Sunday, July 29, 2012

Puzzle Mat Word Wall Pictures & TPT Back to School

I went into my classroom yesterday and was able to get a few things done.  It's a teeny - tiny amount when I think of the mountain loads of word to be done!  Little by little - inch by inch, right?   So, I got part of my word wall up.  Here is the before (totally blank walls - just painted)

Here it is with some of the word wall finished.  I still need to add LOTS of the word cards.  I made them with magnets on the back so the kids could take them down. 

My criteria were:
  1. Interactive- I wanted it at student level and for my firsties to be able to remove words if they needed help with spelling.  I aimed for that last year, but it wasn't very good.   I used velcro and it was hard for me to even get it off without feeling like it was falling apart.  This time I went with magnets-- hoping it is more successful!
  2. Durable - Ummm...beside the velcro fiasco, I also had problems with the laminated cardstock bending at the corners.  It started to look tattered.  I'm hoping that having the circle shape (yeah! no corners to bend!) and magnets will make a difference.
  3. Flexible - I wanted to easily change words.  I printed all the Dolch words that I will use this year (pre-primer through 2nd).  I made each list with a distinct look so that I could easily change them.  I also am creating a few theme word sets (colors, numbers, back to school, etc.).  I always like to include the student names so they don't have to copy the name of their friend while hovering over their desk and distracting EVERYONE in the group. 
Here are the materials I used:
Foam Puzzle Mats (purchased from Walgreens last year)
Magnetic Tape Strips (small pack -1.97 at WalMart)
Printable word cards (the Dolch words that I used are a freebie in my TPT store!)

I also put up the student #'s by their backpack hooks.  These # cards are also a freebie in my TPT store.

I've also finished a back to school activity.  I love those "all about me" posters where the students write their "favorite" food, pet, etc.  I tried those last years and it was NOT a good beginning of school activity for my kiddos.  I tried to put lists of the most popular things on the board so they could copy it -- each person had a different favorite!  I could do "guess & go" spelling, but I wanted it to be more readable.  I also had the students ask me what color their eyes are!  And, the hair color... none of them were just brown, blonde, etc.  They had long names to describe their colors and wanted to know how to spell each.  It also took them FOREVER and many never finished.  So, I wanted to do my own version.  They get to color their hair & eye color (Yeah!).  I think I'll even have a mirror available! :)  Many of the choices are a multiple choice where they can circle the answer.  I also left the name off of the front cover.  They are going to keep their work "top secret" and then try to guess who each "mystery student" is.  It will be a fun "getting to know you" activity.  (Wow, I use a lot of quotation marks!).    I've listed this activity in my TPT store for $2.00.  If you download it, please leave feedback.  My store is just getting started so I'm anxious to get some ratings! :) 

Here's my version to give you an idea of the completed project!

Enjoy your Sunday!


  1. Hi Melissa,
    Love your puzzle mat word wall. You've made a great display with them! Thanks for sharing! Glad I found your blog!

  2. I also just love that word wall-it would have never thought to use puzzle mat pieces, but it came out so cool! :)


  3. Hi Melissa :)
    I love your version of an interactive word wall! I've been trying to figure out how to make one and this is great. Did you stick the magnetic strip to the foam cubes? Do you have any tips after having used this in your room for a year now? Thanks! Jessica :)

  4. Hi Melissa :)
    I've been looking for a way to make my word wall interactive and this is really great! How did you find the magnetic tape - did it stick well to the foam pieces? Do you have any other tips now that you've been using it in your room for a year? Thanks!
    Jessica :)



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