Another Monday! On the upside, I get to spend a good chunk of my Internet time today looking at all of the amazing things bloggy friends have come up with. On the downside, this means I’m running out of time. Eeeeeeek! I know some of you are heading back into the classroom much sooner than I am, so I don’t feel too bad, but I’m starting to get a bit nervous. I even had my first school-related nightmare! (I showed up at the wrong school and wrong classroom on the first day and it. was. a. trainwreck!)
So: word walls. Let’s talk about them.
In some of my practicum experiences, they were just kind of there. They weren’t talked about or used, they just kind of took up space. In some of my practicum experiences, they weren’t there at all. There wasn’t really an alternative, either, so it was a constant struggle of students not being able to have the independence they craved during writing.
There were some awesome word walls I saw, however, and the ones that were awesome were used. Frequently. They weren’t just an “if you don’t know it” reference, either, they were a centerpiece of learning and kind of the pulse of the room. So that’s what I had in my head when I started on this project: something that is, above all, going to be supportive for my kiddos (especially my ELL’s), and something that made sense with what my goals are this year (see the trusty sidebar).
I need a dynamic word wall.
First, I made these:
|*sigh* These colors make me happy.|
These are my headers for my word wall, which is going to be placed above the windows, here:
|I still can’t believe I have a classroom.|
While that’s a readily accessible place from anywhere in the room and has plenty of space for lots of words, it doesn’t quite hit the mark for what I want to do alone. Enter this:
|You knew it was going to be Oz-related, right?|
The idea is this: my students need to experience independent success in their writing, and I want to remove as many obstacles to that as possible. At the same time, I want to support my ELL’s that may need some visual cues, while also encouraging my wordsmiths to expand their vocabulary. This is where my mobile word wall fits in!
|Clear plastic pencil pouch, blank color-coded cards, A-Z dividers, and trading card protectors.|
|Smaller versions of the word wall headers are on each divider to create a visual link.|
Students can have the independence they need and can contribute at their own pace, on their own time using this resource. They can encounter a word that they think should be added — perhaps a content area word or fabulous vocabulary word — and select the correct colored card, write the word, and then add a visual or other thought to make a more concrete connection.
|Front of the cards; note the color-coding for content areas.|
|Back of the cards, with a visual or example.
This can be expanded to include a definition, a sentence, etc.
The color-coded cards open up a lot of possibilities; they can be used to denote spelling patterns, level of difficulty, or as I’ve used them — for content areas. I’ll be taking the lead from my content-area binders and using purple for science, green for math, blue for social studies, and then using red, orange, yellow, and black for the various parts of speech.
|These are the blank mobile word wall cards for student use.
There are matching larger cards for the full-sized word wall.
I got through all of the words on my district’s list for second grade, and am now working on expanding it to include words that I know will come up during the year for the various units. The full-size words are more of an undertaking since I’m laminating them for durability.
The mobile word wall will not start out the year with us, but will slowly be introduced as we begin to use our word wall and I model a lot about how to use it to my students’ advantage. This will work well with my implementation of Daily 5 and CAFE, as I can see this hanging out in our word work or writing center!
Whew! That was a lot of post. If you’ve made it this far, thank you! I’ve packaged all of my materials and listed this Dynamic Word Wall pack (including editable PPTs for you to customize with your word lists) on my TPT store. Here’s what is included:
I would love to give this word wall set away to three people! Leave me a comment with your e-mail, and I’ll choose three random winners on Wednesday night!
(Speaking of winners, a big congrats to The Meek Moose for winning the Discovery poster — I look forward to seeing it in action in your school!)