Tom Barrett, a favourite of mine, has written yet another informative and highly useful post, this time about resources he uses to support the teaching of spelling. This is just what I need as I head into last term. I really hate the use of spelling lists and spelling tests. To me it just represents a waste of class time. I seem to struggle meeting the demands of curriculum and I would much prefer my students engage with some interactive online resources that will help them to remember the correct spelling of words they use, or new words they have been introduced to. Tom has listed five he uses regularly and I encourage you to visit his blog to gain insight.
One of the resources he mentions is geoGreeting.
I’ve been having a bit of a play with this and have been having quite a bit of fun. GeoGreeting was created by Jesse Vig. He’s a software engineer and graduate student from the University of Minnesota studying computer science, who discovered over the Northern summer that he liked playing with Google Maps. Here’s what he says on the FAQ page about how the website came about;
While working on a different Google Maps project, I noticed that a number of buildings looked like letters of the alphabet when viewed from above. This is the point where I should have just said ‘hmmm, good observation’ and gone on with my life. But I didn’t and that’s why this website is here.
Don’t you just love that!
What you do is type a greeting or word into the ‘type your message here’ box and the word(s) will be represented with the pictures of buildings that look like letters of the alphabet. You can see this in the screenshot above. Tom has had his students using the site to write out their spelling words so that they can see the words in an alternative visual way. After reading parts of John Medina’s ‘Brain Rules’, that suggests our brain retains information more readily via the visual medium, then I think there could be educational application for our use of a site like this. I’m sure my kids will enjoy it anyway. It’s also a means of gaining some insight about the geographical location of the buildings that look like letters of the alphabet. Another opportunity to engage our students in discussion that can extend their knowledge base.
Thanks Tom for the heads up to some great resources.