Last post, I shared my favorite classroom management tool. Today I’m sharing my favorite literacy resource I use in the classroom. Word webs.
I teach at a Title I school with many students with Spanish as their first language. My first year of teaching, I tried to make my word wall work for me. I saw some teachers put their word wall on an entire bulletin board, some cut out words and put them on book rings alphabetically, some had a space that they would add words they cut out throughout the year- all of these are great ideas, but word walls are just not where I exert my energy. In addition to that, the word wall was meant for sight words and pocket charts were meant for vocabulary words. Something I also don’t put much focus on. I decided to make my word wall work for me and I laminated 30 sheets and used dry erase marker to add sight words alphabetically as they popped up during the year. I taped the papers on my cabinets above students’ cubbies so I had more room on my bulletin boards.
Because I had all this room, I decided that I would be able to split my big bulletin board in half to make a science/social studies wall and a writing wall. Want to guess what one thing I put on my writing wall was?
I decided to create just a few word webs in the beginning to help with writing for the holiday season. I made a word web for Halloween words because students were writing How-Tos based on Halloween prompts (and I was consistently being asked, “How do you spell ____?”. I introduced word webs as an alternative to word walls if students needed extra assistance with their writing. The webs were organized by holidays, school, and seasons. All students needed to do was grab a word web, find the subject they were writing about, and locate the word they were looking for (pictures are included to help with locating words). Let me tell you, this was a HUGE success! Now that students were independent in finding their own words, I had much more time to conference with students having different struggles with their writing. And their writing was so much better with the vocabulary assistance! Word webs open up the possibility to expand thinking on a certain subject. Here is a picture I took of a student finding the word they were needing for their Halloween writing.
The holiday season was such a hit for word webs that I couldn’t stop making more! I made word webs for food groups, monthly words, and clothing words. There are so many subjects I can create a word web for that will be SO helpful for students during their independent writing time.
One of the best things about word webs is that it takes up so little space! I put hooks on my writing wall and hung up word webs based on their subject. Then I explicitly teach how to find the subject for your word web and locate your word. Then students have the freedom to use word webs as often as they need throughout the day. A quote I find myself saying every day is, “Use the resources in your room.”
Word webs will be an ever-growing product in my store. Like I said before, the subjects are so vast! My plans are to add word webs for September, October, November, December, soil, space, weather,shapes, and school employees. But those are just my plans for the near future. If you buy my word webs now, you’ll get free updates from then on!
If you’re looking to help students become more independent in their writing process, I really suggest giving these a look! Below is a link to a video explanation of word webs. 🙂 Click the picture above to be directed to the product in my TpT store!