I’m participating in another Bright Ideas blog hop today.  This time I’m sharing a different take on word walls.

I started this year in a new grade, in a new building, and of course wasn’t as organized as I should be, even though I spent a ridiculous amount of hours at school this summer.  Once the school year started, I could not, for the life of me, figure out where my premade Word Wall words were.  I found the pre-purchased sets with words for the end of the year, but not the beginning.  For a couple months, my word wall sat empty.  It had a background, and letters, and a border, but no words.  It was a big, dramatic fail.

Right before break I had an idea.  Who says word walls must only be used with sight words?  Sure, that’s the way I’ve always used it, but that doesn’t have to be the only way.

I revisited prefixes and suffixes with my kids since they were introduced in younger grades.  I spent a bit of time talking about roots.  And then I drew this tree to show students how it all works together.

My artistic skills are lacking, but you get the picture. 🙂

Then, each week when we introduce the new spelling words, we talk about the prefixes, suffixes, or roots that are present in our words.  We use sentence strips to write what they are, what they mean, and words we already know that have them.

I’ll apologize now for the low picture qualities.  This is up pretty high in my room.  I stand on chairs to hang up the new pieces but I could not get the right angles to get better pictures.  Also, the glare from my lights made things difficult because these are so close to them.  You get the picture though.

This is what it began to look like after just a couple weeks.
Here is what we used for tri.  The words we already knew were tricycle, triangle, and triple.

Here is a very blurry view of the parts we have for the letter e.

As third graders, we’re reviewing and focusing on even simple suffixes like ing and ed.

I also use this to reinforce students on finding each part in authentic text.  If a student can find a word part in a word as they are reading and bring it to me with an explanation on what it means and what it does, then they earn a Smarty Pants point in our class management system.

Next year, I’m planning on incorporating this same idea with our word wall words as we add them each week.

To continue on the hop, click the button below to go to Flying into First to check out a great post on using the 100’s chart.
Flying into First Grade
And, just like last time, instead of hopping through, you can use the linkies below to go to the posts.  They are separated by K-2, and 3+.  They’re randomized so they’ll look different on each blog, but there’s a fancy new check mark now after you’ve clicked one.  I love that new feature!