Use a projector to show the images. Discuss the pictures. Teach the words and have the students repeat the words. Write the words in a list and have students identify what element is the same in each of the words in the group. For example, in the picture above, we are practicing words with the long vowel sound "a": name, same, lake, take, date, late, plate, state.
* Post-it Note Scramble: Write the beginning sound, vowel sound, and ending sounds on separate Post-it Notes for each word on the spelling list. Mix up all of the beginning sounds and place them on the left side of the board. Mix up all of the vowel sounds and place them in the center of the board. Mix up all of the ending sounds and place them on the right side of the board. In the example pictured above, we are practicing words that have a "silent e", so we have a fourth group of Post-it notes to the far right.
Show an image on the board and choose a student to come select the correct Post-it Notes to make up the word.
* Mini White Boards: Use individual dry erase boards to practice the spelling words. Show an image, dictate the word, and have the students write the word on their individual white board. For low level students, post the Post-it Notes on the board again so you can point to individual sounds to help students along.
(You can make a set of individual dry erase boards for under $20 by asking a home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowe's to cut a 4 by 8 foot of melamine or "Shower Board" down into 12 inch by 8 inch pieces. You could also use a piece of white paper inside a plastic sheet protector.)
* Spelling "Test": At the end of the week, review the words one more time and then have students take a simple spelling test. Create a worksheet with the images, or hand out a small blank piece of paper (I use regular lined paper cut into quarters). Dictate a word and have the students try to write it independently. When the test is finished, review the words and have students check their own work.
Sample spelling lists can be found at the back of abc English: Book One and abc English: Book Two, and they can also be found at the bottom of the Book 1 Activities page on this site.
Have you tried using spelling lists with adult ESL students? What ideas have worked well in your classroom?