Saturday, February 18, 2012

color-coded goodness.

{Update: My color-coded word wall can now be YOURS by clicking here! To learn more about the word wall packet, check out this post!}

Several weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to attend a conference focused on best practices for engaging students with special needs in a general education classroom. I learned a great deal in many of the keynote and breakout sessions, but in my final breakout session, the presenter focused on teaching vocabulary to students with special needs. One of the methods she proposed was an interactive, color-coded word wall. My word wall was interactive, yes, but color-coded? Brilliant! After thinking over this idea a bit, I also decided that such a strategy would benefit not only my students with special needs, but my entire class!

Here is what my word wall has looked like for the past two years...

Now, I'm sure you're all thinking, but Eryn, your word wall already IS color-coded! You have lovely yellow and white notecards that MUST mean something exceedingly important! Ar contrar madam. The truth is, I simply ran out of white notecards when I was making my word cards my first year so started using the yellow ones and have been too lazy busy to change it in the past two years. Ridiculousness at it's best.

On a more positive note, I did like that this board was magnetic, allowing me to simply attach a piece of magnetic tape to each word so that students could remove and replace words they needed with ease. I definitely wanted to maintain the ease of use! By color-coding my word wall, I could also accomplish a couple of my other desires for the space: give the wall a bit more uniformity by typing all of the words rather than handwriting them and adding other high-frequency words to the wall that my kids are constantly asking how to spell!

So, I began typing up all of my words (taking MUCH less time than I anticipated) and then began the process of sorting them into the following categories: red flag words (our district's name for sight words), family words, color words, number words, and feeling/emotion words. Once my words were sorted, I was ready to print them on their appropriate colored papers:

  • red flag words (shocker)
  • feeling/emotion words
  • color words
  • family words
  • number words
I re-applied magnetic tape to each word card, and after posting them back in their appropriate spot, our word wall now looks lovelier than ever!

And some close-ups of the different colors:

My kids consistently come to the word wall to retrieve a word they need help spelling at their desk, so I used cardstock for these cards so that they will hopefully last several years.

Let's evaluate the success of this project:
  • create a more kid-friendly space by making color-coded words to help students locate words they need more quickly {check}
  • maintain magnetic aspect {check}
  • increase uniformity by typing all words {check}
  • utilize supplies I already had to keep cost at $0 {double check}
My kiddos have only had access to their new word wall for one day, but they are already LOVING it! We talked about what each color represented, and they went hog wild utilizing their new tool. I think we can all agree that's the biggest and most important success! {insert cheesy educational sweater vest here to make that statement more complete}

Do y'all have word walls? What do y'alls look like? Do you have another way that you and your kiddos like organizing it?


  1. I love your word wall! Do you have the document for sale some where?

    1. Yes! It's posted in my TPT store here: