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  • Writer's pictureKeshia McIntosh

Using a Personal Word Wall in your FSL Classroom

Updated: Jul 19, 2021


So, here's a little background about my own use of a Word Wall in my French Immersion classroom. It's a little like trying 7 different recipes for chocolate chip cookies until you find the perfect one. Now I really want chocolate chip cookies. I digress.


For years I used an entire chalkboard in my classroom to create my Word Wall. I used to use those EXPO Chalk markers to write all the words in by hand as we went along. I kid you not. See for yourself!


*Hang tight for your FREE Word Wall set at the end of this blog post!

 
*Photographic evidence from 2015
 

Anyway, I used this method for years until I decided to type up word strips and laminate them with a magnetic backing. This way, it saved me from having to write them all by hand and wipe them off, and write them again, and wipe them off if they were crooked. Classic, Keshia.


I switched schools in 2017 and while the school was brand new and beautiful, it was lacking the same amount of bulletin board/chalkboard/whiteboard space I was afforded at my current school. Because it was new, wall space was off limits (something about the paint warranty within the first year?). I was defeated. I loved my gigantic, in-your-face word wall and had to get creative.


STIKKI CLIPS: Damage-free Hanging and a sure-fire way not to upset the custodian!

There was a nice big closet door at the back of my room that I knew I could use that wouldn't take up other prime real estate in the classroom. I had seen a post on Instagram about a teacher using Stikki Clips as a damage-free alternative to adhesive hooks that we all know aren't actually "Damage Free".

They're available on Amazon and they have this really neat waxy backing to them instead of an adhesive sticker - making them perfect for repositioning when needed.

 
 

ENTER: The PORTABLE Word Wall!

This has since been my absolute favourite way of posting French words in my classroom. I have my own personal set of words that I like to use, that I've seen my French Immersion students use repeatedly in the last 10 years, but you could really organize them however you want - by sound, by theme, in alphabetical order like I do. In fact, I share a FREE set with you towards the end of this blog post!


Want to know the best part? In all my years of teaching, I hadn't actually noticed if my students were using the Word Wall. I mean, I told them to. They told me they did. But having a portable Word Wall in my room meant that I could actually SEE the students getting up to use them. They had the option of bringing the rings to their spots temporarily so that they could take the time to write the word correctly and then put it back. Students who needed frequent body breaks LOVED getting up to use it because it meant they could stretch their legs (but also keep working!).


FAQ

Do I need Stikki Clips?

Absolutely not. You can use whatever space you have access too with whatever hooks you have access to. Whiteboard with magnetic hooks? No problem. Bulletin board with hook push pins? Excellent. Wall space with adhesive hooks? You bet!


Do the words have to be in Alphabetical Order?

Nope! It all depends on how you've introduced the words to your students or how you want them to be using them within the classroom. I like to put them in alphabetical order so that if a student knows they need the word "autre" for example, then there's no confusion for them, they know to find it in the A words.


Is this a Comprehensive list of words?

Gosh, no. There are SO many words that we could add to these rings that you really need to find the right fit for your students. It will also depend if you're teaching Primary vs. Junior, if you're teaching French Immersion or Core French students, if your students need to focus on more basic words first.


Can I add more words or take words away?

I encourage you to! As your students master some of the words, you might find that there's little value in keeping them on the rings anymore. Furthermore, you might find that your students are ready for more challenging words, or need subject-specific words for Science or Social Studies too. The world is your oyster in terms of how you want to set these up!

 

Okay. I know this is what you came here for so, THANK YOU to listening to me ramble on about pieces of paper on binder rings ;) They're important, ok!?


Click the link below to get instant access to this Freebie in your inbox! As mentioned, it's not a comprehensive list so I've added a page of blanks so that you can include some of your own!!


Have more questions!?

Feel free to reach out on Instagram or by email:

info@mmemcintosh.com





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