I am a 5th grade teacher who enjoys teaching spelling. I see it as a necessity to become successful in life. While some students love learning spelling, there are a lot that struggle with this subject. This led me in search of the best spelling activities for 5th graders. The reason that I decided to find spelling activities is because I have learned throughout my teaching career that students at this grade level do best with hands-on, intriguing activities that keep them motivated, entertained, and engaged.
I have tried around 50 different activities in my 5th grade classroom and have noticed which ones work best. Everyone’s classroom is different and has different needs, but I am confident that you will find at least a few activities from my list that work for your students. Feel free to try out as many as you can because you may be surprised about which ones your students are drawn to the most.
After reading this article, you will officially know:
- A variety of spelling activities to use in your 5th grade classroom →
- How to successfully teach spelling →
- Why spelling is still very important →
- And the building blocks needed to develop spelling →
15 Spelling Activities For 5th Grade
With careful thought and consideration, I have created a list of 15 different spelling activities for 5th graders. From personal experience, these activities have worked the best with my students in this grade level, and I have continued to use these activities each year. They have brought a lot of joy and excitement to my classroom over the years, and I have even received compliments from parents who say they were having no luck with getting their children to learn spelling. My hope is that you will find at least a few of these activities to be worth your time and that your students will benefit from them.
The following are 15 spelling activities for the 5th grade learning level:
1. Play Hangman
Everyone has played the classic game of hangman. Why not introduce your students to this fun game that will keep them busy for hours? Use the words that they are learning to spell and draw an element of the stick figure person each time they do not guess the correct letter. You can make this game easier by handing each student a sheet of paper with their spelling words on it.
2. Create A Crossword Puzzle With The Spelling Words
Another classic activity that you can use is a crossword puzzle. If you do not have the time to sit down and create this, there are online websites that will create it for you. All you need to do is give them to words that you need put into the crossword puzzle, and they will handle the rest. Try Discovery Education’s puzzlemaker program first as I have had great luck with this website.
3. Make Up Songs
This may turn into a silly game, but I guarantee that your students will have an incredible time. It has been proven that there is a connection between literacy and music, so do not count this game out. Let the students come up with their own song lyrics using their spelling words. Give them the floor and sit back and watch. Be ready for lots of giggles!
4. Create An Origami Fortune Teller Out Of The Spelling Words
Origami fortune tellers have been popular in schools for decades. Instead of taking them away because they are distractions, encourage your students to make a few to spell the words out loud. This is a great method for auditory learners.
5. Make A Word Catcher
A word catcher should resemble a flyswatter or dream catcher on a stick. Hand the students lists of their spelling words and have them go around and look in books, magazines, and papers to find the words. When they find the words, they are supposed to swat it to look like they are “catching” it.
6. Employ Sensory Play
Sensory play uses all five senses, which is important to a child’s learning process. You may have to get creative with this, but I promise it is worth it. One of my favorite ways to encourage sensory play is to spray shaving cream on tables and let the students use their fingers to write their spelling words.
7. Play A Memory Game
Instead of playing the typical memory game with pictures, you can do spelling words. For example, create two sets of flash cards with the spelling words and then set them face down on the floor. Let the children flip two over at a time to see if there is a match. Continue playing until all the matches are found.
8. Trace The Words With Colorful Pencils, Pens, Or Markers
This may sound like a boring activity, but it is known to be effective. Students enjoy picking out different pencils, pens, and markers to use to trace their spelling words. It creates a quiet space, where the students are still having fun and learning.
9. Play The Add A Letter Game
In the add a letter game, one person writes one letter while another person adds the next letter. You keep going until the spelling word is completely written. You can do this by calling on students to go to the whiteboard, or you can assign partners to do this at their desks.
10. Find The Words In Magazines And Newspapers And Highlight Or Cut Them Out
It is interesting to students when they see the words they are learning used in magazines and newspapers. Hand them a highlighter and a stack of magazines and newspapers. You may be surprised yourself at how often the spelling words are written in these objects laying around your classroom.
11. Play An Acting Game Where The Students Act Out The Words
This game has the same concept as charades, except you use spelling words. Put the words in a bowl and have each student pull one out. After they have selected a word from the bowl, they will go to the front of the class and act it out without saying the word. Once a student guesses the word, they can sit down and let someone else go.
12. Put The Words In Alphabetical Order
This does not necessarily help with spelling, but it does help with memory. When a child puts the words in alphabetical order, they will begin to remember some of the letters that were used in each word.
13. Play A Game Where You Find The Missing Letter
Hand out worksheets or go to the whiteboard and write out words where a few letters are missing. Encourage students to fill in the letters that are missing to form their spelling words.
14. Encourage Students To Write A Story Using The Spelling Words
You can encourage your students to use their imagination to write a story using the spelling words. They can either write whatever they want, or you can select a topic for them to write about. For example, you can tell them to write about zombies or fairies. However, they must use their spelling words throughout the story.
15. Make A Variety Of Word Searches
Word searches are valuable when it comes to learning spelling words. They also keep your students busy while you focus on something else for a few minutes. If you need help creating word searches, check out spellingcity.com. This website will create all the word searches that you could ever need.
To see an up-close look of a spelling activity, take a look at St. Mary’s Charter School’s YouTube video. This video is of a teacher who is demonstrating a fun and successful activity that works for her students.
If you are looking for a way to display an activity to your entire classroom, my suggestion is to buy a document camera. These devices are wonderful when it comes to ensuring that a large group of people can see one thing.
7 Ways How to Teach Spelling
It is more common than you think for a child to love to read but dislike learning to spell. Therefore, teachers must come up with different ways to teach spelling. Below, I will tell you a few of the best ways that you can teach spelling.
