Is your child tired of writing out each week’s list of spelling words to practice on a boring rectangular sheet of paper? Then print out a fun shape with lines to write on that matches the theme of that week’s list or the time of year! Writing out words like PLOUGH, GOURD, HARVEST, and AUTUMN on a pumpkin-shaped piece of paper will help kids remember the words and their correct spelling by visually linking the words with the shape of the paper. That’s just one of the many teaching and learning ideas you can find on Roxie Carroll’s website, www.AKidsHeart.com. We talked to Roxie recently and asked her about some of the other resources she provides.
US: There are lots of great ideas on your website for making learning fun. What inspired you to set up the website and share it with others?
RC: I began the website by making little bits for my granddaughter twelve years ago. During the years that followed, I taught Kindergarten, First, Second, and Third Grade at a private school with a very tight budget. Hence, I began making more and more resources to use with my students, and since I spent so much time making them, I felt as if I should share some of them.
US: Your site provides or links to many resources for teachers as well as parents and kids. Do you have a background in education?
RC: Oops, I guess I answered that in question 1. Yes, I do have B.S.E.D in Mathematics Education from the University of Georgia. My husband was in the military and we moved quite often. I received my certification in quite a few states, and have had wonderful experiences teaching a variety of levels and subjects, from Kindergarten to Post Secondary Technical Schools in a variety of environments and cultures.
US: You’ve got some featured games right now on the site that focus on getting kids ready to go back to school. Which ones do you recommend to help them work on their spelling skills?
RC: The Word Making Games that are found on the word games page, I also have a page where teachers or parents can make their own word search puzzles to print for their students or that the students can play online.
For younger children, the nonviolent hangman type games with the Dolch and Fry’s Frequent Word List, are a lot of fun and helpful in learning to spell the sight words. Also, hidden in the website is an older windows downloadable game called Cleft, the Spelling Clown. It lets the teachers or parents add up to ten lists of words at a time. It is also a nonviolent hangman type game, but instead of hanging guys, it pops balloons. It still functions in Windows 7.
US: The preschool resource section of the website has alphabet games, simple puzzles, basic math learning tools, and fun pictures to color – all things that any parent will be glad to use for entertaining and educating at home. How early do you think parents can start teaching spelling to children?
RC: Phoneme awareness should be taught along with letter recognition. If the child is able to learn letter formation, he needs to be taught the sounds…and the spelling process has already begun.
US: What games, lessons, and materials are you planning on featuring in the next few months?
RC: The last few days, I have been working on designing some fun holiday stationery for another site of mine, http://storyit.com/. This week, I plan to add three or four more word-making type games to akidsheart.com. For the upcoming months, I will be featuring fall favorite themes-apples in September and pumpkins in October.