WHAT IS A WORD WALL? Our word wall is a list of sight words that First Graders frequently use in their writing. These words are introduced at the rate of 5 per week. Word wall words often don't fit into "traditional" spelling patterns. Many of them cannot be sounded out phonetically. In our class, we call themRed Words...or words you simply have to learn. The words are reviewed weekly and used to add more vocabulary to the children's written work.
The words are arranged alphabetically, and during writer's workshop as well as other writing times, children can refer to the word wall when they need to spell a basic sight word! SOME ACTIVITIES TO DO AT HOME Use each word in a sentence Find rhyming words Use your flashcards and have someone quiz you Cut out words using magazine letters Play any of the games described below with your friends or family SOME ACTIVITIES WE DO IN CLASS Some of these ideas were posted on the Teachers.
Net 1st grade webring,and are being used with gratitude by our children. Bang! This is a real favorite in our class! All the sight words we have learned are put in a box. The children sit in a circle and each take a word from the box. If they can read the word, they get to keep it. If they cannot, the word is returned to the box. If they pull a card with the word Bang! from the box, all the cards they have collected so far must be returned to the box.
thechild with the greatest number of cards when the game ends is the winner and gets to pick out a sticker.Word Wall Bingo #1 Each child has a bingo card with six blank spaces. The children write one word wall word of their choice in each space. Then the words are removed from the wall, placed into a container, and pulled out one by one. If the word that is pulled out is on a child's Bingo card, that word may be covered with a marker.
When the entire card is covered, a child can yell "BINGO!"Word Wall Bingo #2 This game is done in a small group of 5-7 children. Sight words are written on either 9 word or 15 word cards (cards are laminated so they can be re-used). The teacher picks a word from a box, reads it and uses it in a sentence. If the word is on their card, the children put a marker on that word. The winner is the first child to completely fill his/her card.
Bean Bag Toss Materials: One shower curtain liner divided into 20 squares Bean Bag Words on large cards with small numbers on the corner of each card.Attach the words to the shower curtain with tape or rubber cement before the game is to be played. Divide the class into 2 teams. Each team will take turns throwing the bean bag to a square. If the student can read the word the bean bag lands on, the team gets the number of points on the card.
If the student misses the word, the other team gets the chance to say it. The team with the most points wins the game. Some alternative games using a shower curtain: For the beginning of the year or for kindergarten: Write the letters of the alphabet onto cards. The children identify the letter name or the sound(s) that letter makes. Make index cards for upper and lower case letters.
Give the students the lower case cards to match to the upper case liner. Give the other students upper case cards to match to the lower case liner. For variation -- they can choose the card from a pile and then attempt to toss the bean bag onto the matching box. Students can toss the bean bag onto the liner. They must then name a word that begins with the sound of the letter it landed on. Students pick up a picture card.
they must then try to toss the bean bag onto the square that contains the letter that matches the beginning sound of the picture on the card. Around the World All the students sit in a circle (or in their desks) One student stands behind another student who is sitting. The teacher flashes them a sight word. Whichever child says the word first will move on to the next student. The student who makes it back to his or her own desk or starting point is the winner.
Tic-Tac-Toe Divide the class into two teams of X's and O's. Write sight words in the tic-tac-toe spaces. Team members take turns coming up and selecting a space to read. If the child reads the word correctly, he or she may put up an X or O for his or her team. If the answer is incorrect, the other team gets to send a player to the board to try to read the same word.An easy alternative to save time and keep the game moving is to have several tic-tac-toe boards made up with words ahead of time on overhead transparencies.
Another alternative is to give each child a blank copy of the tic tac toe board, and put the list of words on the board. The children can place the words wherever they want to on their board. As the teacher calls the words out, she will have to tell the children if the word is an X word or an O word. The first child to get tic-tac-toe is the winner. Wordo Materials: Blank "Wordo " cards with 9, 16, or 25 blocks.
Copy of words being studiedHave students fill in their cards with the words that they are working on. Tell them that each card must be different and to try to mix up the words they are using. Playing the game is similar to BINGO. The teacher calls out the words and has the students spell it out loud and then mark their spaces. Spelling the words out loud will give those who are unsure of the word some extra help.
