I was talking to a friend of mine about Spelling Shed and she asked for my opinion and some tips on getting it all set up and working. I then thought that it might be useful to have a blog post so that if anyone else had similar questions, I could point them here instead.
This is Part 1 and will look at setting up Spelling Shed. The second part looks at how we use it day-to-day.
Disclaimer: I do not work for Spelling Shed and they have not asked me to write this. I have contacted them for permission to include screenshots. I have written this because I like the product.
I don’t want this to be a step-by-step guide per se, there are guides on the site for that, but some of the parts of the site may need explaining so I will try and do that as I go along.
The first thing that I would do is to upload some pupils. For this post, I am going to use some demo accounts.
I have written about creating usernames for sites a few times here and here and it is a massive bugbear of mine. I want children to have to remember as few logins as possible so we have come up with a username system in school that we use across all sites.
Some sites let you have school-specific logins and others are site-specific meaning that you share available usernames with everyone else using the site. Spelling Shed is the latter. It is worth bearing this in mind when creating your usernames because if your logins for school were first initial and then surname e.g. John Smith becoming
In the example above, I have included the email addresses of the pupils. I use Google Apps/GSuite so the pupils have email addresses (although noone could contact them as we have settings in place). As far as I am aware, Spelling Shed doesn’t use the email addresses but I am adding just in case. Education City released an update that gave users the option of signing in with Google accounts rather than remembering usernames/passwords and it was nice to be able to have this available to our pupils. Maybe Spelling Shed will do similar one day, who knows.
The “reggroup” part is the name of their class. You can move them and swap them about later, it just helps to put them somewhere to get them started.
When you go to the Pupils page of the dashboard, you will see all
These pupils are ready to go and use the site now if they wanted but I want to make some changes first.
If you have children at different levels, for whatever reason and need them to be in different spelling groups, you can assign that through the dashboard. It might be that I need to challenge some children or support others. Maybe there is a small group of children that are really struggling with a certain set of prefixes and I want to target them, whatever the reason it only takes a few seconds to setup. On the Dashboard, click on Groups, add a new group and then search for the pupils.
Now, when I come to set spelling lists or assignments, I have the option of this group as well as my main class.
That’s the end of Part 1. Your children are all set-up and ready to go. Part 2 looks at managing the site now it is all setup.