· In Preferences, ensure that sentences are showing and speech is on.

· Have ready a story-starter on flip-chart or whiteboard, for Step 2.

The Session

1. Begin by linking the session's spellings with real writing. Introduce the session as being "tricky word" study, linked to your pupils' current writing project (i.e. to complete the story-starter: "The magician told them he could work magic. He told them he would put a spell on the school so that they would never have homework again. But they should understand that there would be a price to pay...")

2. Invite the group to read through your displayed story-starter to spot three tricky words that share the same letter pattern. Highlight could, would, should as your pupils find them.

3. Show the opening StarSpell screen of the Phonics List: could, should, would.

4. Ask the group to read the list aloud with you.

5. Now ask them to think about the number of phonemes in could. After a moment for thinking, ask each pupil to tell the number to their neighbour. Don't comment on right or wrong answers yet. Repeat for would and should.

6. Now tell the group they can check their phoneme-count from the Phonics break-up of each word.

7. Click Start and play the list, for careful study. Hold the screen before re-assembling each word, confirm that the phoneme count for each word is three, and talk through each word's Hot-Spot. For each word, ask one or two pupils for their own choices of Hot Spot.

8. Play the list again, this time to observe the whole word, and to consolidate awareness of the discrepancy between phonemes and letters, in each word. So click Next, to bypass the 'splitting' taking as long as you need to discuss the spellings.

9. Now, for reinforcement, switch to your StarPick custom list: could, would, should. Ask volunteers to re-assemble the words.

10. Finally, as consolidation, the hardest challenge: volunteers tackle the list on StarGuess.

Note: Alternatively, end this session after Step 8, and use the custom list worksheet as useful reinforcement. Then the StarPick and StarGuess activities could be further, separate sessions.

Links

Look & Learn in Further Phonics; Look & Learn in Beyond Phonics; Look & Learn; StarSpell's five modes

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Session 23: A Tricky Word

Bring variety to the necessary repetition of the Look & Learn sequence (in this case for curriculum vocabulary). Look & Learn work.

Preparation

· Use Management: Edit word lists to create a one word custom list: pyramid.

· Then click print the word list, plus picture and sentence, for Step 9.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: check Picture, Sentence and Target time.

Sound: check Speech and Says letter names.

Display: Display time, select Click OK; Word display, select Word showing.

Games: check Pictures, Speech and Sentence.

· Your pupils should be familiar with the Look & Learn techniques of Look-Say-Study-Cover-Write-Check (LSSCWC).

· You could display a poster for the LCWC routine as aide memoire, for Step 2.

The Session

1. Introduce the session's aim: to help your pupils remember a "tricky word" from their current history project: pyramid.

2. Help them to recap the basic LCWC routine (perhaps with classroom poster as a reminder). Stress that they must study the word and each decide on their personal Hot Spot.

3. Open StarSpell Lists' screen for your list, and click Go. Use the context: discuss the picture, listen to the sentence, and ask for ideas for other sentences to fit their own project work.

4. Next, lead the group in studying the word. How many letters? How many vowels? Discuss y as a vowel. Any little words in there? (am, ram) How many "beats" (syllables)? Can we "chunk" the word, to recall it in smaller bits? Let's use: py + ram + id.

5. Spell it once: using Spell, as the group spells out each chunk for you.

6. Spell it twice: switch to StarPick, where the letters are scattered across the screen. Choose three pupils as "chunkers", each in charge of one chunk. Ask No.1 chunker to put the first chunk in place, and so on, to build the word.

7. Spell it once or twice more: repeat the StarPick routine with other pupils. Ask one or two if they've decided on their pyramid Hot Spot.

8. And spell it again: switch back to StarSpell Lists, and tell the group that "whoops!" you've suddenly turned into a mindless machine, unable to spell. Choose seven spellers and number them 1-7 for each letter of pyramid. They call their letters out to you in turn, against the Target time. Follow their directions exactly; don't allow the group to challenge your obedience to a wrong instruction. It's more fun (and more memorable) to let StarSpell take care of that! Then challenge another seven spellers to beat the first set's time.

9. Use your print-out of the list, enlarged, as a classroom reference.

Possible follow-up: As the project progresses, you can add to this custom list. Then you could print worksheets. For more able learners, use StarGuess as vocabulary revision. Uncheck Preferences: game: speech so the only clues are the picture and the incomplete sentence.

Links

Look & Learnin Further Phonics; Look & Learn in Beyond Phonics; Look & Learn

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Session 24: String Along

Memorisation of a common letter-string, in this case: apple, bubble, etc. Look & Learn work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists: Further explorations > Patterns in word endings > le as in apple.

