Word Wall Woes!!!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MissMaurie, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. MissMaurie

    MissMaurie Companion

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    Jul 31, 2008

    Who would have ever thought that the simple placement of a word wall could ruin your summer? Here is the problem:

    Last year, my word wall was on a long bulletin board above a counter. It was easy for me to reach, but not my students. I knew by the end of the year that I wanted to move it to a different location because I needed the bulletin board space. The problem is, I can't decide where to put it.

    I have also been reading Debbie Diller's Spaces and Places and want my word wall to be interactive. But what does that mean exactly? I teach Kindergarten and am not sure that I want my students removing words from the wall. But I would like for it to be at a level where they can see it well and use pointers and such.

    Option 1:

    I have a chalkboard in my room that is not used. It isn't in the greatest shape, but does not have any large visible flaws. I am not allowed to paint it; however, I am fairly certain that I can stick things to it (as done in many others' rooms). I thought about either covering it in paper or fabric and using poster putty to attach the words. Or having a strip of velcro or magnetic tape come down from each letter on which to attach the words. However, this board is regular height and I am not sure my students can reach it.

    Option 2:

    I could rearrange my space to have the word wall much lower on a blank wall. I would attach the words on a strip of velcro that would be stapled under each letter. This will put the wall much closer to the floor for my students to use.

    Where is your word wall? How do you make it interactive? I have had 2 months to make a decision and am running out of time! :eek: I will finally be allowed back into my room next week and would like to have a plan.

    :help:
     
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  3. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

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    Jul 31, 2008

    I'm using a chalkboard on my side wall. Each word will have a magnet back, so we can move them around and take them back to desks. I figure this will be interactive enough for anything we want to do. I'm doing a frog writing theme, so it's our Warty Word Wall, and the green of the chalkboard works great.
     
  4. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    I've done it all. I'm thinking you might like it better on the chalkboard. Putting fabric and a cute border around it will really make it stand out. If you know all your word wall words (approximately) that you'll have for the year you could test it out. Start with your bottom row of words and place them all on the lowest part of the chalkboard. Then do the next row. It might end up being low enough for your kids to work with it. You could then use more border to section off the top part of the chalkboard and use it for other things like color words, number words, shapes, etc...

    I see it all in my head. I wish I could draw it for you to see.
     
  5. Cashel

    Cashel Rookie

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    Jul 31, 2008

    Hmm, I've been thinking about this all summer too. My bulletin boards are all too high for the students to reach. I do have some low cabinets. I think I might try using velcro strips. Thanks for the idea!
     
  6. animalclass

    animalclass Companion

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    Jul 31, 2008

    mine is on a markerboard on the side,everyweek we have vocab words and the students pick the ones they want to go to the word wall and they are put up with a piece of magenet strip on the back
     
  7. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Okay. I created this in publisher to show you kind of what I'm talking about.

    [​IMG]


    click on the square and you'll see the picture.
     
  8. MsX

    MsX Companion

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    Jul 31, 2008

    i have similar problems. I only have two bulletin boards in my room and not much wall space! (windows and student cubbies) take up MOST of my wall space. Last year, I had my word wall on one of the bulletin boards, but it is situated in such a way that half the kids can't really see it (so, it totally loses the point!). I'm considering putting the word wall above the cubbies this year.... it's going to be quite high up (the cubbies are close to my height!), so it's gonna be hard for even ME to put words up... BUT at least my kids can see the words!

    I don't really have any advice, but I definitely can relate to the dilemma of not having any good word wall space! I think if you have a spare chalk board, that would be perfect.
     
  9. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    Jul 31, 2008

    I teach K and my word wall is on a regular sized chalkboard and my students can generally reach it. I am fortunate in that I am finally in a room that has a magnetic chalkboard. So I just have magnets on the back of my words. My students can take them off. I have them printed on cardstock and it is not a problem. I've also heard of teachers having multiples of some of the words so more than one student can have it at a time. Most of the time mine stay on the board, though as the students can see the board from their tables.

    We are able to play games using the word wall.

    Have you considered individual "word walls?" Perhaps glued to a file folder that they can take to or keep at their desk/table?
     
