Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Word About Word Walls

Every year I set up a Word Wall with the best intentions. However, I have always struggled with making it actually usable. I think I finally have it down! So here's what I'm doing to "Make it Work!" (as Tim Gunn says).

  • I use a chalk board or dry erase board so I can easily add & remove words
  • I use colored chalk or markers to color code my words- one color is for high frequency words, another is for enrichment vocabulary words. I bought Bistro board style chalk markers from Hobby Lobby (see pic below). They are perfect!
  • When the wall is full, I'll take a picture of it, print it, and have it available in the room for kids to refer back to during writing.
  • Pictures- I'm going to try adding pictures next to the enrichment vocab words as visual cues.
  • Get your enrichment vocabulary words from read alouds. Thank you Junie B. for the word suspicious!
  • Use SOME of the vocabulary words from your basal story. Be selective!
  • Sparkle Words- Reward students who actually use the enrichment vocabulary words in their writing. A skittle goes as long way!
  • Feature words by putting a magnet, pom-pom, etc. next to a word. If a student uses it, they get props (or a skittle)!
Yellow is for high frequency words and pink is for enrichment vocabulary words.

They are bright and beautiful!

Sparkle word & reward students who use it in their writing

Side Note: There's a "I'm Invisible" light button on my board. I turn it on when I'm testing or in small group. For some reason, 7 year olds don't understand "Do not interrupt me." But they understand a light! Thanks to my grade level team mate for sharing this idea!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

BYE-BYE Name Tags!

One of my pet peeves is when name tags start to curl, peel, and  look like they just came out of the trash can. This all usually happens by October.
Introducing: "Sharpie Paint Pens"!

I got this pack at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. Don't forget the coupon! Then they only cost $12. Did you know that if you don't have a coupon, you can just bring it up on your smart phone at the register? 

I first saw this fab idea at the blog "Timeouts and Tootsie Rolls". My friend, Madalyn, and I decided to try this out this year. Then Madalyn had the great idea of color coding names so that we could create groups by color. So now we can say, "Purple People" pick up your group's papers.", or "Orange people will work together."


All you need is a Magic Eraser or nail polish remover to wipe off the names when you're ready to switch around seats. I've discovered that nail polish remover works best!

BYE-BYE name tags!