The child says the word, spells it, then says it again. Then I say it and we ALL spell it together. Yep, it's that simple. Effective and fun!
A few tips before you try this:
1. Tell the class that ONLY the child you call on is allowed to touch the ball. If they miss the catch and it rolls onto the floor, no one is allowed to make a mad dash or scramble to get it. The called upon child is the only one allowed to get up and get it. Worked perfectly! They are mindful of the rule which allows us to play at any given time.
2. The balls are plastic and if a little pressure is applied, they will dent. I took the time to let each child feel the ball before we started and I had a few available that I allowed to be squeezed. I did this AFTER the first child ruined a ball. Since then, no more ruined balls. Do it before you play and I bet you'll be dent-free!
3. Use a Sharpie to write the words but then dab a bit of clear nail polish over the word so it doesn't wear off. Works great!
This really has helped my kids with recognizing words and especially spelling them/applying them into their writing. Sometimes I throw one and move on but other times, I have a Toss-A-Ball Marathon and everyone gets one.
It sure is fun teaching the little ones, isn't it?