· In Preferences:

Adjust List: Select from Max words in list to a length suitable for your group.

Visibility: check Picture and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech and Says letter name.

Display: Display time, select Click OK; Word display, select Word showing.

· In Management, Print worksheets, current list. For Step 8.

The Session

1. Explain the aim of the session: to introduce the group to a letter-string, one that crops up in quite a big group of words; and to help them memorise it.

2. A challenge: spot the deliberate mistake! You plan to make a hash of spelling a list of eight words (or fewer), but actually, over the whole list. you'll be making only the one mistake, one basic mistake. Ask your pupils to put their hands up when they think they've spotted it, but actually not to say anything. "We'll check out your ideas at the end" (Step 7).

3. Open the word list and go straight to the first word. Spell it quite briskly, but make the mistake of omitting the second letter of the double-consonant e.g. aple.

4. Click OK, so that StarSpell performs its correction routine.

5. Spell the word again, correctly on this second attempt.

6. Continue through the list in this same way, making the same error on each first attempt, and allowing the StarSpell correction. Maintain your group's involvement by commenting as to how they are performing, how many hands are going up, etc.

7. Draw a conclusion from your Results window, displayed at the close of the list. Ask for the recurring mistake, probably by now with all your group's hands up: "Yes, we needed a double consonant before that …le word-ending."

8. Consolidate the learning via the list's worksheet.

Possible follow-ups:

· Further group sessions (or pairs) using StarPick and StarGuess for the same list.

· Using rhyming dictionaries to research other words that share this letter-string e.g. bobble, wobble, babble, dabble, nibble, scribble, huddle, muddle, puddle, etc.

Links

Look & Learn in Further Phonics; Look & Learn in Beyond Phonics; Activities for stage 3: Look & Learn; StarSpell's five modes

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Session 25: Hunting the Rule (1)

Help learners reach a generalisation, or "rule", in this case that most one-syllable words ending in the phoneme s spell it as double ss. Work within Words work.

Preparation

· In Management, use Edit word lists to create a custom list: kiss, boss, mess, fuss, less, bus, hiss, loss, miss. Here, the list is the StarSpell Lists: One letter for one sound > Final consonant blends > '-ss', with the single addition of 'bus'. Ensure that 'bus' comes somewhere in the middle of the list.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: check Picture and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech and Says letter sound.

Display: Display time, set as fairly challenging say 1 or 3 seconds; Word display, select Word showing.

Adjust list: Word order, select List order.

· The learners should already know the letter-sound match of a single s.

· Decide on your organisation for pupil-spellers at Step 3.

· Prepare a flip-chart or whiteboard to write up the group's generalisation ("rule") at Step 8.

The Session

1. Introduce the session as requiring a bit of sharp detective work. The words themselves are not difficult (that's why you've set a short display time). But they will need to think. First, they'll need to spot an odd-one-out. Next, they're Rule Hunting! Reiterate what they've learned about how words like this usually behave.

2. Remind your pupils that all the words will be listed on the Results window, after they've worked through the list. Ask them to keep quiet until that point, as to their idea of the odd word.

3. Choose pupils as spellers: each to observe a word within that short display time, get to the keyboard, and spell the word. This could be alternating turns between two pupils, or you could nominate nine pupils (one per word) at the outset.

4. Work straight through the list, allowing StarSpell to take care of any errors.

5. Finally, use the displayed Results window to help your group work out that bus is the exceptional spelling here: all the other words end in ss.

6. Now steer discussion towards reaching a generalisation, or "rule". You may need to point out that all these words are short words (use the term one-syllable if they've already met syllabification), so their generalisation can apply only to such words.

7. Be prepared to comment on the plural of these words. Your group may want to add a second generalisation about that.

8. Conclude by writing up your group's generalisation along the lines of: "One-syllable words that end in the phoneme s usually spell it as ss."

Links

More reasons why morphemic knowledge matters; Generalising spelling rules; Morphemes and spelling rules; The Spelling mode

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Session 26: Hunting the Rule (2)

Use StarSpell to present material from which learners can reach a generalisation, or "rule" (in this case: when full is added to a noun to create an adjective, it drops its second l). Work within Words work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists > Prefixes, suffixes, roots > Common Suffixes (OE)> '-ful' faith -> faithful.

· From your list's opening screen, click Extra to avoid the group previewing the whole list.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: uncheck Picture and Sentence.

Sound: check Speech and Says letter names.

