I can't believe the only photo I have of my main word wall is from back to school last year (January 2013!). I really need to start taking more photos!
I use other word walls throughout the year, but they are mostly temporary, and consist of content or concept words that change as we are learning new topics.
I have used this exact same word wall (it's actually my door!) for two years now because it fits sooo many words! I like how the columns for each letter are narrow, so words are listed, rather than being side by side in shorter boxes like a previous word wall I had. It makes it easy to read and find words.
I start the year off with only student names added with a green border. I add our year 1 no excuse words (that all of our year 1 students are required to learn) with a pink border and our 'spelling focus words' with a blue border the week after we learn them. For the first week, our new words are in a pocket chart at the front of the room so we can continually refer to them during writing lessons and spelling activities throughout the week. Our spelling focus words are words that follow a spelling pattern that we are learning about. I find the coloured borders help students find words easily.
To help students know what words are on the word wall so that they actually use it, I have some games that we play. One of our favourites is 'The Missing Word' duh, duh, duh!!
The Missing WordWe start by sitting in front of the word wall and reading through the words. I then ask them to turn around and cover their eyes while I remove a word. When they turn back around, they have to guess what word I have removed. As the year goes on, and there's more words, it becomes more tricky so they start by asking me clues like:
- Does it start with a vowel?
- Is it a sight word or spelling focus word? (blue or pink border)
- Does it belong between F and M?
- Does it have a blend, digraph, long vowel, short vowel etc?
Once they figure it out, we spell/chant the word and spelling, replace it and turn back around.
This game is really so easy to play and is great for when there's a few minutes to go before the bell!
I have some others I'll share over the next couple of weeks but I'd love to hear about your favourite word wall games or activities too!