Working With Words

Managing "Making Words" Cards

This was a ring that was posted on the
Four Blocks Chatboard. It was helpful to me.

Posted by mcr on 5/27/02
Could some of you wonderful teachers out there give me some
tips on how to manage all those letter cards the kids use to
make words? I once came across a great idea in which the
teacher told how she used baseball card sheets with pockets
for the cards but I'm not sure how she organized the cards.
I've used zip-loc baggies this year but it's not the most
efficient way. Thanks for any ideas. mcr

I used the baseball card sheets this year for first
grade. It worked out wonderful for me. It is basically 3
sheets (I think) or whatever it takes to get the inidividual
letters in one slot. They were arranged in abc order and kept
in a folder with prongs. I kept them all in a basket and
when it was making words time I just passed them out. I only
put student numbers on them so they can be reused next year.
We also made sure as a class that they were put back in order
for next year. Hope this helps!

Posted by Sandy/PA/2,, on 5/28/02
I use a hardware organizer from K-Mart (you know, the little
cabinet with drawers you use for nuts, bolts, etc.). I labeled
the front of each drawer with the correct letter. My letters are
just printed on paper and laminated.

Next year I may need to find a different way to organize,
though, because I requested (and hope I get!) the letter cubes
like unifix cubes that link together. They're like reading rods,
but a different brand. I'm thinking of storing them in some sort
of rubbermaid containers on a wooden shelf (sort of like a giant
hardware organizer!).

Posted by Nan on 5/28/02
I just printed a strip of letters for the word and the kids
cut them apart. Then we threw them away when we were
finished. This way no sorting and no saving and no having to
find a place to store them. Worked for me!1

Posted by REI on 5/28/02
I use a 30 drawer nuts and bolts organizer from Walmart. I
have found it to be the most efficient way for me. I just
pull the drawers out that will be needed for the day's
lesson. My students(2nd grade) know to collect the needed
letters as part of their morning routine. The letters are
stored in their Making Word Pocket. When we get ready for
lunch, students return the letters to the correct drawers and
head out to wash hands and get lunch items. My leader of the
day puts the drawers away. It is very smooth. I am using the
same letters that I originally made 5 years ago.

This is EXACTLY what I do...I probably got the idea from REI!
My letters are not even laminated, but they are on card
stock..a different color for vowels. I have 2 years on the
same cards and will be able to use them a third. When I need to
replace them, it is just a matter of reprinting them and
cutting them apart.

We have a pocket chart baggie instead of envelope, but I like
that...I think I will use the lunch envelopes for next year.
They are small and sturdy. Posted by thea2pa on 5/29/02

I found a GREAT idea. We have a Staples Office Supply
Store that has a plastic leaflet which contains about 23-24
separate little pockets. Copy your little letters, laminate and
put about 4 of each letter in each pocket. You may need to put
x and y together. Get enough leaflets for each child in your
class and put them in a 3 ring binder and when its time to do
words hand out a leaflet to each child. they have no problem
getting them out and putting them away and its easy to store
and distribute.Posted by Sunny on 5/31/02

Making Words Lessons

Hibernate Lesson

Kitten (lesson)
includes a student handout

Many Free Templates
A must see site!

Making Words - All your questions answered!

Making Words?A Guided Spelling Instructional Strategy

Making Words and Word Wall
includes pictures

A Making Words Slide Show

Word Wall FAQ and answers from teachers!

This was a ring that was posted on the
Four Blocks Chatboard. It was helpful to me.

1. How large of an area do you use for your w.wall?

I have a long b board over a counter/sink area and I have
devoted it entirely to the word wall. In the beginning of
the year when it looks a little bare, we decorate it slightly
with seasonal cutouts like leaves, snowflakes, etc., but
currently it is all words! Glenda 1st TN

My area must be about the same size as above mentioned.
At the beginning of the year, when it is so bare I post first,
then last names. Later, these are taken down and posted in
other ways in the room. Otherwise my WW would be too small.

My Word Wall is above my chalkboard. It is 24 ft. long. REI

2.I remember reading that they should be in ABC order, so
do you rearrange the words to keep all the "w" words in abc
order when you add a new "w" word?

