Yesterday I gave a written spelling bee, as compiled and requested by a couple staff members. For some reason, the same list was given to all three grades. Stupid! Anyway, most of the words were ones that the kids had never heard or seen before. I kind of get a kick from their incredulous WTF? looks when they hear something like "rheumatism." Heh.
So today, to give us all a bit of a break before hitting more workbooks, I had them write down all the words with correct spelling, and some of them--more common ones--I had them write five times. Then we talked about definitions--and I had them identify some parts of speech as well--and roots and dictionary stuff and the like.
All that ended up taking an entire period! But who cares.
The next task was going over the parts of tests they throw at the end, questions not attached to a reading passage, questions that ask about syllables or vowel sounds or words in context.
So I reviewed with them how to break words into syllables and how to mark them, and what it means when they ask about 'stress' and how to find it.
Then we did long and short vowel sounds. It wasn't clear how much it was new or review for the students; I didn't care. If they already knew it, then it was easy review. If they didn't explicitly learn this in elementary (which I think is more likely to be the case), then they learned it now. It was pretty easy for students of all levels to contribute words with a long a or short i or whatever.
So there you have it--two periods of necessary work, work that seemed breezy and fun in comparison to the last week and a half of writing madness.