Yes, it's finished, and it feels so good to cross something off my list!
Here it is:
Excuse the fire alarm...
I wish I had taken a closer up picture...the color of the felt ended up going really well with the ribbon. Here's a closer view of the title:
The whole thing is above my coat rack. I'm glad I had a big wall available, because there are several ways I want to use it. I really don't want it to be a place where I stick words on there and the kids just look at it every so often to check their spelling.
Instead, I want my students to be part of the process of adding words to the wall and I want the wall to be utilized often as a resource and place for inspiration.
Here are a few of the ways I plan on making this happen:
1) I will have some important sight words up, as well as special words that might be used often (such as the name of our school).
2) Words specific to each subject/unit will be added as we learn new vocabulary. Students will help choose which words in the unit should be posted on the wall (a great formative assessment too--I can see if they choose the most important terms).
3) Students can submit interesting words they found in their independent reading books (just thought-- we could also decide as a class if we find a neat word in a read aloud).
I'm going to have students fill out a word web (I definitely need more practice with googledocs. It's really easy to make though!). Basically, they find the definition, synonyms, and antonyms and they use the word in a sentence. They can illustrate the word on the back (or not, if it's too difficult or they choose not to). Then they'll add this to a binder and we'll have "Our Class Dictionary". This way, the students will actually interact with the words, and if someone wants to use a word on the wall but aren't sure what it is, they have a quick way to find out.
We will be getting 8 computers in our room this year, and I think I'll have students fill out their word webs during their time on the computer. (Love, love, love Merriam-Webster's Word Central for students to use!). I'm not sure exactly how that's going to work out yet, and I'll be sure to report back on how all this works out.
4) Finally, we'll add words during writing time. I'm especially thinking about whole class lessons when we talk about "showing not telling" and describing things in their stories. However, it could also be when someone is sharing and the class likes a word they used.
So far that's all I've got-- any other ideas out there? I hope the "Garden of Words" really does become an awesome resource for our room!