I do not alphabetize my words other than by initial letter.
So, the newest w word would be at the bottom of all the other
w words on the wall. This way, my kids who are using the
wall, don't have to keep searching for a word because they
grow used to where they are. At the end of the year, one of
our activities with the words has been to alphabetize the
word wall. We do this in different ways. Sometimes, I pass
out all the words for 4 different letters to one table and
let them do a letter as a table group. Sometimes divide the
room in two and give all the words for one letter to one half
of the room and all the words for a different letter to the
other half then have them line themselves up alphabetically,
with the words held up at chest level. We check the words
and when we agree they are right, the students bring them to
me in order to put back on the wall. Other times it is a
alphabetizing "test" and I tell them to write the "g" words
in alphabetical order on paper. I grade for alphabetizing
and spelling the word correctly. Glenda 1st TN

When I watched Pat Cunningham demonstrate building a Word
Wall, she didn't put the words in ABC order. She stressed
having the letters of the alphabet alphabetically across an a straight line. She demonstrated putting the 5
words for the week under the appropriate letter by the first
letter. We "built" a word wall that represented approximately
the first 6-7 weeks...and didn't rearrange words in ABC order
at any time. I think what she was trying to convey in the
TGtoFB is that when the word wall words are added to the wall
they are to be under the appropriate alphabet letter. REI

3.When you put the dolch words up on your word wall, do
they stay up all year?

Yes, they stay up all year. Incidentally, I use the second
grade list that comes recommended in the teacher's guide, and
add a couple words that either haven't been mastered from
first, or my students are misspelling a lot in their writing,
or are from our spelling curriculum using a word family that
isn't addressed in the teachers guide..."head" was one of
those words as head, read, and bread all appeared in our
spelling curriculum and I didn't see that pattern in the TG.
Glenda 1st TN

I attended a first grade conference session by Donna White
or Whyte I believe. She mentioned using a word wall, but
she would take the words down once they had been "learned"
as a spelling word. She would place the words in a small
plastic pocket or sleeve under their letter of the
alphabet. If a child needed to check the spelling of the
word and they knew they had had it on the word wall, they
could check the "pocket". Thea2PA

I use the first grade list of words that are recommended, but
sometimes we have to add a word or two throughout the year.
Usually, the request comes from a student who is using this word
several times in their writing. You could just put it in their
personal dictionary.kathyb1stia

4.Do those of you who have been using word walls for some
time in 4 blocks, feel this will work? or will it defeat
the 4 blocks word wall purpose???

5.How do you handle the Word Wall during state testing,
when everything must be covered or taken down?

Never really thought to do that. But I guess it didnt'
matter, because the kids had to turn their desks to face the
front anyway for the test (Usually in a formation where they
can see both ends of the room equally well) so no one turned
and looked at the word wall to my knowledge. They must not
have, or I would have wondered about covering it!
Glenda 1st TN

We don't have to take down or cover up the word wall during anytesting.kathyb1stia

*We aren't required to take down or cover up anything that
has been a "teaching tool" during state testing. 4 Block Word
Walls fall into that categoryREI

Useful Word Wall Links

K-3 Word Wall Printables
Print grade level lists and words
for your wall. Great Site!

Word Wall Activities

More Word Wall Activities

Word Wall Words - Mrs. McGowan's First Grade
This site includes a picture
of a classroom Word Wall and nice content!

Dolch Sight Words
Includes Dolch Word Grade Level Sight
Word Power Points to share with your class.
Also, you will find (k-3) Dolch Word Flash
Cards. There is still more... You can download
a workbook of 39 pages of Dolch Activities.
Great graphics from Graphic Garden too!
This site gets and APlus from me! I think you will

Print Easter Word Wall Words

Print Fall Words For Your Word Wall

Print St. Patrick's Day Word Wall Words

Print Novemeber Word Wall Words

Valentine Word Wall Words

Find great ideas here at the Virtual Vine



Books for helping you work with words in your class!

Month-By-Month Phonics For Second Grade

Making Words : Multilevel, Hands-On Developmentally Appropriate Spelling and Phonics Activities

Making More Words : Multilevel, Hands-On Phonics and Spelling Activities

Making Your Word Wall More Interactive: Dozens of Ideas to Extend the Use of Any Word Wall