The first child to cover an entire row calls out the word "WORDO"! The winner can call out the words the next time.Baseball Materials: Sight words at 4 different levels (from simple to more difficult). Make them on different colored cards and have the type of hit that each color represents posted somewhere thateveryone can see it clearly.Designate different places in the room as 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and homeplate.
Divide the students into 2 teams. Designate one team as the home team, and the other as the visitors. Mix up the cards. The children take turns going to the homeplate. Draw out a card and let the child attempt to read the word. If the student can read the card correctly, he or she may move according to the type of hit. (A single: move 1 base, a double: move 2 bases, a triple: move 3 bases, and a homerun: go all the way to homeplate.
) Make sure that you have included some strike out cards and walk cards among the word cards. If the student is unable to read the word, it is considered an out. After 3 outs, the next team gets to "Bat". Keep the score so that everyone can see.Erasing Relay Write two columns of words on the board that are approximately equal in difficulty. Include as many words on the board as there are children in the relay.
Children are divided into 2 teams, and will stand in two lines at right angles to the chalkboard. At the signal, the first child in each line points at the first word in his respective column of words and reads that word. If he or she reads the word correctly, he or she is allowed to erase that word. The game is won by the side that erases all the words first.Team Sight Word Race The children are divided into 2 teams.
Each team takes a turn attempting to correctly read a word turned up from a pile of sight words. If one team misses, the opposite team then receives a chance to read that word in addition to their regular turn. Score is kept on the number of words each team reads correctly. Have each team member go to the back of the line after each try whether successful or not. This enables all members to gain equal practice and does not eliminate those people who need practice most.
The Head Chair Mark one chair in the circle as the "Head Chair". The teacher shows cards with the sight word on them to the child in the head chair and that child attempts to read the word. A child can stay in this chair only until he misses a word. When he misses a word, he goes to the end chair and all the children will move up one chair. The object of the game is to try to end up in the "Head Chair".
Sight Word Money This is a fun way to integrate language arts with money recognition. Divide the children into two teams. Have play money available in the following values: pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and dollars. (I usually start with just 3 amounts) Each money denomination represents a sight word activity with an increasing degree of difficulty. For example: for a penny the child reads the word, for a nickel the child reads the word and acts it out, for a dime the child reads the word and tells its meaning and so on.
The first child tells how much money he is playing for. If he answers the question correctly, his team gets the money. If the answer is incorrect, you go back from team to team until it is answered correctly, and that team will get the money. The team with the most money at the end wins.The Head Chair Materials: Group size cards Mark one chair in the circle as the "Head Chair". Play begins when you flash a card to the person in the "Head Chair".
A child can stay in his chair only until he misses a word. When he misses a word, he goes to the end chair and all the children will move up one chair. The object of the game is to try to end up in the "Head Chair". Vowel Hopscotch Use chalk to make a hopscotch board outdoors. Write the vowel sounds in the squares. Students toss a bean bag onto the gameboard. They have to hop to the bean bag, say the vowel and the sound, short and/or long.
If they say it correctly, they may pick up the bean bag and continue. If the answer is mpt correct, they leave it there for the next child. ABC order This idea, posted by one of the teachers on the teachers.net webring has proven to be very valuable in helping children understand ABC order. It is both visual and kinesthetic, which really enhances learning.Take a blank sentence strip. Place an ABC desktape on one side and a 1-20 desktape on the other side and aminated.
When working on ABC order the students are given an ABC strip and big paperclips (a later option here would be numbered clothespins). They look at their words and put a paperclip (or clothepin) over the letter that each one begins with. Then they can look at the strip and see which letter comes first, second, and third.When working with a larger number of words, write the words on 3x5 index cards and place them in the pocketchart with one of the ABC strips at the top.
The students can then physically move the cards in the pockets vertically until they get them in the correct order. Then they copy them down onto their paper. By letting them move them around in the pocketchart first, they can more clearly visualize what they are copying down.Who Wants to Read Like a Millionaire? Divide the class into two teams. Using index cards prepared with the sight words, give each student a chance to read a word (going back and forth from team to team).
