So, today I got the chance to take a quick peek inside of my classroom! Now, my creative wheels are in overdrive and I’m growing more excited by the minute! As much as I’ve enjoyed having a little down time, I’m ready to start prepping our learning space.
One of the first things that will be going up in the room this year is our word wall. The best thing about taking a look into the room is seeing the blank slate. It’s a new chance, a new opportunity to do something great…to work with a new batch of kiddos…to grow and change and become better!
Our word wall is going to be one of those things that changes for the better this year!
At the beginning of last year, our word wall looked like this. Each week, the class and I added 5 new words (given that I remembered to print them) to the word wall. To facilitate a little visual “pop” and to help me stay organized…I used neon Astrobrights to run copies of our sight words. I love ROY G. BIV order! I love it so much, I use it to organize things in sequential order by grading periods. Our year is divided into 6 of them. During the 1st 6 weeks, the words were added on pink, then orange in the 2nd 6 weeks, then yellow in the 3rd 6 weeks and so on. This helped me to ‘at a glance’ be able to keep track of when words were introduced throughout the year.
We’ll be using neon again this year, but instead of the focus being on classroom organization…the focus will be on student learning!
Word wall headers have been prepped and the Astrobrights are on deck and ready! Our word wall is growing up! It’s maturing and being organized to focus on phonics! You might say….well, duh! But….wait! Let me tell you HOW!
There will be 3 categories of words on our word wall. The first category will be sight words that can be used to generate other words. These words will be copied onto neon cardstock. For instance….take the word drink. You can use the rime to rhyme and create other words like….link, mink, brink, pink, sink, wink, blink, or think. With before…you can use the rime of the second syllable to rhyme and create…chore, score, shore, snore, core, or bore. Get it? Of course you do…YOU rock!
Because these words will be on brightly colored paper, students can use the color, the rime, or the shape of the word to help recall them, use them, or spell them by analogy to create new words.
The second category of words will be those that are the outlaws. The naughty ones….the words that don’t always follow the [phonics] rules and can not be used to generate other words. They will be copied onto white paper. White….like glue, to help them stick in students’ memories! These words will have to be memorized by sight! After copying each of these words and cutting them from white paper, they will also be framed in black.
The last category of words, will be vocabulary words. These are the words that may be required in our curriculum’s specificity or words that are important to students but are not a part of traditional sight word lists. They will be copied onto tan/manila paper and cut to the shape of a rectangle…another visual reminder/distinction.
Our word wall will continue to be interactive in the sense that we will USE it! We’ll hang the words together, we’ll play word games, apply movement to our spelling activities…and when that age old question arises… “HOW DO I SPELL…?” We’ll make reference to words that can be manipulated to guide the spelling of others.
One other additional BIG detail…the background of the word wall will be black. LOVE! Black and white is our running class theme, so our word wall will fit right in!
The alphabet line will be hung in ABC order from A………..allllll the waaaaaaaaaay to Z, in ONE single line…so it will quite literally be a word WALL, lol! After hanging the alphabet line close to eye level, sight words will be placed in a vertical line above each letter…about 5 per week…WITH KIDS. Vocabulary will be hung below the letter and changed out according to need throughout the year.
Cutting the words to their shape will be another visual tool to help students remember them. The black background really creates a clean look. I love the way the neon pops! Even the outlaws stand out in their little black leather jackets!
I’ve had word wall on the brain all week and will be excited to get my hands on those golden keys on Monday morning to begin prepping it in the classroom!
This is a small shot of what our much bigger word wall will look like and I have to say, I think it’s going to change the way our kids use the word wall in a great way!
You know, one of the reasons I found this opportunity to dig deeper during word wall time so exciting is because our trainer presented it with the enthusiasm of a kid with a brand new toy! I can only hope to have a fraction of her energy and excitement once we're back at school. If you had never used a word wall before in your life…attending her training would make you want to run out and hang one up as fast as you could!
And guess what? There will be no more having to remember to prep my words for the week because I’ve typed my entire list for the year! No lamination...just print, cut and hang! That’s one little thing that makes a big difference checked off of my list for the entire school year! Check out this little diddy in my TPT store to check it off of your list too!
First grade friends, you can click HERE to grab your list. =) What BIG change are YOU looking forward to this year?