Focusing on my Focus Wall

by becky on September 11, 2011

Hi Again! I thought I’d finally post about my Focus Wall. I have had a TON of questions and compliments on how I incorporate my Focus Wall in my classroom. I first started using a Focus Wall in my classroom 4 years ago after I saw several websites that incorporated them with their reading curriculum. This was where my inspiration came from.

I apologize I do NOT remember who this belongs to. I just took almost an hour trying to google it and have come up empty. If it’s yours, P.S. You ROCK!

I loved this board, but I was overwhelmed by all the categories. Instead, I created this:

As you can see, I have the following categories: Spelling, Story Title, Genre, Strategy, Skill, and Vocabulary. The right side of the board housed my Guided Reading Groups, Guided Reading Schedule, and my Guided Math Schedule. When other teachers ask me how much work it is to keep up with it, I tell them honestly, it’s not the upkeep that was a lot of work, it was the creation of all the posters.  I store all the posters in a container like this:

Sterilite 3 Drawer Mini Organizer, Set of 6

In one drawer, I keep all my Skills/Strategies posters (about 19 in all). In another, all the Story Titles and Genre Posters, and in the last drawer, all the spelling lists (30 lists and the review poster). It works so well, that it honestly takes me about 5 minutes to change the board per week.

What I LOVE about my Focus Wall is that is an ever changing resource for my students. Because it’s different each week, the class doesn’t zone it out. I refer to it during whole group and guided reading instruction, and I like how it’s student friendly in ways they can refer to the posters when they need clarification.

A lot of teachers ask me where I found all the posters. The truth is I made the majority of them myself. My school district has adopted McGraw-Hill Treasures series. Had we adopted Reading Street, I could have used practically everything from this site. But, alas it wasn’t in the cards for me. I was resourceful and used as many online sources as I could find. My #1 suggestion is if you want to create your own Focus Wall DO NOT attempt to do all the posters at the same time. You will go crazy. I created them unit by unit and it was very manageable.

If you are interested, I found the majority of my Genre Posters from (of course!) Beth Newingham. Click {here} to download her AWESOME posters.

What I did discover however, is that Beth posters didn’t include all the genres included in Treasures. So, I made these in order to have every genre covered accurately. Click on the picture below to download (for free) my copies of Legend, Narrative Nonfiction, Photo Essay, and Play posters. Enjoy!

Here are some updated pictures of this year’s Focus Wall. I decided to combine both my Reading and Writing Focus walls together because they go hand in hand. Once this puppy was FINALLY finished, I loved it, but, stapling every stinkin letter straight made me kind of batty. But, it’s all in the details, right?

 A view of the ENTIRE Focus Wall

A close-up of the Reading Section

A close-up of the Writing Section

If you are interested in having a set of your own Skills/Strategies posters, created by Moi then click on the picture below and purchase a copy from my TpT store. 🙂

And, finally, if you are a 4th grade teacher who uses Treasures, then look no further for all 30 Spelling Lists found here:

I hope I was able to answer everyone’s questions and if not, leave a comment or send me an email and I will try to help you out. If I inspired you to create your own classroom Focus Wall, I’d LOVE to see your pictures and hear how you like/dislike using it. 🙂

Til next time…

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs. D September 11, 2011 at 11:39 pm

I’ve chosen you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Stop by my blog to check it out!

http://thesilverlininginteaching.blogspot.com/

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becky September 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Thank you so much! I’m honored!!! 🙂

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CM October 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm

I loved your images of your focus wall. I am at a school that uses blackboard configuration and needed to create a bulletin board to focus on objectives, vocab, etc. Your pictures definitely helped to guide my own bulletin board in a creative and colorful way! Thanks for your (and your source’s) brilliance!

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Think, Wonder, & Teach February 13, 2012 at 3:01 am

Love your focus wall. It is so great!

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M February 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm

My district uses Treasures as well so I’m very excited to have stumbled across your site today. Do you have the grammar posters from your writing section available for purchase?

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Amber Unger March 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm

I am switching to 3rd grade next year and I am learning about Focus Walls – had never heard of them before, as a Kindergarten teacher. Thanks for the information and for the useful freebie! 🙂

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Bea Samples May 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

On your focus wall, where did you find your “writing pencil”. I would love to have one for my wall.
Thanks,
Bea Samples

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Becky May 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Hi Bea, I actually sell a few colors in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. You can find them here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Dots-n-spots
Enjoy!
Becky 🙂

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Gloria July 1, 2012 at 5:13 am

Hi Becky, I love your ideas on focus wall! I am going to use some the wonderful ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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Donna Bengle July 13, 2012 at 12:03 am

I just bought your TPT spelling and strategy posters for Treasures then clicked on a link from a comment left by a follower and realized you are probably using Treasures but not the California version. Is that correct? If it is correct is there a way I can get the spelling backgrounds in blank pdfs so I can type the Calif lists? I can still use the strategies as they are going to be the same but maybe in a different order.

Thanks.

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Jessica Richardson September 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Hi Becky…this stuff is awesome and has been a life saver for me! I purchased your items from TPT, but I don’t seem to have all of the Grammar stuff. Is there somewhere else that I can download the rest? Thanks! -Jess

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Jennifer February 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Did you make the grammar posters? If so, do you have them for sale on TPT? I looked, but did not see them.

Thanks!

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Voronezh May 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Definitely take joy in what you’ve got here, thrilled you’re getting it online and what you have to say.
Your article was excellently balanced between amusing
and intelligent. I am excited to trade theory and expertise with you.

Your website is certainly one of the better blogs online right now.

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Vicki March 9, 2014 at 8:49 am

How do you hang the sheets up? Are. Those clear page protectors? Did you laminate every sheet? I am second grade and have used sentence strips but looking for an easier and neater way

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Chase August 21, 2015 at 5:28 am

The focus wall that you referenced is by Kathy Langston and below is the link to her Shutterfly page. I was just on her blog before I found yours and saw the wall there so I thought you might like to know.
https://mrslangstonsfirstgrade.shutterfly.com/teacherresources

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Stacy Pineiros September 9, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Hi,
I love your Focus Wall stuff and believe we are using some of it. What I am looking for is a print out of the names of all of the stories from Wonders both from the Anthology and the smaller literature book.
Do you have such a thing or something on TPT that I can buy?
Thank you,
Stacy

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