Display: Display time, select Click OK; Word display, select Word showing.

· Prepare a flip-chart, or whiteboard, to write up the group's generalisation ("rule") at Step 9.

· In Management, Print worksheet, current list.

The Session

1. Raise awareness of adjectives created by adding the suffix …ful to a noun: an oral activity, perhaps relating to on-going written work e.g. "Help me come up with some better describing words. Like you, I'm writing a ballad about the Battle of Bosworth. It's coming along fairly well, but I think it needs more adjectives. For instance, I want to describe those banners, for both armies, so full of colour. But full of colour is too long for my poem." Lead discussion towards someone suggesting colourful.

2. Discuss similar examples.

3. Help your group to see the principle that has emerged from Steps 1 and 2: we can create adjectives by adding full to a noun.

4. Introduce StarGuess "innocently" as a simple check on how adjectives like faithful are spelled: "It's simple, isn't it? Just tack full onto the noun and hey presto! A great new adjective!"

5. Go to the first StarGuess word, and with yourself as speller, type it in, with an incorrect double ll ending. StarSpell's dustbin-crash treatment will of course reject that final l.

6. Take StarGuess's advice, and re-spell correctly.

7. Continue in this way through the rest of the list. However, expect to receive protests from your group as they begin to cotton-on to the "rule"; protests that you will welcome and take on board!

8. Now steer discussion towards reaching a generalisation, or "rule"; something along the lines of: "When full is added to a noun to make an adjective, it drops its second l."

9. Conclude the session by writing up your group's generalisation, on poster or whiteboard.

The list's worksheet makes a useful follow-up.

Links

More reasons why morphemic knowledge matters; Generalising spelling rules; Further Phonics: morphemes and spelling rules; The StarGuess Spelling Game

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Session 27: The Double or No Double Puzzle

Demonstrate that prefix knowledge (in this case im-) provides insights into spelling. Work within Words work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists: Prefixes, suffixes and roots > Prefixes, Latin, on real words > im as negative.

· In Preferences: Display: Word display, select Pattern only.

· The pupils know that a prefix is a "meaning-bit" of a word (or a morpheme), joined onto the front of another word (the stem), and that it changes the stem's meaning.

· On a poster, a list (stems) of the 6 "real words" to which im- can be added as prefix: possible, patient, mortal, perfect, polite, mature (keep mortal and mature apart).

· On another poster a list (im words) of 6 related words, (for Step 12, and for listening-to in Step 2): imagine, immobile, immeasurable, imitate, immigrate, immoral.

The Session

1. Welcome your group to a session that provides them with a useful gift; a helpful spelling tip.

2. To introduce the spelling point, ask them to raise their hands for any word they believe contains a double m, while you slowly say your im words list (with the poster hidden, at this stage). Make no comment at this point on the accuracy of their raised-hand responses.

3. Explain that this session is all about the "double or no double" puzzle that we get at the junction between some prefixes and their stem words.

4. Go on to explain that there's a helpful bit of knowledge to help with the "double or no double" puzzle. It doesn't always work, but it does with certain prefixes such as -im.

5. Volunteers, or the group, read the stems list aloud. Check the words are understood.

6. Question how to turn each into a one-word negative (i.e. avoiding two words, as in "not patient" etc.). Lead your group towards coming up with the prefix im-.

7. Show StarSpell's first word. Replay the spoken word as often as needed, and you can play the sentence. Meanwhile, the image on display is the prefix im-, by itself. When ready, move on from the image of the prefix, and invite volunteers to spell the word. Have your stems list available as model if necessary.

8. Continue in this way through the remaining five words in the list. But be ready for mortal and mature, ready to discuss their impact on the "double or no double" puzzle.

9. At the results window, involve the group in explanation as to why impossible (say) does not double the m, but immature and immortal do.

10. "So here's your gift of a spelling tip…" Help the group to sum up the spelling point: we get a double letter when a prefix ends with its stem word's initial letter.

11. Take a brief look at a counter example. Display the im words poster. Help the group account for the single m in imagine and imitate (not negatives, nor is their im a prefix).

12. Possible follow ups: Exploring im prefix using StarSpell Lists: Prefixes, suffixes, root > Other common prefixes > 'im' and …'im' as into. Dictionary research to collect more im + m words, some of which will take pupils into quite complex exploration of roots, e.g. immediate, immense, imminent. Similar sessions, focussing on dis- and miss-; un- and in-.

