Personal Focus Wall

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.


Oceans of First Grade Fun said...

I love the mini focus walls! I'm going to try those this year.
Oceans of First Grade Fun

Jess said...

I like the mini focus wall. I'm going to make a modified one for first grade. I use all the same curriculum as you. Do you teach in Florida?

Unknown said...

I wish I had that much space to sort my supplies. =) I like your idea about the personal focus wall. I used to have different elements for my K's in their (letters, numbers, sight words) but it was a little distracting. Maybe just the focus elements would work...Thanks for the idea!

Lory said...

Great idea and I love the organization. My district uses Houghton Mifflin also... Thanks for the great ideas!
Lory's Page

Kristen said...

wooo girl! Your organization is totally enviable! You'll feel so great coming back next year (you are going to leave for the summer, right???) ;)

Mrs. Saoud said...

My husband thinks I'm nuts for going in today. I haven't remained in the same room for 6 years. I'm so excited to organize and not pack up!! :)

I'm in Florida which is the real reason that I'm still in the classroom. 100 degrees and surrounded by fires. The city is blanketed in smoke with high advisories to remain indoors.

Dijobaker said...

sigh...I would be organizing in my room, but they won't let us back in until August 6th. I teach from the Houghton Mifflin series too, and your focus wall looks just like my "my space" folders. I laminate mine so that they last a couple of years. Sorry to hear about the fires. They have them out west too. It seems like every time I turn on the TV, there is bad news!

A MilShelb Mom said...

Wow! That looks great! I love the idea of a personal focus wall. Great idea!

Kristen said...

oh I'm so sorry to hear that Cheryl! Congrats on staying in the same room...I've moved a lot too so I totally understand! Take care and happy organizing :)

Ms. Wold said...

Very nice, and I noticed some of my favorite "alphafriends" - my district uses HM, but I teach K. This is such a great idea, I'll have to remember it if I ever teach 1st or 2nd grade.

Miss W

Miss W Teaches

Gracehopper said...

Whoa! You just blew my mind with the Focus Walls. *head slap*- Using page protectors so you can change the materials out! I have Mini Offices that are similar, but I am soooo revising them to make them more like yours!
Bravo Zulu, PG!


Bekah said...

I wish that I could find these mini focus walls for 3rd grade HM reading! I am going to try to make them myself along with the office to put them into. Thanks for the great idea!

Michele said...

I like how you incorporated it in their mini offices. I might have to borrow that idea!