Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Mrs. Patterson, how do you spell.....?

Do you have those students who are constantly asking you how to spell words during their independent writing time?  You know the ones I'm talking about, the ones that are ALWAYS asking how to spell commonly used words like friend or because?  Yeah, you know who I'm talking about...those ones!  Last year I was at my wits end with those students and, YES, I had a word wall, but my students weren't using it and I wasn't sure why (insert clueless emoji here)!

Over the summer, I scowered Pinterest boards looking for a way to give my word wall a little OoMph!  After doing some research I found that my word wall wasn't interactive enough for my students to actually use it.  So... I CHANGED it and I am so glad that I did!

If you want your students to benefit from using a word wall, you have to make it interactive.  It's an easy change, so what are you waiting for....follow these steps:

Step 1: Make the words accessible to all students.  I put my word wall in a central location that all of my students can see and reach.  

Step 2: Make it interactive.  Allow the words to TRAVEL.  My students can take the words right to their desk.  This allows them to apply the words directly into their writing.  

Step 3:  Reinforce problem solving skills.  At the beginning of the year, I tell students to follow these steps before asking me how to spell a particular word:

  • Find the word on the word wall using their ABC (alphabetical) detective skills.  
  • Once they have found the word, jot it down in their student dictionary.  My school has provided interactive student dictionaries (we call these the purple books).  
  • Phone a friend.  My students are in the habit of using the resources around them.  They know to ask a friend before coming to ask me.  
  • Finally, if students have followed all of these steps they may raise their hand and ask me how to spell a word.  This word gets put into their student dictionary right away. 

Start 2016 by amping up your writing block by using an INTERACTIVE word wall, it's not too late!   


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