Ode to the Spell Checker -“Homonyms” Mini Lesson Adapted by Brittany Zink Overview: As students get older and their vocabularies expand, they tend to confuse words that sound the same but have different meanings. Being able to identify these words and correctly spell them is an essential skill to improving writing for both the ELL students and non-ELL students. Materials: “Ode to a Spell Checker” poem, Unknown author: http://people.usd.edu/~bwjames/humor/spell.html Some of students' own writing GLCE/CCSSs W.SP.04.01 in the context of writing, correctly spell frequently encountered words Addressed: (e.g., roots, inflections, prefixes, suffixes, multi-syllabic); for less frequently encounteredwords, use structural cues (e.g., letter/sound, rimes, morphemic) and environmental sources (e.g., word walls, word lists, dictionaries, spell checkers). Technique: 1. Brief discussion/review of what homonyms are. 2. Gather some examples of homonyms from students. 3. Every time a homonym is mentioned, get the students to give the definition of each – Especially valuable for the ELL student who may have a hard time with vocabulary and understanding why two words sound the same but aren't the same. Model Read the poem, “Ode to a Spell Checker” out loud. Writing: Sentence by sentence with the students, read aloud and have the students read aloud and identify which words are homonyms. Have students identify what the current word means, and what it really SHOULD be. Suggestion for 1. Identifying homonyms in students' own writing that have been mixed up. Writers 2. Identifying homonyms in students' own writing that have not been mixed up, Workshop: but do exist. 3. Creating lists of words and their homonyms, to be used henceforth in writings by students and also used properly. In Class The teacher will monitor student progress during the writing workshop, asking them Follow-Up: to identify words and prompting them if they are stumped. Kids may work in groups to discuss and identify homonyms in their writing as well. Assessment: Formative: monitoring student work and progress in writing workshop; inviting students to share some of the words (and definitions) that they identified with the class. Summative: In future writings, evaluate proper use of words with homonyms, especially the words on the list of homonyms for the future that the students have created. References/Resources: “Ode to the Spellchecker.” http://people.usd.edu/~bwjames/humor/spell.html Brock, Cynthia, Diane Lapp, Rachel Salas, and Dianna Townsend. Academic Literacy for English Learners. New York, NY: Teachers College Press, 2009. Print.
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