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I have taught 3rd grade for 10 years and this year I am moving to Kindergarten. I want to create a nice word wall and I have been looking at different types. I love the bright colored one on your site with the black electrical tape. However, what kind of paper did you use? I don’t want to spend time and money on something that will fade. Also, what is your feeling about outlining the words? I was thinking about using a bold Zaner Bloser font so it would match their manuscript fonts. Please give me your thoughts.
Hello! I think you must be talking about the word wall on my cupboard doors. In my sixteen years of teaching I have only completely changed the paper once. Although, the purple does fade the most so I do change that particular color out every now and then. I really only notice the fading when I take the words off at the end of the year and see their outline. Once they are put back on the following year, the fading is less noticeable. The paper I use comes from our media center so I’ll have to check with them to get the specifics. (They are closed on Fridays so I’ll call next week.) It comes in big sheets, not as thick as poster board, closer to a card stock. I would imagine fadeless bulletin board paper would work too. Our media center sells that by the foot so you can get smaller amounts compared to buying a huge roll at the teacher store. If you don’t have a media center with materials, perhaps a few teachers could go in together and split the cost of multiple packs of paper.
As far as outlining the words…I’m guessing you’re referring to showing the outline of each individual letter to draw attention to the letters that go high and low. This is only my opinion, but that seems like more of a lesson to me. My specific goal for a word wall is to help children identify (reading) and use (writing) high frequency words. Children won’t see words outlined in print or write words with outlines so I wouldn’t post them that way. It seems like visual noise to me. In my experience, the success of a word wall is more related to how much you refer to it and help the children use it. Having said that, perhaps there are people who have used the outlines and found great success.
I would also encourage you to have another version of your word wall that is portable. Some children cannot copy from a board and they need the word directly next to their paper. I have a magnet white board that I use for that purpose where students retrieve a word and bring it to their table. The same thing could be accomplished by having individual word walls in a file folder to tuck inside their writing journal.
My other two cents on word walls…pick the most important words to spotlight. Your district probably has a list of words that your students will be responsible for learning. I use those, plus a few more words that the students use often and that’s it. I’ve seen word walls with so many words; even I can’t find the word I want. Try to look at your room through the eyes of a five year old. That often helps me make decisions.
Welcome to Kindergarten! You’re in for a delightful adventure.
Thank you very much!
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