Hello all!! My name is Jeannie Partin and I am the author of Kindergarten Lifestyle! This is my first opportunity to guest blog for Kreative in Kinder and I am super hyped about it!!
One of the most important tools I use in my classroom is the Word Wall. Nearly every elementary classroom today has a word wall. My heart is to help teachers go from "having" a word wall to "doing" a word wall. Yes, there is huge difference between the two!
When I first began teaching 8 years ago it was common to "have" a word wall. Boy mine was cute - I had all our common sight words up there on a cutesy background. I'd even throw up some vocabulary words I thought the kids should know. Oh, what a disaster!!!! My kids did not make a true, authentic connection with those important words....
With experience and getting my Master's in Reading I learned so much. The word wall is now the focal point in my classroom. Our learning revolves around it. In kindergarten, those word wall words are the foundation of my students' lives as readers.
First I want to show you my word wall….
Yes - there are 2, but they are the same (word wall words are written in the same color on both). I love having both and teach my kids to use both as resources. I do include some first grade words on my word wall. My district mandates the words we use.....and well... I know my kids better than my district. There are words they must know before leaving kinder....
Notice that all my words are on a colored background. The reasoning for this is it helps kids connect a word in their mind with a color. This is particularly helpful with easily confused words. I have several words that begin with 'a' and 'i' - each must be a different color. I also ensure that words like am and me are different colors.
Everyday we begin our word wall time with a chant: A,a, apple - /a/, B, b, bike - /b/, C, c, car - /c/.……. Then we snap and clap each word wall word. After we've done the chant and snap and clap we ALWAY follow with a game of some sort. Everyday we play a different game.
Here are some of the games we play in conjunction with our word wall:
1. Word Wall, Beach Ball - Kids stand in a circle. I begin by calling out a word wall word and toss it to a kid. He or she tells me the color of the word wall. That child then says a word wall word and calls another child's name before tossing the ball. The cycle continues.
To speed the pace of the game, I count "1, 2, 3" - the ball must be tossed or it comes back to me. That prevents anyone from holding onto the ball. Also ONLY the child's name called can touch the ball. If anyone else touches the ball, he/she must sit out. I do this for safety mainly. I don't want a ton of kids diving for the ball. :0)
2. Hot Potato - We all sit in a circle. I play music as we pass a Mr. Potato Head or small ball. When the music stops, I say, "Read a red word". The child who is holding the potato/ball reads a word from the word wall that is red. That child gets to choose where the ball will start back up. My rule for this game is that you may only hold the potato for 3 seconds or you are out. That really helps keep kids from holding onto the potato too long.
Sometimes I start the game with a blank Mr. Potato Head. Each time it stops on a kid who reads a word wall word - that child gets to choose a Mr. Potato Head body part to add. The LOVE this!
3. Musical Chairs - Tape a different word wall word on the back of each seat - one for each of your students. We set up the chairs in a big circle. Kids sit in a seat. As the music starts, the kids start walking in a circle. When the music stops kids find a seat closest to the. I show a word wall word. The kids read the word then check to see which word is at the back of their seat. If they have the matching word wall word - they are out and can sit in the middle of the circle. Sometimes those that are out help me show a word wall word.
4. Writing Chairs - This game is very similar to the Musical Chairs above. The main difference is no one is out. Each child has a marker board and a marker. We play music and they walk around. When the music stops, they sit. Then at once all students look for the word on the back of their seats and write the word on the index card. On the count of 3 we all "showcase" - share the word we wrote.
5. Cha Cha Word Wall - I have enough maracas for every student in the class to have one. So, will get out the maracas and go to town. We sing the word wall words to the tune of the Cha-Cha!
like, like,like, like,like,like
l-i-k-e, like -i-k-e, like l-i-k-e, like l-i-k-e, like l-i-k-e, l-i-k-e
These are just a few ideas and activities I do with my word wall. I choose a different game or activity each day. This is a time of day the kids love because they think it's all about FUN…. "Shhhh. Can we say that word out loud????" Go ahead…..give it a try and see what happens :0)
If you like what you read today, please make your way over to my lovely blog: Kindergarten Lifestyle. I have more FABULOUSNESS over there including a way cool 100th day lesson idea with
Piggie FREEBIE!!! See ya!! ~Jeannie
Thanks Jeannie for such a wonderful post! If you saw my presentation in the expo this past weekend, I talked about using the Word Wall a lot. It is such an amazing tool. I can’t wait to use some of these games with my kiddos!! Friends, go by and see Jeannie for her cutie patootie 100th day freebie. I grabbed mine last night! Love and virtual hugs! <>< Crystal