As a first grade teacher, one of the staples in my classroom is our word wall. For the first few years of my teaching career, my word wall was the bane of my existence. I tried all sorts of different methods of using the word wall and they ALL fell short until I developed my Interactive Word Wall Materials. (You can check out my materials by clicking the link)
Each time I recreated my word wall, I tried to make it more and more accessible to my students. I wanted my word wall to be something that they referenced daily in the classroom. I wanted to find a way for students to be able to manipulate words on the wall. I wanted to be able to put words up easily and take them down just as easily. Then it hit me…. a magnetic word wall. Below, you can see how I used one of my classroom whiteboards to house our word wall.
I simply printed out the word wall letter headings and the words on card stock. I laminated the materials and put magnetic tape on the back of each word. The initial prep of putting magnetic tape on the backs of the words took a little while, but I’m pretty sure that I binge-watched Orange is the New Black while I prepped them one summer. See a flashback to my word wall prep pile below! Now every year since then, I can simply take the words down at the end of the year and pull them out again at the beginning of the next year! It saves so much time!
My first grade team expects that all first graders can read and spell the first 100 Fry words by the end of the school year. These are the word that we put up on our word wall. I begin the year with each student’s name on the word wall and then we slowly add the first 100 Fry words as we introduce them in the classroom. Even though we only expect students to know the first 100 Fry words, I included the first 300 in my Interactive Word Wall Materials product.
The great thing about having a magnetic word wall is that you can manipulate the order of the words as you put them up on the board. I also love adding words here or there in Expo marker as we complete different science units. During my guided reading groups, I take words off of the word wall to use in little word study tasks and students can get up from their seats and remove words from the word wall when needed.
Underneath the whiteboard, we house our word family/phonics words that we focus on in first grade. I laminated these word family posters and each week, we brainstorm our phonics words on them as I introduce a new word family. I write the words using vis a vis marker and just wipe the words off at the end of each school year. The kids love taking ownership of thinking of these word family words each week and later in the year, I let the students write the words on the posters using the marker.
My students use the word wall for word work activities in the classroom as well. I included several word work activities in my product as well for your students to complete with words from the wall.
Creating this word wall was a several year project as I figured out what worked for me, my teaching style, and my students’ needs. I hope that you find these materials useful. I’d love to hear your word wall tips in the comments below!