  10. MissMaurie

    MissMaurie Companion

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    Jul 31, 2008

    I wasn't sure about making individual ones, but I saw an idea in Spaces and Places where library pockets were mounted onto a tri-fold science board and the words for each letter went into the pocket. I thought that might be a good way to use in it literacy stations. The students could take the words out and sort them by letter, etc.

    I also liked the idea of not using the entire board and saving space at the top. I will consider all options.

    Thanks so much! This is why I :love: this site!
     
  11. TampaTeacher

    TampaTeacher Comrade

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    Jul 31, 2008

    Another teacher I know put her word wall on the large cabinets in her classroom. I thought this was a great use of space. I think that's what I'll do this year.
     
  12. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    I'm in the minority here, but since you teach kinder I vote for option #2. I have had my word wall under my whiteboard in my classroom and this is where it will get the most use from the little ones. You can use it in large group lessons and make it interactive and it will be at their eye level. They can reach every part of it when it's low to the ground, and it's eye level for them when they are sitting on the carpet. I'll try to attach a pic of my word wall, you can see the ledge of the whiteboard at the very top of the pic. [​IMG]
     
  13. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Aug 1, 2008

    I've been looking at a lot of your world walls, and I'm noticing that many of them run contrary to the current research in reading.

    Our writing system is based on sounds being represented by letters. Most traditional word walls are displayed the other way around - letters with the words with which those letters begin displayed under them.

    The problem is that when a child sees "once" "off" "own" and "ouch" all under the letter "o" they are basically led to believe that the letters are irrelevant to the sounds.

    A better way is to display the sounds (represented by pictures), and then under the sounds place words with different ways to spell that sound. So you would have a picture of a cow or a flower (with the ow underlined) and then words under that sound (ouch, town, out, wow).

    The best use of an alphabetically arranged word wall is for non-decodable sight words like once, one, both, etc.
     
  14. Beezus

    Beezus Cohort

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    Aug 1, 2008

    I am just a little nervous about my word wall for this year...I am planning to have an interactive word wall. I have 2nd graders. I am putting my word wall just above the shelves in my classroom library-- they should be able to reach all of the words, and I am putting strips of velcro beneath each letter (using beige velcro so it blends into the wall as best as it can! I'm funny that way! lol).
    In order to do this, though, the words can't be as big as I've had them before or the kids could never reach the ones on top! This makes me nervous. Always before, they've been able to see them from across the room. Now, they'll have to go over to it. But I guess that's okay, because I want them to be able to take it off the wall.
    I'm just apprehensive about it......
    Does it sound okay to you guys?
     
  15. MissMaurie

    MissMaurie Companion

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    I have also considered putting it under my whiteboard for all the reasons listed. I really like this idea. Thanks for the picture! It really helped!
     
  16. fuzzybunnie

    fuzzybunnie Rookie

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    I have a huge bulletin board along the side of the room. I use the bottom part for alphabetic word wall words where the children can reach them and the top part for "juicy words", word families and spelling lists. I print pictures for these because my kids have a limited English vocabulary.

    To make it interactive during centers sometimes they play "say the word" with each other. Also I play "hangman" and "I'm thinking of a word." I use the dolch high frequency list words and vary the color of the cardstock for each of the lists (There are 11 lists and I repeat the color twice) We also have "quick writes" of picking one word wall word to write a sentence.

    Hope this helps.
     
  17. EDUK8_ME

    EDUK8_ME Cohort

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    Sarge, I like this idea. Where can I get more information?
     
  18. Kindtchr

    Kindtchr Comrade

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    Aug 1, 2008

    I had an old black, non-magnetic chalkboard that I covered with paper & used. It wasn't interactive as taking things off tended to pull the paper off as well. I don't have a convenient place for a word wall, either. I will probably use the bottom 2/3 of my main bulletin board this year.
    Good luck.
     
  19. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    Aug 1, 2008

    Sarge, I'm with EDUK8 ME - - more info???? please!

    And I do think if you want them to be able to take the words off, they need to be able to reach it. However, if it gets too low remember you want them to be able to see it from their seats as well.

    One of my coworkers an I have our word wall up on a bb in our rooms. We staple the words on. Underneath the bb we have envelopes or library pouches (across the edge of the bb). 1 per letter. We tuck the words for each letter into the pockets for the students who really have to have the word at their seats.
     

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