The Spel-Lang Tree: Trunks


In each unit of The Spel-Lang Tree: Trunks, children work with words using a particular vowel pattern. The Units are broken into daily assignments. These daily suggestions are very flexible, depending on how much time is alloted for word study on a given day. Below you will find a synopsis of Unit 5. All of the activities included in this unit appear in all other units.

On Day 1 of each unit, students are given a pretest. These assessments follow the same format as the assessments in Roots but higher level words are used. Individual test results can be recorded on a Portfolio Record Sheet included in the Trunks manual. Words missed on this test can be used for individualized spelling assignments throughout the week.

On Day 2 students are encouraged to look for words with the vowel pattern emphasized in the unit. They may brainstorm for words, find words in their regular reading materials, or use a Resource List of over 1400 words which is included in the Trunks teaching manual. They then arrange these words into spelling patterns. In Unit 5, they will be working with the single u pattern. Two options are offered for student recording of the spelling patterns they have studied. The first option is to create an individual spelling notebook using looseleaf filler paper and the other is to use a set of forms designed especially for this purpose. The forms include virtually all of the single-syllable spelling patterns in our language. Blackline masters for these forms are included in the Trunks manual.

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Synopsis of Unit 5 from The Spel-Lang Tree: Trunks

The Day 2 search for words may be extended to homework if the teacher chooses. Completed word lists should be arranged according to spelling families.

Day 3: Elicit words from all students and discuss. If students use the Resource List, their words may be arranged into patterns similar to the following:

  such duck bud bug drum fun
  much luck mud hug   run
    truck   rug   sun
  (bull) cup bus (bush) dust but
  (full) up plus (push) just cut
  gull   us rush must hut
  (pull)     thrush rust nut
  skull         (put)
  husk rub jump bunch skunk much
  tusk shrub pump hunch trunk such
  bulb bulk lung hunt (fur) (turn)
  (hurt) hutch        


Discuss: Which words do not fit the pronunciation pattern? (put, bull, full, pull, bush, push, fur, hurt, turn) What sounds does u represent in these words? (short oo and r-controlled u) Enter the short u words on Forms 16, 17, and 18 (Blackline masters are provided in the Trunks manual). Enter the errant -ull and -ush words in parenthesis on Forms 16 and 18 and again on Form 39. Enter ur words on Form 50. Review the concept of generally needing another letter before ch after short vowels (nch, rch, tch) in most of these words. There are five exceptions to this generality -- two are in today's words. What are they? (much, such). What are the other three words? (rich, which, touch) Because much and such are sight words, they will not be entered on Forms. Make word cards for put, push, pull, much, such and hang with sight words (Word wall). Add these to the list of words children are expected to spell correctly in all written work.

Day 4: (The teacher may choose from activities offered here or may extend them over a period of two or three days.)

High Frequency words: but, just, up (p. 101) put (p. 102) Note: On pages 101-2 is a list of 140 high frequency words which children should master by the end of second grade.

Nouns, verbs, adjectives: Have students find five of each and combine some of these to write sentences.

Affixing: s, es, 's, er, ing, est

they he/she is/are past noun
drum drums drumming drummed drummer
hunt hunts hunting hunted hunter
base adjective comparative superlative  
luck lucky luckier luckiest  
dust dusty dustier dustiest  
rust rusty rustier rustiest  

Dictionary: duck, trunk In the dictionary, have students find the different meanings for these words. Write sentences using at least two of the meanings.

Compound words: Have students try to find words which can be combined with words from earlier units to create compound words such as manhunt, sunfish, understand, upon.

2 syllables: Introduce and discuss hundred and under. This is a good place to teach a common separation of syllables. When there are more than two consonants between the two vowels, look for a consonant blend. In the case of hun-dred the dr is kept together. If there are just two consonants between the vowels, divide un-der between the two consonants.

Homophones: fur-fir Write a sentence using these two words.

Contractions: must not = mustn't; must have = must've. Discuss words that form these two contractions. Like might've, must've is often spelled must of by those who don't recognize it as a contraction.

Prepositions: under, until, unto, up. Have children write these on train engines. File in preposition envelope and use in writing.

Pronoun: us This pronoun is often used after a preposition such as to or with. Have children write two sentences. The first should include a series of children. The second should use the pronoun us. (i.e., Tom, Sheena, and Toya met Jay and me at the park. They will play with us.

Sentence building and correcting: (See p. 5 in Teacher's Manual) (Note: This activity was taught in Roots and is practiced throughout this manual.)

Day 5:

Posttest: Re-administer Assessment 5. Score and record as before.

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For another lesson from Trunks, please go to Lesson Plans.


The Spel-Lang Tree, Dept. WP
Johnsburg Educational Partnership Foundation (JEPF)
2222 W. Church Street
Johnsburg IL 60050 USA
Fax: (815) 385-4715