Anyway, someone I follow on Pinterest must be researching and/or trying to problem solve out a new Word Wall because I opened my page this morning to find what seemed like hundreds (but it was probably more like 12 in all actuality) colorful and creative classroom word walls.
Here comes my big confession. DRUMROLL.....
I hate word walls.
Ack! Did I just say that for reals!? Yes. I am a horrible, horrible, awful, no good dirty rotten pig stealing great great grandfath----oops I mean teacher, got a little carried away there. (Can you tell I've been reading Holes to my 5th grade summer school students? If you didn't get the reference then you need to read that book immediately).
Let me be straight with you. I understand the purpose and benefit of having them. From day one, it has always been expected that there would be a word wall in my classroom, and all classrooms at my school for that matter. Thinking back to me--straight out of college when I was decorating my room for the very first time, and feeling completely overwhelmed and lost--even then I knew I needed to put up a word wall.
BUT as the years went on, I rarely saw my students using it. I tried the word wall games, and tried to make it more interactive but the kids just weren't using it and continued to misspell word wall words throughout the school year. Then two years ago I decided to accidentally forget to put up a word wall and see what would happen. First, a few non-things happened:
- No one (other teachers, admin, or parents) noticed I didn't have a word wall. At least they never commented on it, and I was never thrown in teacher jail.
- The kids didn't notice or ask about the missing word wall.
- I definitely didn't miss having a word wall up for all to see.
Then later in the school year, the kids started asking me how to spell words for them during writing workshop conferences. I gave each student an alphabox page to keep in their writing folders and they used them to add the words they needed to it throughout the year. If they asked me how to spell a word I knew they wouldn't be able to stretch out themselves, they had to write it on their alphabox for future reference. This basically became a personal word wall. The kids were using them and they didn't take up any space on my precious walls. I called it a VICTORY.
|I don't have a picture of the alphaboxes I used but here is one from Pinterest if you've never seen an alphabox before.|
Last year I didn't even bother pretending to forget about the word wall. I didn't think twice and went straight to the copier with the alphabox master to copy for the writing folders. I did pre-write 100 common sight words on the page, still allowing plenty of room for the kids to write in their own words. Again, no one complained that there was no word wall hanging around.
So, I'm sure you're wondering what the word wall plan is for the coming year....yeah right. I was recently thumbing through a Steps to Literacy catalog when I spotted these desktop word wall name plates:
I had just spent a week with rubber cement, tagboard, and the laminator making my own name plates for next year to save on classroom expenses. When I saw that they were only $9.50 for a set of 30 I decided to give them a try and ordered a pack as my back-up plan if the home-made nameplates were unsatisfactory.
Up until a week ago, I would have sworn that I would NEVER use a nameplate that didn't have a Hundred's Chart on it. But then I thought, how often do the kids actually USE it??? If I'm being honest with myself, the hundred's chart on most nameplates is usually too small for my kittens and they prefer to use the larger version that they can write on with the dry erase markers anyway.
I am really impressed with these Desktop Word Walls from Steps to Literacy. They have a great ABC frieze with photos for each letter, 200 sight words, color words, days of the week, shape words, and number words up to 14. They come in different levels (I chose the Upper Emergent), and they even have a number line up to 40. My old nameplates usually stopped at 20. They aren't as sturdy as the Really Good Stuff nameplates, but that's nothing the laminator and clear packing tape won't fix. I can't wait to see how these work out with my new batch of love muffins in the fall!
So hopefully you will not shun me into exile for being anti-word wall. In an attempt to buy your friendship here's a sneak peak at a giveaway I am planning to host next week.... get excited!
(I should probably mention that I am NOT being paid to promote this product in any way. I just wanted to share a solution to one of my teacher problems and a product I am really excited about :P)