Blowing Up Our Word Wall!

Yesterday I was sitting with my friend, Ms. Turken, as we worked on a geometry assessment, figuring out a new schedule and just musing about some first grade topics in general.  I had some ideas to throw at her related to my class library, my classroom layout and most importantly the way our Word Wall is being used–or really NOT being used.

We talked about the purpose of a word wall as we understood it, which is to be words that kiddos are accountable to know how to spell.  Yeah–it’s full of words that most kids know how to spell and read already.  It’s not words that most kids need support with so its use is minimal.  That’s where we were in Rm. 202.

I sat down with my class today (in front of the Word Wall, naturally), and asked them what they were thinking. I asked what a Word Wall is for, and I got two decidedly different answers (which was not very surprising, actually).  I had one friend tell me it was for sight words that we know, and someone else said, no, it’s for words that we need help with.  We talked about how we needed to be clear–and agree upon–what we wanted the wall to be for us.  I asked many kiddos if they personally ever use the wall to help them spell.  Nope. No. Not really.  Yes, but only for names.  We agreed that having words like it, is, it, get, and, am, etc., is not helpful.   I talked with them about what other kinds of things they might want to have on there, and also went to my word wall word stash to make a few suggestions if they needed help.  The word BECAUSE came up (as it has several times in multiple conversations of the last week) as a word that most of us need to reference, and so we agreed it would go up there.  Someone suggested color words, then we also talked about number words and other categories.  This led to the idea that we could organize the words by type, rather than by alphabet.

I gave them a few minutes to work with a friend (or on their own) to suggest categories or specific words that we might want to put up on our wall.  While they worked, I started to take down the letters.

Kids had great ideas for categories of words, like colors, numbers, names (which were already on our Word Wall but that are now in a square together instead of by first letter separately), school words, seasonal words (like Halloween, fall, parade, etc.), and just sight words or other “regular” words that might be tricky.

After school I was able to make a start at putting it back together.  It already looks great, and I am SUPER excited with how the kiddos like it and how they begin to use it differently.  After all, it is THEIR word wall and should be organized and created in a way that makes sense to THEM.  Otherwise it’s just letters that no one pays any attention to.

img_4788-min

A fresh start…

img_4789-min

Color words and the beginning of “school” words

img_4790-min

Number words (yes, I know there’s no eighteen. Somehow I lost it. I’ll fix that. 🙂

img_4791-min

Names. I will add girl once it gets printed.

Can’t wait to share more soon!  Please tell us what you think! 🙂

 

3 thoughts on “Blowing Up Our Word Wall!

  1. What a great change. You are an excellent example to those kiddos of what it means to have a “growth mindset”. I have a feeling you will be getting lots of requests of words that should be added now that they OWN this and use it! Way to go room 202!!

    • Thanks to your reply to this post! I agree that the ownership is key! I should have tweeted this, but their reply this morning when they walked in was “Wow–that looks great!” and I wasn’t even close to being done. 🙂 Today we added some titles today and it’s getting even better. I appreciate your kind words about growth mindset; I definitely try to be responsive and dedicated to doing whatever kids need me to do. 🙂 I’ll post an update soon!

  2. Pingback: Word Wall 2017 | 20somethingkids and 1kookyteacher

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s