The student may use a lifeline and call a friend (on the toy telephone) in the classroom to help them read the word. This game can turn noisy. I make it a rule that if you talk and it is not your turn, your team loses a point. More Game Ideas Make up 1 or more game boards or use board from old games picked up at yard sales; use your own creativity. It would be helpful to make some game boards with fewer spaces and some with more.
The students roll the dice to see who will go first. Student with the highest number rolls the dice. The teacher says a word that the student should try to spell. If the student spells the word correctly, he or she may move the number of spaces indicated on the dice. If the student spells the word incorrectly, the teacher shows it to the student for a few seconds, then hides it. The student attempts to spell the word again.
Usually the student gets the word the second time around. While the next student is rolling the dice, the student who has just finished his/her turn will be writing down the word he/she just spelled. Some extensions for this game might include any of the following: Have the students write each word on their list three times Have the students "rainbow write" the words on their list.
write sentences with the words on their list, and/or add the words to their spelling notebook. WORD WALL ACTIVITIES (coming VERY soon) Click on the word wall poster to go to a page packed full of ideas of fun ways that you can use the word wall to help the children learn their sight words. With gratitude to the teachers on Kinderkorner and teachers.net, who so generously share ideas with one another.
SPELLING CENTER IDEAS (under construction) There are many fun ways to study and learn spelling words. Some can be done whole class, and othersas center activities. Still others can be done at home as homework or just to have fun. Click on any of the spelling words to go to a page with a wide variety of ideas for you to use. Again, a heartfelt thank-you to the teachers on the listservs. My own students have enjoyed many of these activities that have been so generously shared.
WANT TO PRACTICE YOUR SIGHT WORDS ON-LINE? Click on the building blocks below to practice your word wall flashcards: For more information on WORD WALLS, click on the links below: Click here for the Official Patricia Cunningham Four Blocks Site Here you will find many articles by Cheryl Sigmon about 4 Blocks and Word Walls Contains information, lesson plans and links relating to the 4 Blocks Literacy Framework The Reading Lady contains extensive information on the 4-Blocks model.
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In previous posts, there have been references to or images of my particular version of the “word wall.” As I end three years teaching Grade One, I thought I would share a deeper description of the rationale, creation and application of this tool. I do so because it is one of my few actual innovations (inadvertent as it was); because the students and I think it was useful; and because I suspect there are folks out there who might use and probably improve on it.
As always, this is not prescriptive: you might try this out exactly as I have, or you might encounter ideas or principles here that you apply in some very different way. Organization When I was first thrown into Grade One, and had to spend a weekend creating a primary classroom, I thought “I need a Word Wall. All those primary teachers have Word Walls.” But I wasn’t clear what they were used for, or how they were created, and I found the convention of organizing the words alphabetically somewhat confounding.
My Real-Spelling-fueled intuition suggested that there was something fundamentally shallow or limiting in this approach. I wanted to ensure that my word wall reflected and helped teach solid orthographic principles. My original conception therefore was simply to organize words by vowel, and so I had only five categories. This proved immediately unworkable, as the vowel letters so rarely work alone.
Where would <eat> go? Very quickly, it seemed to make sense to me to organize them by central vowel phoneme, by sound. I created a structure built around long and short vowel phonemes. My categories were written on the colour-coded cards pictured above. (Note: this works in the First Grade because most of our words have a single syllable. I am not sure yet what I would do in Grade Two or beyond, but I am going to find out next year, in Grade Four).
Process Central for me is that the Word Wall be a living document, created collectively and useful to all. Thus, when the school year begins, it is empty. (In reflecting at the end of the year, several students said “I remember the first word we put on there”, which I mention because it highlights their sense of ownership). My first year in Grade One, the thing got a little out of control with sticky notes.
There are areas in my classroom where students are encouraged to independently add words or questions (see this post), but for the “Word Wall”, I came to want a little more control over what words are included. Because this becomes a resource for the students in their writing and their reading, and because there is a loose bank of common words that students will regularly want to use in their writing or encounter in their reading, I have attempted to make these the focus.
These are the “high frequency” or “sight” words so useful to developing fluency. These are certainly not the only words we include, but they fairly naturally become the main body of our collection. Now, I could probably predict these words before the students walk in the door in September (Dolch, Fry, et al are examples of attempts at such lists), and so the words could be up there already.
