I begin each year with a pretty blank word wall--with just the letters on it (vowels are a different color than consonants) as well as initial sound pictures. The first week of school I add my little scholars' names to the word wall. This is when I begin teaching how use the word wall. What better way to teach the purpose of a word wall than with the most important word to a child--their name! A word wall is just a decoration on the wall unless we teach our little scholars how to use it!
Here are two examples of word walls from my classroom: one from kindergarten and one from PreK. I read this post about Debbie Diller's suggestions for word walls which influenced why I chose this specific word wall design.
(Pardon the poor photo quality, iPhone cameras weren't as great back in 2011!)
This was a few weeks into school in Pre-K. We had to follow a letter of the week curriculum so we had already introduced Aa, Ee, Hh, and Kk.
In kindergarten, as I introduced sight words or high frequency words I added them to the word wall. The word wall in my kindergarten classroom was on a whiteboard so I was able to use a piece of magnetic tape to affix the words to the whiteboard. I loved the magnet tape because if one of my little scholars needed to borrow a word during Writer's Workshop it came off the word wall easily. Download the word wall words by clicking either of the pictures below.
In Pre-K as we learned a new letter name and sound I added initial sound pictures from my Beginning Sounds Bonanza unit.
Around March once all my little Pre-K scholars had learned letter names and sounds, I took most of the initial sound pictures down and added a few sight words. When I added the sight words, I indicated the sight word list it was on with a small colored circle in the corner. You can read more about how I organize sight words [here].
Using real photographs instead of clipart supports the shift towards nonfiction text so I've created a set of initial sound photographs for you to use on your word wall if you'd prefer--just click the picture to below to download them!
For more about how I teach and organize sight words, check out this post!