Sunday, July 29, 2012

Writing Center Graffiti

It's about time, teachers,... that I admit I am a word collector.  I {heart} words.  I {heart} interesting phrases. Although I do not feel a need for an intervention, I will (gulp) admit that as a child I used to read the dictionary.  

This love affair with words has continued throughout my adult life and I strive to share my passion with my students.  That is what led me to create a graffiti wall in my writing center.  

My graffiti wall is simply a bulletin board dedicated to posts of interesting words and phrases.  Both the students and I can write words on strips of paper and post them on the board.  At the beginning of the year, I demonstrate this by extracting words and phrases from our read-alouds to post on the board.  Before long, my students are pointing out the words they find interesting.  I invite them to copy them and post them on our graffiti wall.  Students who "catch my fever" even bring phrases in from home.

I've forged an alliance with the computer teacher to further spur our graffiti.  When he introduces fonts to my class, he uses some of our graffiti wall words. Using the SmartBoard, he gives our words "life" by applying cool fonts to them.  You should hear the ooo-s and ah-s! Naturally, there is a marked increase in graffiti after that lesson!  

As a corollary to our graffiti wall, I have a "tired words" board.  We put overworked words to bed and list alternatives on the foot board.

This, too, gains momentum over time.  Before the year is over, we have a dormitory of beds with tired words!

Both of these boards have improved my students' writing markedly.  They are easy to accomplish and the payoff is huge.  Try it.  You'll like it.

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