Hi there! I made my own dictionaries for my students. I got a list of essential third grade words and typed it up on my computer, punched holes in the papers and placed them into a laminated folder. I made enough for each of my students to have one.
This is an idea that really works great for writing in my classroom:
I have a dictionary and thesaurus wall in my room (bulletin board) that I divide in half. I use colored library pockets and index cards. When a student needs to know the spelling of a word, they first go to the word wall and look for their word, second look in the dictionary I made, third, look the word up in a "real" dictionary, fourth ask a neighbor for the correct spelling, fifth use spell check on computer, finally, they can ask me if the do not know how to spell it after trying all of the above. All of my students have a sticky note pad on their desk and they must have the word sounded out on this when they come to me. I then explain the spelling and write it on an index card. The student then writes it correctly in their work and place it in a library pocket in alphabetical order. Oh!!!! I have a pocket for each letter of the alphabet.
The thesaurus side is for "Dollar words". We have three new vocab words that I intro. each week for the thesaurus wall. Such as big. The students spend the first day using a thesaurus finding other words for big and we write them on an index card and place it in a pocket with the word big written on it. Then all week we see how many times they can get caught using the "dollar words". This increases writing and cuts down on me being the class speller