Word Walls and Crystal Balls

12 June 2012
Word Walls and Crystal Balls ... can you tell we were discussing rhyme schemes in poetry today?  Anyway, this post has nothing to do with poetry ... just wanted to intrigue you with the title.  Did it work?

photo of Upper Grade Word Wall @ Runde's Room
Lately I've been reflecting on my word wall.  I LOVE my word wall, and LOVE how it looks in my room, but I don't think I've done enough to make my students interact with it this year.  They're not using it as much as they should ... and I'm seeing spelling mistakes that they just shouldn't be making.  So I decided to do something about it.  Given my students obsession with my cootie catchers, I decided to make a package of cootie catchers designed to get them to interact and USE the word wall.  I'm going to hang an envelope on the word wall, and stuff it full of cootie catchers.  Every few weeks, when we have a few extra minutes, I'm going to get my students to pair up and grab a cootie catcher (I have 7 different ones in the package) to practice and actually USE the wall.  Hopefully, those little mistakes that drive me crazy will start to vanish.

You can click on the picture below to take a peek at my newest set of cootie catchers.
photo of Word Wall Cootie Catchers @ Runde's Room

OK - so on to the crystal ball.  This is a product I've been working on for a while - all the page linking and animating took quite a bit to complete.  I wanted a SMARTboard lesson with a little WOW factor for the students, and I wanted it to be self-correcting so I could use it as a language center next year (already thinking about my working with words centers for the Daily 5 next year) if I was conferring with another student.  I made this lesson to practice synonyms and homonyms (getting a little extra vocabulary in, too).  You can click on the image to the right to preview it at my TPT store, but you can also take a peek at how it works on the video below (I've just recently starting using the movie capture tool with the notebook software).  I'd like to make more language centers with this same crystal ball template - I'm thinking parts of speech may be next ... what do you think?  Any ideas?

Happy Tuesday!!!


  1. One day I will have a smartboard and I will be able to use all your amazing things. :) Great idea to make the cootie catchers for the word wall. That was my problem with a traditional word wall too...the kids never used it! The cootie catcher is a great way to get them to interact.
    Teaching in Room 6

  2. So I love the crystal ball idea... you could really use it for anything. I would love to see one for parts of speech. I will actually be a first year teacher this fall teaching 6th grade. I love your blog!! I have been following you for a few months now and absolutely love your ideas. I actually found your blog while looking for word wall ideas for upper ele. grades & found your post. I am planning on using your concept using popcorn... "Words that keep popping up!" Thanks for ALL your ideas...keep them coming... I will need all the help I can get because my district is so small... I will be the only 6th grade teacher :)
    ~ Mary

  3. SOOOOOOOOOO jealous of those with smart boards!!!


    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class
    PS I'm having a linky and would love for you to join!

  4. Loving the cootie catcher, I have a gift certificate for TPT and know I know one thing I will buy. Thanks.

  5. I love how your word wall has that section of commonly misspelled words. I would love to find the room to add something like that to my word wall.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  6. Love the word wall cootie catchers and the crystal ball smartboard lesson. I need to start using my Promethean board more as an indepedent center.


  7. Hey jen tried to play your video on the crystal ball but had trouble hearing the sound????, i made my word wall more interactive by putting them on rings so the students can take them to their desk and put them in their personal word wall folder, this year i found magnetic word wall tiles which i will place on a magnetic board so it frees up space on my bulletin board. Happy report cards! I can hardly wait to finish. mary

  8. I never thought of using the smart board as a center. How many people do you uusually have at it? It seems strange that you are still in school, but I know in August you'll be lounging by the pool and I will be back in the classroom!