Sunday, August 19, 2012

Where’s the Focus? An Introduction to Focus Walls

Please welcome my TPT friend,  Martha Moore, as my guest blogger today!

I don’t know about you, but about two weeks after school lets out, I already start thinking about the next school year. I always try to ask myself what I can do to make next year even better than last year. This usually leads to a lot of Googling and Pinning.
In this summer’s internet hunt, I came across the idea of a Focus Wall and fell instantly in love with the logical simplicity of this idea. I decided that this is definitely something I need to do in my classroom.

What is a Focus Wall?
A Focus Wall is a bulletin board that displays the specific topics and skills you are currently focusing on. Focus Walls could be created for any subject, but they are most often used for Language Arts/Literacy. 

What are the benefits of a Focus Wall?
1.               Focus Walls are helpful for students (as well as teachers) because all of the information is organized in one central location. Instead of having to look all around the room, or in a few different spots, students know exactly where to look when they have a question.
2.               It can also be used as a teaching tool as you are reviewing different topics or introducing new topics.
3.               Focus Walls force you to keep your classroom up-to-date as you will be changing out most of the Focus Wall on a weekly basis.
4.               When parents or other visitors come into your classroom, they can quickly find out what skills your students are currently learning by looking at the Focus Wall.
5.               It can help create more independent students. Since there is a centralized area for students to find answers to their questions, students can simply go to the Focus Wall to find answers instead of asking you! For example: if you are focusing on question sentences and a student is wondering if the word “can” is a question word, they could simply walk over to the Focus Wall to find their answer.

What do I put on a Focus Wall?
You can pick and choose what information you think would be useful on your Focus Wall. Here are some possible categories:
1.               Spelling Words and or Phonics for the Week
2.               Sight Words- only the ones you are currently working on
3.               Reading Strategy- you can put up the one you are currently learning about. This might remain up for more than one week.
4.               Comprehension Skill- such as prediction, connection, inference
5.               Word of the Day- would be changed daily
6.               Story of the Week- Title, Author, and Illustrator
7.               Story Genre of the Week- also might remain up for more than one week
8.               Part of Speech- could be a definition and examples
9.               Grammar Focus- could be punctuation, capitalization, types of words, etc.

Here is an example of how I plan to set up my focus wall this year. I picked the information that would be most important and relevant to my first graders. I didn’t want to overwhelm them, so I stuck with only 7 categories.







If you are interested in making a Focus Wall for your classroom this year, check out these awesome Focus Wall Cards in my TpT store!
Busy Buzzy Bee Focus Wall Cards

 Also, here are the reading genre and story element posters I will be using this year as well.
 Spectacular Story Elements Bundle Pack
I hope you can help your students FOCUS this year with a fabulous Focus Wall!

I want to thank Lauren for allowing me to be a guest blogger. It was a ton of fun! Thanks for the opportunity!
Martha

Thank you, Martha, for such an informative and timely post!  Be sure to check out Martha's Facebook page!

Cover Photo

5 comments:

  1. Martha and Lauren,

    I do use a focus wall, but I decided to take it all down and redo it. Thanks for the post. I got some new ideas. I'm using it as a checklist.

    Mona
    First Grade Schoolhouse

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  3. So glad to help Mona! :)

    Martha

    http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Dashboard
    https://www.facebook.com/PrimaryResourcesByMarthaMoore

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  4. Thanks for the quick and interesting blog about focus walls. I've heard of them before, but wasn't entirely sure what they were! Now I'm trying to think of a good place to put a mini-focus-wall in my own room! :)

    Sarah
    Miss A's Kindergarten

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  5. Thats Awesome Sarah! They don't have to be large. I myself have a pretty tiny classroom, so I just mounted a cork board below my white board and my focus wall will go on there.

    Martha

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