Why not? Then the resource would be available to them from the get-go. There are a couple of reasons why I prefer to have the students involved in the posting of the words. Firstly, it allows us to find the words in the context of our reading and our writing. These are “high frequency” words after all! They arrive naturally and unbidden: from their writing; from their independent reading; from their guided reading with me; and from the shared reading we do as a whole class.
Of course, I often guide us toward discussion of words that will be the most widely useful, or concepts that will be the most relevant and generative at any given time. But the children really do take the lead, and certainly bring questions, observations and discoveries that I had not considered before. Secondly, it allows the introduction of these words to become platforms for introducing generative concepts, rather than simply about memorizing single isolated spellings.
Many of the words on those lists are function words that don’t carry a great deal of meaning, but they can be used as examples of important orthographic principles in the areas of morphology (meaning), etymology (history and relationships) and phonology (sound representation). I always tell the story of my first Grade One class who all knew how to spell <the> because they had learned a little jingly song about it, but very few knew there was a digraph, none knew the term digraph, and none knew what phoneme the digraph represented in <the> (though they had no trouble observing it was different than <with>.
By analyzing the word, we are able to introduce several fundamental concepts that were then reinforced over and over–and helped us make sense of other words. Sometimes these discussions lead to further, longer investigations; sometimes the word just goes on the Word Wall because we agree it will be useful to have it in our collection (because we will “frequently” need to use it in our writing, for instance).
One of the other features of the word wall is that we begin to sort the words into sub-categories, according to what grapheme represents each vowel phoneme. I colour-code these with other stickies (yes, I use a lot of stickies). Like the words, I choose to add the graphemes as we go. This becomes another source of discovery for the children. To hear children exclaim, “We found a new letter team!” (or, as my own practice has evolved, “a new digraph!”–they are totally comfortable with these terms) is not at all uncommon.
Again, the children are driving the learning, and teaching their peers. See in the picture below where the word <saw> led us to discover the grapheme <aw> for the short <o> phoneme. Note that this helps to normalize the reality that this phoneme can be represented by <a> or <o>. This also helps to establish that though there is complexity, there is also order: yes, there are a lot of graphemes for long <e>, but there are not an infinite number, and we can learn patterns that help us to understand that this is not random.
(To see this in action, check out the last couple of minutes of this film that Pete Bowers made in my class a few years ago). Eventually, we find words that don’t fit easily under the headings we’ve got, and have to create more! These include the dipthongs, and so on. I have begun to experiment with using the IPA symbols for these, and so far it has been fine. Finally, not every word gets a big treatment: many times we simply say “Should this word go on our Word Wall? Where should it go?” Having students place it reinforces for everyone the structure of the word, and reinforces the structure of our shared resource.
Application The Word Wall becomes a collection of data that we can analyze, helping to reinforce and establish patterns and conventions. For instance, certain patterns arise in the long <a> phoneme. The children independently began to notice that <ay> always appears in the final position in the base elements we gathered. Similarly, <ai> never appears there. This helped to deepen our understanding of the shared roles of <i> and <y>.
In our reading, the word wall becomes a regular resource. As children work to decode an unfamiliar word–<draw> for instance–they are now able to scan the graphemes on our wall for <aw>, link this to the phoneme above and have an enhanced shot at pronunciation. In our writing, the word wall grows as a resource for spelling these high frequency words. Having included the children in its creation helps them to know where the words are and why.
But it also becomes a tool for figuring out other words. I can prompt a child to look for graphemes that fit the phonemes they identify orally. My aim is to have them make reasonable spellings, on the way to accurate spellings. (Thus, in Grade One, I am delighted to see someone write <rayn>, and hope that further learning will lead to an understanding of why <rain> is the correct spelling).
This all takes practice, of course! The first form of practice is regular use. But we had a number of games and activities that involved the word wall. (The Internet is probably filled with these for more conventional word walls–I expect many would apply to my version). If you are still here reading, below is a video of my class playing “I Spy”. Note that some children really do need the practice, and how the whole class gets to practice various concepts as we go.
(Note also how I have trouble filming and teaching at the same time). Hope this is helpful! Please let me know if you have any success with this system, and especially if you modify, expand or improve it. [embedded content] Advertisements