Spellbots — Flexible, Engaging Spelling
Something I’ve searched and searched for in the last few years is a high quality online spelling package that lets you create your own lists together, is easy and quick to use and doesn’t have an American accent! You wouldn’t think it’d be that hard would you? Well until Spellbots it was!
We predominantly teach spelling by spelling patterns, with the odd week of ‘National Curriculum statutory words’ thrown in. So whatever online package we picked to support, develop and practice spellings had to be flexible enough to match with what we teach in class.
Spellbots allows super quick and easy spelling lists to be created. You can optionally include a description for each word so that the package can support vocabulary development for those who aren’t familiar with that word as well. Then the list can be assigned to a whole class, a group or an individual. I have a few children in my class who still struggle with phase 5 graphemes and tricky words so I have given them their own individual lists whilst the whole class work on the Year 3 National Curriculum spelling pattern sets. This has hugely increased the speed at which these struggling children are not only learning their spelling discretely but also applying it in their work.
This is the real power of Spellbots. The growing number of pedagogically sound activities with which children can practice their spellings. Yes you have look, say, cover, write, check but you also currently have unscrambling, steps and repeating. There is plenty more coming, including wordsearch. This variation keeps the children interested whilst the different contexts definitely helps the majority of children transfer what they are learning into their writing.
Spellbots works on tablets (tested on IPad Air 1’s, IPad Pro 1’s the most recent IPad models) which is great as we are moving quickly towards tablet only devices for children to use but it also means it’s likely to work well at home, where the benefit of a high quality online package will really make a difference. *I haven’t tested on Android/Fire tablets* You can link it to your MIS for easy updating but you can also customise usernames and passwords (which was a big deal for us so their existing details can be repurposed).
Because Spellbots is internet based rather than a traditional package or an app, everything is incredibly easy for you as a teacher to distribute lists and have it instantly reflected on any device — a real issue with most decent app based packages.
Finally, there is more coming to Spellbots all the time and they are very receptive to their customers’ feedback. So, imminently coming is sharing spelling lists with other teachers in school (perfect for any 2 form entry or more school such as ourselves). I believe Spellbots will grow and grow over the next year or two and become an indispensible package for us and many others.
*Disclaimer: I have given feedback to Spellbots during their Beta phase, however I was not asked to write this blog post or recieved any offers due to writing it. This is a genuine post with accurate details.*