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  • Writer's pictureJessica Kaminski

ELA: More Than a Word Wall

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

On my web page, you see a lot of math materials, but I have been a coach in all 5 subject areas for the past five years. I also taught them all while teaching in the classroom. That's partly why I started my own company...I wanted to be able to work in all subject areas in multiple grade levels.

My latest endeavor, however, is to take those skills and begin using them on my rising kindergarten student. He is quite a curious child and loves to learn. With his mom being a teacher, I wanted to surround him (and his siblings) with a rich environment.

So, I created this massive word wall and have been adding on to it as we go. BUT, it's not just any ordinary word wall. It's a wall that helps us work on letter formation. It's a wall that helps us remember the order of the alphabet. It's a wall that helps us finds words we know.

What goes on a good word wall? I believe common words that are used every day should be up first. Consider names and possibly names of important staff in your school or places. Then, sight words should be added as students begin learning them. I used to tell my students that if it was on the wall, it was expected to be spelled correctly. We also include any interesting vocabulary from math, science or social studies with a picture to give a vocabulary clue. This helps students to use those words in their writing and to be more confident with spelling.

We have been working a lot in our garden. We included things we have planted and seen on our word wall.

As we begin to dive into reading, I wanted to share a few suggestions on how to use your word walls in fun ways:

- Cover up a few letters and ask students to find the missing letters. To make it more fun, remove the letters from the wall and hide them around the room. When students find them, help them to stick them back to the wall.

- Play flashlight word wall. Darken the room and have students find the letters with the flashlight. This works for sight words too.

- Use the letter formation cards from Jan Richardson. Jan has a specific order when teaching letter formation with letters building off each other. I introduced letters in the order she mentions and then put the card on the wall. This helps us to all write the letters correctly (myself included), because we can always see it. We say the directions while writing the letter and then repeat with the sound and the picture. My word wall has handwritten ones, but I've recently made this printable cards you can download. Check them out here!

- Use the sight words for activities. Have students build with magnetic letters and write with whiteboards or even in sand to work on letter formation.

I hope these activities are helpful! Have fun and use those interactive word walls!

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