Do you use a Focus Wall in your classroom?
Hopefully, you answered “Yes”, but if not, I understand and we can easily fix that! The first year we started using Journeys as our ELA Curriculum, I didn’t use one either. The following year I set ours up and it was magic. No more guessing what the phonics rule or grammar focus was, it was right there on the wall. This big beautiful reference wall for everyone to use. Creating this area in my classroom also helped decrease small group interruptions. (…and all the teachers shouted, “woohoo!”) Anything that encourages student independence is such a bonus.
No time to read the whole post now? Pin the image for later 🙂
Our classroom Focus Wall has become a focal point of our Monday mornings where we review the skills of the week. The wall is in a central location that we use daily and students refer to it often. Side Note: I hung the charts at my STUDENT’s eye level. This may sound obvious but for a long time, I was hanging things in the classroom too high on the wall.
The Focus Wall helped me as much as it helped my students. It helped me to weave our ELA learning throughout our day and improve my cross-curricular lesson planning.
To create my Focus Wall, I use two large pocket charts side by side that hold all my headings and the weekly words/skills for each heading. I have seen some used without pocket charts but they aren’t as interactive. I encourage my students to use and refer to the cards throughout the day. This area has become an area that we refer to every day and gives my students quick access to all the skills for the week.
For my Focus Wall, I used two large pocket charts from Teacher Created Resources side by side. They are pretty large and measure 34 x 44 inches. My first Focus Wall was just the Headings and Banner stapled to an area of the classroom wall with plastic pockets underneath. That worked in a pinch but this solution is much better and easier for me and my students to interchange the weekly words.
On Fridays, I change out the weekly spelling/vocabulary/cards so everything is ready to go for Monday morning.
The charts are at student eye level so they can interact with the wall, which is encouraged. Our word work stations are underneath this area for independent and small groups. Once students become familiar with the Focus Wall, they help change out the cards on Fridays.
Check out Editable Focus Wall Banners and Headings if you are thinking about adding a Focus Wall to your classroom, I promise you, you won’t regret it!
I wrote about how I update Parents Weekly which you can read about in this post – Weekly Reading Snapshots.