I've got several projects to work on this summer, and yesterday I took a look at the words I put on my word wall. It seems that each year, I change how I choose them and use them. For the last few years, I've been using the first 100 words on the Fry list of the most used words in writing. The first year I used them, I organized them from shortest to longest, and introduced five words each week. Last year my team and I decided to introduce the words in their order on the Fry list, most commonly used first, still in groups of five. We wanted all four of our classrooms have the same five words each week, as our classrooms often share twins.
Another issue, what to call these words? We've been calling them NO EXCUSE words, with the thought that there is no excuse for spelling them wrong in your writing after learning them. But, I know some teachers call them SNAP words, because you should be able to write them in a snap. I think calling them No Excuse words is a bit negative, kind of harsh. Snap words sounds positive and upbeat, so I'm going to ask my team if they'd be willing to rename them.
This year I'd like to go back to introducing the words from short to long, so that in the fall the kids are working on two-letter words with similar vowels, like in, it, if, is, instead of the, of, and, which are in the first five on the Fry list. I have a set of word wall words that I bought as a set, and I keep them in an alphabetical accordion file. I hate looking through all the words in each section for the five words for the week. This year I'm going to buy a stack of 100 neon 3x5 cards and write them (with a wide sharpie marker in black) each week. It will be SO MUCH FASTER! And since my word wall will be backed with black fabric, I think the words will really pop.
So I've rearranged the 100 words and made some word changes. I took off the following words: number, water, oil, words, into, can, called. I added: me, should, why, house, friend, second, teacher, bus.
Click here to view this google doc.