Updated: May 2, 2019
"The first aim of the prepared environment is, as far as it is possible, to render the growing child independent of the adult."
Maria Montessori 'The Secret of Childhood, 1966.
One of the most important things for me, if not THE most important, is teaching my kids how to study to actually learn something. That is why most of the materials I create are meant to be used as self study and revision materials independently.
One of those materials is spell check. What is spell check? It's a system of learning how to spell words which my kids are meant to be learning at a specific time. At this particular moment it's the vocabulary form unit 2 of their course book Brainy (MacMillan Publishing). This what it looks like:
The rules are simple: student folds the page along the dotted line and can only see the words in his or her L1. Then they write the words in English on the empty lines provided. Once they're finished they unfold the page and check the words, letter by letter if necessary, to find any possible spelling mistakes.
The process of correcting the mistakes is crucial. They correct their mistakes in red (or any other color really. as long as it's not the same as the one they used to write the words). They make sure to make every mistake visible and not erase it. They write on it/above it/next to it, but the mistake stays! Each spell check, no matter how mistakes ridden it is, is pasted in their notebooks. You'll get used to the fact that I love mistakes and cultivate the culture of learning from them 😉
Next time the student wants to revise the spelling, he or she has to look at the last spell check they've completed and analyse the mistakes they made to try to avoid doing them again.
You work on your spell check until you know how to spell all the words. There's nothing better that a kid running up to me saying "today I made only 7 mistakes, and yesterday there were 13!". They can see progress each time they sit down to study! What's even better, they see how their mistakes help them learn!
The kids at my school are allowed to use the copying machine. Spell checks are available in all classrooms and they can pick them up whenever they like, copy them, and work with them during self study period or take them home and practice there. In my classroom I keep