1. Write Words Out By Hand
Suggest that your students write out words by hand a few times. This works because it encourages practice and memorization. You can have them write it on the board for the class or you can assign it as homework.
2. Let Your Students Get Creative
Allowing your students to be creative keeps things from becoming dull in your classroom. Let them get out paint, construction paper, markers, crayons, and pencils, and see what they can create out of their spelling words. The more fun they have with an activity, the more likely they are to remember it.
3. Spell Out Loud
When you say a word out loud, be sure to spell it out loud too. This will encourage your students to do the same. When they spell out loud, they will learn the correct order that the letters go to form the spelling words. Spelling out loud helps auditory learners as well as visual learners.
4. Encourage Reading
By encouraging reading, your students will see some of their spelling words throughout books. The more often that they see the words spelled correctly, the more likely they are to memorize them. It becomes a long-time memory for them.
5. Display The Spelling Words Around Your Classroom
Place spelling words that you plan to teach around your classroom. The child will see these words daily and will begin remembering them. Since they will be in their environment, the spelling words will be passive input which will ultimately lead to active knowledge. Be sure to go over the words while pointing at them from time to time.
6. Play Games
My suggestion is to play as many games as possible. Students will have so much fun that they will not realize that they are actually learning. If you offer a prize, they will also be motivated to win, which will increase their participation.
We are 100 days smarter!! I love that my 5th graders really were excited to do the activities I planned for them!! I even incorporated Math, Writing, & Spelling. @NISD @NISDVillarreal_ @JagMathKRod #5thgraderocks #RootEdVillarreal #100DaysofSchool pic.twitter.com/z68qFBjASt
— Priscilla Guerrero (@pguerrero5th) February 5, 2020
7. Teach Typing
If you have laptops or computers available, give your students a chance to type. Typing causes students to spell words out repeatedly. This is a great technique to teach spelling because muscle memory in the fingers is at work. Hand your students a list of their spelling words and watch them type them out.
If you are an educator looking for ways to teach spelling that are not monotonous or boring, check out The Handmade Homeschooler – Mandy Maltz’s YouTube video. She goes over ten different creative and fun ways to teach spelling, which can be done at home or in the classroom.
Games are an excellent technique to help children learn. For an in-depth look at three spelling games that you could use in your classroom, watch TopNotchTeaching’s YouTube video below.
While thinking of games, you should consider purchasing an interactive whiteboard for your classroom. These tools are loaded with different games and activities that encourage students to interact and work together to learn different skills.
Why is Spelling Still So Important?
No matter how advanced our technology becomes, spelling remains very important. There are so many reasons as to why this is. Some of them you may not realize how common they are in everyday life, while others may surprise you. I will tell you about a few reasons that has contributed to spelling still being important below.
1. The Basic Need To Communicate
Around 85 percent of people across the globe are connected through technology and receive emails daily. Of these people, over 60 percent use social media daily. It is important that people using these online tools spell correctly. If a company is virtual, they will want to make sure that their employees type out the information accurately. For example, if an address is spelled wrong, this will cause a lot of chaos. In addition, if your company writes out instructions to prescriptions and they are not spelled out correctly, this could become a serious problem to the patient.
2. Employment Opportunities
When you are applying for jobs, the items that most employers will ask for are a resume, cover letter, or a CV. If an employer reviews your resume, one of the key things they are looking for is if you can accurately spell.
3. Trustworthiness Through Spelling
Typos are frowned upon in today’s world. In books, articles, magazines, or any writing materials, correct spelling is everything. It shows that the company or person is professional, knowledgeable, and knows what they are doing. If there are any errors, the public may assume that it is a scam, cheap, and unprofessional.
If you are a parent or teacher who needs some guidance on fun ways to help a child practice their spelling words, I recommend watching Center Station’s YouTube video. It provides five awesome ways that will help your child or student with practicing their spelling words.
Next, let’s go over the building blocks needed to develop spelling skills.
What Are the 4 Building Blocks Necessary to Develop Spelling?
While teaching spelling, keep in mind that there are specific building blocks that are essential to developing spelling. I will go over the building blocks that I recommend focusing on to help your students with this important skill that they will use for the rest of their lives.
Make sure that your students can say a word correctly before they start to write it. If they are unable to accurately say a word, they will not be able to accurately spell it out.
2. Sound Awareness
This is usually taught at a young age. It is when you show students how sounds form letters which form words. For example, C + A + T = Cat. Most teachers will say the sounds that each letter makes to form the words.
3. Comprehension Of Spelling Rules
You will need to go over certain spelling rules, such as vowel teams, double consonants, silent words, and more. This will help students a lot when they are learning to spell.
4. Recognition Of Sight Words
Some words are not spelled like they are said. For example, the word “where” is not spelled how it sounds. Therefore, if you can help students recognize the words in forms of literature, they will have a better chance at being able to spell them.
Sometimes, students need extra time to go back over a subject you have taught. This may include spelling as it is considered to be one of the most difficult tasks that children learn throughout their lives. Since most teachers do not have time to go back over every lesson that they teach, my advice is to purchase a document camera for your classroom. This gadget will give you the freedom to record anything that you feel your students may need more time on. I have written an article on the document camera that I think would benefit you to take a look at.
I hope this article helped you find a few spelling activities for 5th graders. The objective of this article is to teach spelling to students in a fun and exciting way instead of focusing on lectures, note taking, and reading books. Try to get your students involved in new activities that will get their brain thinking and their body moving. This will increase their engagement which will lead to more participation, better understanding, and much more successful spellers throughout the world. Good luck and happy teaching!
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Very helpful article. I will definitely use your idea of looking up words in newspapers as homework for students