Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Beloved Word Wall!

Good afternoon, friends!  Today's post is all about word walls!  I love a good word wall!  Seriously.  And what student wouldn't love having all kinds of words at their fingertips!?  This is my 10th year of teaching, and as I reflect back on my word wall, it's definitely evolved over the years...just like good wine-it's gotten better with time!

When I first started teaching {and when I student taught}, I was obsessed with "THE PINK BIBLE" aka "Month by Month Phonics: Grade 1" by Patricia Cunningham.  I followed it to a T.  Loved it.  Each week, I would introduce 5 new sight words {more on this below}.  We would chant them, write them, sing them, and then take a test on them on Friday.  And then I would hang the words up on my cabinets where they were out of sight and reach for my little first graders.

About 3 years ago I thought to myself, "Why are you putting those words up so high?  The kids need them for writing and they can't even stretch their necks to read the words!"  I decided that my word wall needed to be accessible for my little emergent readers.  So......I put my word wall within reach of my students and.......wait for it.....then I thought to myself, "Why don't you put magnets on the back so the kids can actually touch the words and take them back to their seats as resources during writing/seat work time?"  The rest was history!

My interactive word wall and months, colors, days word wall area...those are  found separately here}
My first interactive word wall began using the actual 4 Blocks sight words.  There were several issues with those cards {1. I didn't like the colors.  2.  The words did not match up completely with Fry's.  3.  The kids and I had to play JENGA to get the words back in their "spots" on the wall!}  I wanted all of my words to fit so I created my own set of word cards that are all the same size and shape.  Novel idea, right?  I also wanted to make the cards match my classroom.  I use a basic font for my word wall because I want students to be able to see the words from afar and copy them down correctly.  Research shows that having the words in large, bold, black letters make them easier for students to remember.  Also, having a border or printing the words on colored paper is beneficial.  Below are the cards I use.

Sample of word cards

I can not believe it took me 6 years to realize what an invaluable resource my interactive word wall is!  I just love seeing the kids going up to the wall and getting the words they need.  I also adore when they help one another find a word!  So sweet!

Ok, so back to the pink bible routine...One part of the pink bible that I didn't like was the fact that they suggested only introducing 5 sight words a week.  It just wasn't for me.  One aspect that's cool about education is that we can all have our different philosophies on teaching and children and it's ok!  My philosophy is that I want to immerse the students in as much print as possible {especially those high frequency words that pop up constantly in emergent readers' books}.  Why hold out on showing words that the kids need to read and write by the end of the year?  Why not show them those words all year?

Because of my belief, I put all 100 Fry's sight words up at the beginning of the year.  In fact, the word wall is already in tact when my students walk in on the first day of school.  Half of my white-board is dedicated to my word wall.  I used removable tape to section off the areas for each letter.  I made my own headers, but I have since added some to my word wall packs.  *Be sure to re-download if you've purchased one of my word wall card sets over the years!

We work with our words every.single.day.  Do some words get practiced more than others?  Absolutely.  Is it possible to make sure I go over every word multiple times?  Maybe, but I know there are some words on the wall that we don't get to as frequently as others.  How do we use the words each day?

  • Morning Message {click here to read about how I run the message in my room.}
  • Writing Workshop {students are permitted to come up and take words they need during writing time}  
  • Guided Reading {the wall is right by my table, so the kids can quickly grab words for writing during their reading groups!}
  • During those awkward 5-10 minutes when you have nothing to do! 
  • All other times of the day where writing is involved {Social Studies, Science, Math, you name it!}

Now you may think that having all 100 words up is over-whelming.  I color-code the words {randomly} and when a child is looking for a word to spell during writing, I can prompt them by saying, "It's under the a.  It's on a red card.  It has 3 letters."  Color-coding your words is a great way to assist students.
P.S. This is a fantastic book and I recommend it as a guide if you are a new teacher!
I know that space can be an issue and I know you may not want your wall interactive..so I have some suggestions.  My top suggestion is that you place your wall where your students can see it.

  • Use a bulletin board {staple word wall words up}
  • Use a pocket chart {slip word wall cards into it}
  • Use a 3-panel board {attach words onto the board with rings or library pockets}
  • Make portable word walls {use file folders and glue the word wall lists onto them}
I have several walls in my room, in addition to the main sight word wall.  Below is a picture of my word family word wall.  Space was an issue for me with this, so I used library pockets and binder rings!

Below are some plain word wall cards that I have in my shop.  These can be printed on various colored card stock to match your classroom decor or left in black and white.  I have the first 3 Fry's lists available.



Lisa Feikert said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh my goodness--great minds think alike! My blog post that will be up later today (and is up as a guest blogger at Kickin' it in Kindergarten) is all about sight words and one of the things I talked about was my magnetic word wall! I love it and the kids use it SO much!

Always an Adventure in Kindergarten

Cyndi Lacy said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm also working on some new word wall cards! I love your idea of an interactive word wall, I think I'll try that out next year! Stop by my blog if you can and enter my blogiversay giveaway!

Lacy's Letters

Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love the idea of a magnetic word wall! I literally just read about this somewhere else today and thought what an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing this!

Kimberly Ann
Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten

Tonya Thompson said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Love it! Great idea about making it magnetic. :)

Holly said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hmmm, you've given me some food for thought, dear friend. Love it and thanks for get my brain revving!

Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

Mrs. Bartel's School Family (Alyce) said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

We are moving to 4 Blocks in August. Thanks for sharing how you use the words, I cannot wait to use some of your ideas and packs!

Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

Rebecca Feld said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You just inspired me to redo my word wall. Magnets on cookie sheets or round trays...could be cute.

Joseph Wilson said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

To some extent it will almost form a good foundation to which students and other professional teachers must needed to inquire about in detail. reword my sentence online free

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