Jen over at The Teacher's Cauldron is having a Word Wall Linky. I have a "Chunk Word Wall" where we post words with a "chunk" underlined so the children can refer to it when writing.
My students have Poetry Notebook to help build fluency and comprehension. In each poem, we focus on three to five "chunks" or sounds that are commonly spelled.
An example: the first poem we used one year was "I Have a Little Turtle" which goes "I had a little turtle, he lived in a box, he swam in the puddle, he climbed on the rocks. He snapped at a mosquito, he snapped at a flea. He snapped at a fly, and he snapped at me. He caught the mosquito, he caught the flea. He caught the fly, but he didn't catch me!" We "choose" five word chunks from this poem to focus on for the first week and two days of school because we usually start on a Thursday (go figure!). One chunk is -ap from snapped. We discuss the double consonant and why we need it when adding the suffix -ed. We make words with ap during stations. Another chunk we add to our chunk word wall is -le from little. We find words that have -le at the end that say /l/ like little and puddle. We use -ock from rock, -y from fly, and -aught from caught. We talk about -aught sounding like it should have a short o. This is just a good time to discuss our Southern drawl and remind students that caught really doesn't sound like cawt. ;)
Using this activity at the beginning of the year is a way I review short and long vowel sounds. I have a, e, i, o, u, y, and other as labels on my chunk wall. We talk about y saying long i at the end of a one-syllable word and long e at the end of a two syllable word most of the time. We look for patterns in our speech, reading, and writing using the chunk wall. I told my students that ey at the end of a word says long e, and I couldn't think of any other ways to use y. One of my students came to me a few days later with gym, where y says short i. :) I was thrilled that she noticed. Now, I do the same every year at first to see how many words they can bring with different sounds. I challenge them to find ways to use chunks that I have forgotten. ;)
I don't have a picture because we took everything down for testing, but my "Chunk Wall" is a basic, yellow 5 ft. (I think) pocket chart with the letters spread out in two rows. We add words in columns and usually don't fill the pocket chart completely. After the first few weeks of school, fewer words are added because we have examples of lots of chunks there. Our Poetry Folder gets fatter with fewer "chunks" that we haven't already added. Occasionally someone will bring a word they've found, we'll discuss it as a class as to whether we need to add it, and we do or don't-according to vote (with a little encouragement whichever way from me).
I'd also read in Janiel Wagstaff's book Phonics That Work! New Strategies for the Reading and Writing Classroom about a word wall that you add 1,000 frequently used words to a few at a time until it is full. Students are held accountable for the words that have been added because this word wall stays in one place, has the same words all year (as they are added, students work with the words and are then accountable for them).
If you haven't read that book and teach second grade, you'll love it! :) I got it in 1994 when it was published.
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