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Lesson Plan

Spelling Cheerleading: Integrating Movement and Spelling Generalizations

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Spelling Cheerleading: Integrating Movement and Spelling Generalizations

Grades K – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Learn and apply the y spelling generalization

  • Engage in kinesthetic movement to represent spelling words

  • Distinguish between words that change the y to i when a suffix is added and those that do not

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Session 1

1. To begin the lesson, ask students to brainstorm a list of words that end in the letter y, and write them on one side of the board. The School Specialty Intervention Lesson Pack: The Y Rule contains a listing of words that end with the letter y for your reference. For authentic purposes, you may want to choose specific y words that are relevant to your students or your existing curriculum.

2. Next, have students brainstorm some suffixes and write them on the other side of the board.

3. Show students The Y Rule poster and go over the rule together. Demonstrate several examples on the board by combining a y word with one of the suffixes (making sure to show examples of when y changes to an i and examples of when it does not). Have students try a few examples on the board or work with a partner to practice the rule.

4. Once students are familiar with the spelling generalization for adding suffixes to words ending in y, you can introduce the spelling cheerleading technique. Display the Spelling Cheerleading! poster and go over the moves for each letter. Students do not need to memorize the moves, but should instead recognize that the movement for each letter is determined by how the letter is formed.

5. Begin by giving a base word ending in y and write it on the board. Ask a student volunteer to suggest a suffix to add to the word.

6. Say the new word aloud and ask students to think quietly about how they would spell the new word (e.g., cry becomes crying).

7. Have students "cheer" the new word using spelling cheerleading. The movement allows you to easily and quickly see who understands the generalization and who does not.

8. Repeat several times with different words to practice the spelling generalization.

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Session 2

1. Review the spelling generalization orally with students. Ask a student volunteer to explain the generalization in his or her own words.

2. Divide the class into groups of two and pass out a copy of the Word Sort to each pair of students. Ask students to sort the words into two categories: those words that change the y to an i and those that do not.

3. Once the class has finished, discuss the word sort orally and ask students to explain why they put certain words in each category. Talk about other ways that they could sort the words. For example, are there some words that change the y to an i unless the suffix starts with an i? Where would these words go?

4. Have students glue their completed word sorts onto paper and work with their partners to write (in their own words) the y spelling generalization.

5. Break students up into small cooperative groups. Have each group use the interactive Stapleless Book to create a short story describing the y generalization. Groups can share their stories with the class and then add their books to the classroom library.

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In order to extend these activities, students may want to complete several of the following activities:

  • Use spelling cheerleading for other spelling or vocabulary words

  • Have students teach the y rule to another class

  • Learn the song for the y rule at Musical Spelling Rules

  • Read The "Y" rule comic and activity sheets and illustrate or create their own comic for the spelling generalization

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  • Assess students' understanding of the y spelling rule by collecting the completed word sorts and group short stories. Read their explanations of the spelling generalization and evaluate for accuracy and understanding.

  • Informal observation can also take place during the spelling cheerleading activity since the whole-body movement is a quick and easy way to see which students understand the generalization and which do not.

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