Friday, October 25, 2013

VocabularySpellingCity {A Review}

VocabularySpellingCity kindly gave us a one year subscription to their VocabularySpellingCity Premium Membership ($29.99 a year for use with up to five children, ages 5-18).


What's included in a Membership 

VocabularySpellingCity is an interactive website (They also have apps for Apple devices, Android devices, and the Kindle.) that is designed to allow children to play a variety of learning games and activities to build their writing, vocabulary, and spelling skills. Each child is given an individual login. An account also includes student progress tracking.

How to Get Started
Using the site is fairly easy. You begin by logging in. Then you can watch the teaching training videos or get started making lists.

To make a list you go to the toolbox and click list management. Then create a new list by typing in words (adding as many as you wish) or you can make a group of lists. Then you can edit, choose games, print, delete, and group your lists. It also allows you to choose definitions from the list provided.

Next, you would make assignments (located in the toolbox). Here you give the list to a student or group, check progress, create a group, or delete. To give an assignment: select word list, select activities (click on the title and they are moved over to another box). You are able to add assignment details such as extra instructions, the sequence required, and the due date. 

The toolbox also has test results, writing assignments completed, and student's page to add edit, delete, or group students.

Premium Membership Game and Activity Access Includes

Tests

  • Practice Spelling Test- gives words in a sentence. Then the student spells the word. At the end, the word is spelled for the student.
  • Spelling TestMe-this is a traditional spelling test. It says the word, puts it in a sentence, and then says the word again.
  • Practice Vocabulary Test--the child reads the definition and chooses the vocabulary word from the list provided.
  • Vocabulary TestMe-gives the definition and the student picks the word.
Teach

  • Spelling TeachMe-says the word, spells it, says it in a sentence, and says the word again.
  • FlashCards-says the word on the screen. When the child clicks the space bar, it flips and says the word, shows it, gives a definition, and puts it in a sentence. (see picture)

Spelling               

  • Word Search- child finds the words. They can be up, down, sideways, and diagonal.
  • Audio Word Match-child finds matching pair (like concentration). When the child clicks, it flips over and reads the word. Then the child tries to find matching parts.
  • HangMouse-plays like the tradition hang man, but with a mouse and cat. The mouse tries to get the cheese by choosing the correct letters to spell words before the napping cat wakes up.
  • Missing Letter-a word is given without a letter. The child picks the letter and then the computer reads the word.
  • Word Unscramble-the letters are given for a word out of order. The child unscrambles the word.
  • Test-N-Teach-says the word, puts it in a sentence, says the word. The child types it in and then clicks submit. Dynamite burns down as the child gets it correct and then it blows up.
  • WordFind-all the letters for one of the words is given. The child is to make words from those letters. He/she can choose own words or get a hint and spell the letters required. After finding 3 words, the child spells the given word.
  • SpeedySpeller-says the word, puts it in a sentence. Then the child spells it.
  • LetterFall-the computer says the word and puts it in a sentence. Then one mouse catches drops of water with letters on it in a pail. The second mouse gets closer to the cat or the cheese depending on your success. (see picture)


Writing                

  • Sentence Writing Practice-gives words and then the child needs to type them into their own sentences.
  • Paragraph Writing Practice-using the words on the list, the child writes a paragraph. When the list word is typed, the computer dings, and makes the word used gray.

Vocabulary                        

  • MatchIt Definitions-the word and definition are provided in a different order. The child is to click on the circle next to word and definition to match. A line is drawn from the word to the definition by a different colored line.
  • MatchIt Sentences- the word and sentence are provided in a different order. The child is to click on the circle next to word and sentence to match. A line is drawn from the word to the sentence by a different colored line.
  • WhichWord? Definitions-choose a word from the list that fits the definition. By holding the cursor over the word or definition, the computer reads it.
  • WhichWord? Sentences-choose a word from list that fits in the sentence. Then the computer reads the sentence with the word in it.
  • Word-O-Rama-set up like a game show. The computer reads the definition and the child chooses the word that matches or an antonym or a synonym.
Language Arts  

  • Read-A-Word-says a word, spells it, says it in a sentence, and says the word again. The child finds it.
  • Alphabetize- put in alphabetical order.
  • Sentence Unscramble-words are given that make a sentence. The child puts them together.
  • Parts Of Speech-uses the word in a sentence and the student must choose what part of speech the word is according to how it is used in a sentence.
  • Crossword - uses sentences and definitions for students to fill in boxes with appropriate words.

Additional Materials Required
You will need internet access to run the games and a list of words that you would like use for each child.

Time Commitment
The parent simply needs to create lists and choose the assignments that she would like her child to complete. Putting the lists together and choosing assignments only took about 5 minutes per child.

The child spends approximately 5 minutes completing most activities. We generally completed 2-3 assignments daily so they worked for about 10-15 minutes.

The longer the lists, the longer amount of time would be required of the child at each activity.

How we Used it
Ceesa: Although Ceesa is an avid reader, her spelling does not reflect that. She reads so fast that I don't even think she looks at the words any more. She just knows what would come next and reads it. Studying words is a new concept for her. So she focused on the spelling games.

Jo-Jo: Jo-Jo worked in the vocabulary section. She is reading well beyond her grade level and since that is the case. Her vocabulary needs a boost so that she can keep up with the more difficult words coming her way.

Little Man: We tried some basic high frequency words (go, so, no) and games with Little Man.  We found he is still a bit too young to play the games provided for spelling. He is working in the letter and sound recognition phase and hasn't worked his way into words. The games are set up for kids that understand that letters work together to make words.

How I Choose Lists
For Ceesa, I used a writing sample from the week. Any word that was misspelled went on the list for the next week. However, before long she was asking me to add words of her own choosing. 

For Jo-Jo, I had her read to me from her independent reading book. Whenever she had a difficult time solving a word, I added it to her list for the following week.

Our Favorite Games and Activities
We especially liked: 
  • Word Search
  • HangMouse
  • Missing Letter
  • Word Unscramble
  • Paragraph Writing Practice
  • MatchIt Definitions
  • MatchIt Sentences
  • Crossword
  • Word-O-Rama (pictured below)


Recommendation
VocabularySpellingCity offers free games and saves list for those who register. We'd recommend trying it out and if it meets your needs you can proceed from there.

Wishing you homeschool blessings,


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