A couple weeks ago I posted about the homework I do with my 2nd graders. One thing that I send home each week is spelling practice. The page is set up with a space for the students to write down their 10 spelling words for the week and then there's a 3X3 grid with different activities. Students are expected to choose 3 to do during the week. I send this home on Monday so they can do a little each night or (because there isn't regular homework on Thursday) they can do it all on Thursday nights. (I used to send home 1/2 sheet homework on Thursdays too, but the feedback I got from parents is that it was too much to hassle with all at once. I haven't noticed a problem since scaling it back so that's what I continue to do.)
There are 6 different sheets that I cycle throughout the year. If you notice at the top of the page it says "Spelling Homework Week." I just write the week's number in there. So students see the first form on weeks 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, and 31. The second form shows up on weeks 2, 8, 14, 20, 26, and 32. And so on. For the 2nd graders at our school it seems like a good mix of predictability (so they know what to do) and novelty (so they don't get bored).
Each page has 9 different spelling activities. It was kind of a trick to come up with 54 ways for students to easily practice their words without repeating activities or using the same ideas from the spelling practice in the Morning Work Book! I also didn't want anything too crazy. Imagine the friction of kids begging to write their words with shaving cream and parents not wanting that to happen at all! The most adventurous it gets is to use bleach and a Q-tip to write spelling words on construction paper. But that is on only one page--and I put it in a corner square so the homework could easily be completed by bypassing that activity (but I did have one little guy last year who was excited to do it everytime it came up!).
The center square on each page is always a low-key activity that kids can typically do independently. I try to limit the necessity of parental involvment because a good chunk of my kids have parents who will never look at any of their homework. It's expected for parents to initial each activity, but for some kids I allow them to mark it themselves (or if they're not always trustworthy) I ask them to bring the papers they practiced on back to school. Even then there's usually 3 who never bring it back. Those kids spend Friday morning recess writing their words three times. They're usually done in less than 5 minutes. I don't want to penalize them too much because in 2nd grade a parent really should be helping out!
If you're familiar with this blog you know that I use Words Their Way. But I don't use those words for homework. One reason is that a lot of 2nd graders are still in the Letter-Name Alphabetic stage. They're still doing picture sorts. Depending on the sort, it's unreasonable to expect them to spell the words they're sorting. If they're sorting long a picture names they may have a_e, -ay, -ai words in the same sort. That's fine for identifying long a sounds, but not for emergent spellers! Also, the beginning vowel sound sort has pictures like eskimo, ostrich, and Etch-a-Sketch. Not okay for spelling practice!
Also, the research on the traditional method of weekly spelling lists--test on Friday--new list Monday shows that it doesn't do much to improve spelling accuracy (hence I use Words Their Way). But parents expect spelling words and tests. It's something they're comfortable helping their child with. Plus, I figure, practicing extra words is never a bad thing.
As a class we generate a list of words based on a word family. So for the -ain chunk we might have words that go from rain to entertainment. Then the students choose the 10 words they want to practice for the week. That way it's more of a leveled activity instead of just busy work.
You can download the 6 Spelling Tic-Tac-Toe pages at our Teachers Pay Teacher shop. Happy spelling!