Throwback Thursday: Focus Walls

I'm double posting it for Throwback Thursday.  Today I'm featuring a post from June 2011 on my personal focus walls.  You can link to other Throwback Post at The First Grade Parade by clicking the button below.

As of now, I only have a complete set of focus walls created for 2nd grade.  I have each individual focus wall linked in various post here on my blog and the entire bundled set for 2nd in my store as a freebie.

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Ya'll, I've been keeping myself busy the first few days out of school.  Why do we feel the need to jump back into the game without a days break?  Several years ago, my county adopted Houghton Mifflin Reading.  When I started Mrs. Saoud's Blog in 2009, I featured many resources to use on bulletin board focus wall.  The only problem is the lack of space made available after all other requirements are posted, so I reworked my system.  I decided to create a set of posters that allows the focus wall to be private and personal.

At times the kids become a little distracting when getting in and out of their seat.  To create independence, I encourage an open classroom allowing kids to use any resource or supply they need without asking.  Okay, this is given within reason.  There are a few, people I know we all have them, that will try to evade their work.  For testing purposes, I have an office in each desk.  After thinking it out, I decided to incorporate a personal focus wall in their office.  This partition is commonly used for testing.  I do LOVE collaborative groups but there are times when reading is private to allow personal reflection.  Other times, the kids are moving about in pairs on the floor and need a system that will allow travel without lots of tools.

To make this work for me, I cut off the edge of a pocket protector since the whole punched side for notebooks will not be needed.  I stapled the sheet protector to the inside of the office.

Each week the kids will rotate out a new focus wall.  The old wall will go in their resource binder (link embedded) as a reference.  I love having the binder available with familiar stories that align with the strategies.  When the strategy cycles through a second time, the kids can check their reference sheets and pull this familiar story to draw on their schema.

This will become a collection of words and strategies for the kids to use as reference at workstations, independent reading, or writing.  Here is a preview of the first focus sheet created. 

Theme 1 Dragon Gets By

I've just completed a set of Comprehension Skills and Strategies Posters (link embedded) for my classroom walls.  The poster images are the same as the images in our personal focus walls to ensure consistency and allow students to make connections to our mini lessons.

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To be honest,  I began creating the focus walls for Kindergarten but didn't find a need for the "personal" factor in Kindergarten.  It's a lot for both the kids and I to manage when we are building independence. At some point mid year I stopped creating the tool.  Towards the end of the year, I left school with chatter of new curriculum resources.  Say what?  I've had lots of requests to complete the K focus wall (goodness, I had no idea how many people were using them) but didn't want to spend my summer preparing a tool that wouldn't be used in my classroom the following year.  I know there are some people who can understand our time in the summer is limited and valuable.  Now that we are halfway through the summer, the chatter of new resources has gone away completely.  When I return from  vacation, I will be working on completing the kindergarten focus walls.  Since I'm looping, I will create a 1st grade set too! I will need some time.  I'm also working on two sub tubs, back to school activities, and setting up my classroom.  


Nancy Wilson said...

Hi Cheryl! I was such a pleasure to meet you Tuesday!!! :-)
I am here to ask a techy question...I want to do throwback thursday, but I don't know how to embed the old post into the new one :-( I tried cut & paste but it doesn't work...I have videos in my old post too...HELP please! Can you let me know or refer me to a post/tutorial that can help?
The Apple Basket Teacher

Erica Bohrer said...

Edit your old post and switch over to HTML code. Copy and paste the code rather than your words. This will transfer your entire post.