Writing is one of my favorite subjects to teach but my least favorite to grade. Do you ever feel that way? When I take kids through the stages of the writing process, I try my best to set them up for success. By the time they get to the finished product, we have worked so hard on revising and editing that it makes the scoring part much less painful.
“Have a Go!” is an editing strategy that I have used with great success for many years in my classroom. I have used this strategy with second and third grade students. It would definitely work with older students as well. The “Have a Go!” strategy requires kids to be accountable for their own spelling. Here is how it works.
After planning, writing, and revising, I ask my students to reread their writing one more time and circle any words that look “fishy” to them. By “fishy” I mean words that they think are spelled wrong, but are unsure about how to spell. Some of the students need help finding all of their misspelled words, but surprisingly most of the children know exactly which words are spelled wrong. They always get better at this with practice.
Next, they copy all of their “fishy” words into the first column of the “Have a Go!” paper. They make three more attempts at spelling each word by visualizing, sounding it out, and thinking about spelling patterns. I encourage them to try it three different ways unless they are certain they figured it out sooner.
At this point, the student brings the “Have a Go” paper to me. I look at each row and put a star next to the correct spelling of each word. If none of the attempts are correct, I give them the correct spelling.
Finally, the student returns to their writing and copies the correct spelling above or below the circled word.
My students have been working on a “how-to” writing project. We brought this writing all the way to publishing.
When the students write their final draft, they feel confident that everything is spelled correctly. I, on the other hand, take some comfort in knowing that they fixed their own spelling more independently.
If you decide to try “Have a Go!” in your classroom, you can easily fold a piece of paper into four columns. If you would like a copy of the “Have a Go!” sheet I use, plus some step-by-step posters for teaching the process, you can get the set here.
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