Word Work Ideas


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Word Detective:  In the classroom, when students learn a new word, they get a chance to be a word detective.  They get to pick a text and find as many of their word wall words as possible.  One way to incorporate what they have been learning in math is to have the student place a tally mark for each of the words that they find. 


Magnetic Letters:  Students can use magnetic letters on the fridge to spell out their word wall words.  Have them say the word while running their finger under the word, spell the word while pointing to each letter, and then say the word again while running their finger under the word.


Salty/Sandy Words:  Provide the student with a flat, shallow tray filled with enough sand or salt to just cover the bottom.  Have the student spell the word by using their finger in the salt or sand.  To clear the board, they just have to gently shake the container.  This can also be done with flour.  


Shaving Cream Letters:  Spray a small amount of shaving cream on the counter or table.  Have the student smooth it out so they have a flat surface.  They can spell their word wall words in the shaving cream and re-smooth the shaving cream for their next word.  


Window Art:  Allow the student to use window markers (Crayola or any other brand) and write their word wall words.  They can put them into a sentence, illustrate the word, etc.  When they are done, it wipes right off!


Rainbow Words:  Have the student pick some of their favorite colored crayons (Crayons work best for students who are in younger grades.  It provides resistance against the paper and allows them to slow down and focus on their handwriting).  Start by writing one of their word wall words in pencil.  They will take their first crayon and trace over the word.  They will take the next color and trace over the word again.  When they are done, they will have a word that is written in a rainbow of colors.


Scrabble:  Have the students use Scrabble tiles to spell out their word wall words.  An extension of this activity is to then have students add up the points for their words.  "Which word was worth the most points?"  "Which word was worth the least amount of points?"  This integrates math terminology that is used in the classroom.


Back Scratchers:  Have the student use a pencil eraser, pointer finger, etc.  and carefully write the letters of the word on a family member's back.  The family member gets to guess the word that the student is spelling out.  Switch roles and have the family member spell one of the word wall words on the student's back and they have to guess the word. 


Song Inventor:  Have the student make up a song for the word.  Example:  There is no 'a' in they.  There is no 'a' in they.  T-H-E-Y, there is no 'a' in they. 


Word Chants:  In the classroom, students will be doing a variety of word chants to help them commit the word to memory.  Listed is a website that describes many different word chants.  http://www.k111.k12.il.us/lafayette/FourBlocks/word_wall_chants.htm


Word Wall BINGO:  Provide the student with a grid that they can take their word wall words and write one in each space (previous months words can be used to reinforce the student's knowledge).  Play like BINGO. 


Bean Bag Toss:  Write the words on a note card (or the student can do this).  Then stick the note cards on the wall, shower curtain, etc.  Have the student gently toss the bean bag at a word.  If they can read the word, they get a point.  The student can integrate math by putting a tally mark for each point they receive. 


ABC Order:  Have the student take their word wall words and put them into ABC (alphabetical) order.


Flashlight Spelling: Have the student turn off the light.  Use the flashlight to spell their word wall words on the wall or ceiling. 


Magazine Letters:  Provide the student with old magazines or newspapers that they can cut up.  Have them look through the magazine/newspaper and cut out the letters that spell their word.  They can then glue the letters on a piece of paper to spell their word wall word. 


Handwriting Switch:  If the student is right handed, have them write the word with their left hand.  If the student is left handed, have them write the word with their right hand.  Brain-based research shows that this helps cement the word in the student's brain.  ("What happens in your brain while you're doing this becomes a brain exercise because different, underused nerve pathways and connections get activated. This stimulates the growth of new brain cells and brain connections.")


Popsicle Stick Words:  Have the student build their words using Popsicle sticks or toothpicks.