Links

More reasons why morphemic knowledge matters; Generalising spelling rules; Morphemes and spelling rules

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Session 28: Wait For It

Investigating word derivations and practising visual memorisation. Work within Words and Look & Learn work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists: Further explorations > Interesting derivations > any of the 6 lists.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard.

Visibility: check Pictures, uncheck Sentence and uncheck reward.

Sound: check Speech and Says letter name.

Display: Enforce a delay, select 5 or 10 seconds.

Adjust list: Word order, select Random order.

· In Management, Print worksheet, current list.

· Pupils have done some research: they have been divided into six smaller groups; each assigned a list from Interesting derivations. Over a period they are asked to record the derivation of each word on their list. Each derivation might suggest a topic for further research.

The Session

1. Introduce the session as first focusing on word derivations. Today one of your six groups will have the chance to present its research on the words in its list.

2. Call for a brave spokesperson for the chosen group. Point out that nobody knows the order in which StarSpell will present their words.

3. Open the first word on the StarSpell screen. There will be a picture, there will be the Ear to hear the word, but there should be no sentence visible.

4. The spokesperson has the floor! S/he relates each definition.

5. After which, type in the word yourself. Your focus so far is the derivation, not the spelling.

6. Continue in this way throughout the list, your comment and reaction geared to the research.

7. You may decide to end the session there. However - in this session or another - the next step is to go on and look at the words' spellings.

8. Introduce the spelling focus of the session: remind the group about visual memorisation, and Look & Learn techniques.

9. Explain that you're fixing StarSpell so that it will make them wait a while before allowing them to type. They'll have to hold the "picture" of the word in mind, along with the "recording" in their heads of its phonemes. The word wait remains until eventually StarSpell will give them back their keyboard, and they can spell away.

10. During each word's wait time, model useful memorisation strategies. For example in from people's names: "diesel: that's six letters, and it's two syllables, sounds rather like a z in the middle; bit of a Hot Spot there, but you'll remember it's actually an s…" etc.

11. So now work through the list in that manner, either typing yourself to pupils' called-out directions, or delegating to one of the pupils assigned to this list.

12. In conclusion, the whole group can share this one group's work, via the list's worksheet.

Links

Words imported from other languages; The basic Look-Cover-Write-Check routine

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Beyond Phonics and Near-Correct

Session 29: Quick on the Draw

Revise subject-area vocabulary (in this case, Art, styles); also, practise memorisation strategies. Work within Words work; also, Look & Learn work.

Preparation

· Select StarSpell Lists > Curriculum Subject Lists > Art > styles.

· Select StarGuess for Steps 2-5, and click Extra, preventing any preview of the words.

· In Preferences:

Keyboard: check On-Screen Keyboard, Says letter names.

Games: check for Pictures and Sentence; ensure Speech is silent.

Display: Display time, set appropriate challenge, perhaps 3 seconds (for Steps 8 & 9).

Visibility: check all; Sound, check Speech and Says letter names.

· In Management: Edit word lists: Edit words: Print word list, without pictures or sentences (option for Step 4).

· The pupils should have studied the area to which the vocabulary list refers.

· They need to bring a notepad to the session.

The Session

1. Introduce the session as focusing on some key vocabulary; first, meanings, then, spellings.

2. Open StarGuess to the first word. The on-screen sentence provides the definition, minus the target word.

3. Ask your group for suggestions as to the missing word. Open up discussion on one or two suggestions, but for now leave the solution open.

4. Call for a volunteer to type in his or her word of choice. The StarSpell correction routine often contributes interestingly to the discussion. For instance, a mistaken suggestion of Surrealism for Cubism prompts StarSpell to bin all bar the 'u' and the 'ism'. The gentle pace encourages comment and further discussion, further enhanced by the Helpful Star's hoisting aloft of the remaining viable letters.

Tip: Some groups may need the support of a crib sheet, a copy of the word list.

5. Continue in this way to complete the whole list.

6. You may decide to end the session there. However - in this session or another - the next step is to go on and look at the words' spellings.

7. Introduce the spelling focus of the session: remind the group about visual memorisation, and Look & Learn techniques.

8. Explain the task. You're setting them the challenge of a very short "Study" time. When the word disappears, they must write it on their notepads. Then a volunteer will spell it on screen, with StarSpell ensuring it is right. After which they can all check their own notepad spellings.

9. Return to the list's start. Click Spell. The pupils work through the list as explained.

10. Option: team competition enlivens the session for some groups; although the speed-challenge is often excellent motivation in itself.

Links

The basic Look-Cover-Write-Check routine; The Spelling mode; The StarGuess Spelling Game

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