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In defense of Spell checkers was RE: writing in the classroom


From: Kimberly Herbert (kimberly_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Oct 22 2000 - 21:13:28 PDT

I think using spell checkers was mentioned as part of a strategy for helping
students with LD's or who were in special Ed.

Now I've had trouble with spelling since 1st grade, when I flung my spelling
book against the wall and screamed I would never ever learn it. Handwriting
became an issue in 3rd grade, when my teacher "determined" I was
left-handed. Until then I was ambidextrous. In 8th grade a medical student
testing my eyesight picked up on the fact I should be right-handed, but I've
never switched back for handwriting. Now any idea that I was LD was
dismissed, because my reading scores were 3 - 5 years above my grade level.
Actually written information put in front of me gets read more like a
scanner than a person. I can read things that are upside down or mirror
image without realizing it. I am horrible at reading aloud, because I seem
to read whole paragraphs at a time. In my second semester freshman year of
university, I turned in an in class essay to my English Prof (Screaming Jack
Harris) that was a complete and total mirror image. To his credit he had me
read the essay to him and gave me a B for content and NG for grammar and
spelling. At that time the university determined I am disgraphic (sp). They
encouraged me to use a computer and type everything. I have learned to spell
more words, by using the spell check in a limited manner than I ever thought
possible. You see the computer does not accuse me of (A) being lazy and not
paying attention to my work or (B) being a fraud who is faking being smart
or belonging in school. I stopped being defensive and started teaching
myself. The computer highlights the misspelled word. Then I try to correct
it at least 2 times. If I can't do that then I use the suggestions. If I use
the suggestions, I also look the word up in the dictionary, often seeing the
phonic spelling helps the word stick in my mind.

Can spell checks make people lazy? Yes. Should their use be limited while
children are learning to spell? Yes. (Actually I believe computer use in the
lower grades should be limited for all subjects) Can spell checks help
students learn to spell if used correctly? Yes. I believe the teacher who
mentioned using spell checkers was encouraging students to use them similar

Kimberly Herbert (
CAM Administrator
San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts/Children's Art Museum

-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Sunday, October 22, 2000 1:09 PM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: Re: writing in the classroom

I am and continue to be a constant resource for all the staff in my school.
when the classroom teachers come to me excited about a projec they want to
try, I find a way to pull the art into it and do it because not only will it
benefit the students but it educates the teachers.

Back to my original train of thought...not displaying written work because
is not perfect.....I get little or no support from the other side. But...I
also should not have to go through all this to display written student
response to artwork. I agree students should do their best, I agree that as
an educator, it is important for me to consider all aspects of what I ask my
students to only display "perfect" work means that I and
are attaching our "grown-up" ideas about art and what is good. This is
wrong! We should celebrate student work at all stages and cheer them as
get better!!! Not wait until they are "perfect" before celebrating what
accomplish. Some of these children will never be "perfect"! But they can
excited about what they do accomplish.

One more comment that was made....included the idea that students use the
spell checker....what does that teach them????

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