Focus Wall and a Correction

It was back to the daily grind this morning... and that alarm clock was mighty angry in the a.m.!  But it was great to see all those smiling faces walk through the door.  I was impressed with how well my kiddos got right back into routine.  (Maybe they were still half-asleep?!?)

So now that we're back, it's time to get FOCUSED!

I've been meaning to post for a while about my Focus Wall.  I had seen various versions of these in August when other bloggers posted their classroom set-up.  (Not sure where some of these pics came from on Pinterest... you know how Pinterest can often lead you to a dead-end link, sorry.)

I thought most of the Focus Walls looked nice, but I wasn't sure  if I could spare the wall space and it seemed as though there was a lot of "upkeep" to them.  

So in September the front of my classroom held my CAFE wall.

As I got into the school year, I found that the CAFE wall took up a lot of valuable space... and we weren't really using it that effectively.  We sometimes referred to it, but it seemed more decorative than useful.  And then I felt that having such a large reading board left out our other learning.  So in November, I put my CAFE wall in the back of the room (a little sad, but necessary).

We still use the CAFE board, but it now resides with my Math and Writing boards.  It feels more balanced to have those subjects together.

... and I put the Focus Wall up in the front.  

I keep it REALLY SIMPLE.  Most of the time I simply write what we're learning in each area and we come up with examples to support our learning.  Having my Focus Wall on my white board makes adding/changing it so easy.  Sometimes I put up vocabulary cards or mini-posters if they go along with the skill we are learning.  (Sorry the pic is so hard to see!)

The best part is the kids refer to it ALL DAY LONG!  They love adding our skills up on Monday, and they ask to add more examples throughout the week.  For example, in one of the pictures you can see that we were studying the short /o/ in Word Work.  During reading group, the kids would point out short /o/ words and we would add more examples to the board.

My Focus Wall helps ME to stay focused too.  I find myself referring to it often, and it reminds me to explicitly state what we are learning and why.

If you are looking for some subject headers for your Focus Wall, just click on the link below.

Click HERE to Download

On another note, I posted my Place Value Mats yesterday.  I went to print them at school and they printed out all fuzzy, BOO HISS!  Something happened with the resolution and the document got all funky.  So, if you already saved them, go back to TPT and download them again.  SO SORRY!

Click HERE to Download this FREEBIE


  1. LOVE the idea of a focus wall. Since your kids refer back to it so much, what do you do with the info you have on it once you move onto a new skill? Do you make it into an anchor chart and hang it somewhere else? I would think it would be important to keep it up if they refer back to it!

    For the Love of First Grade

  2. Is it bad to say I just wipe the board clean and start fresh the next week?!! Most of our skills we circle back to. I think since November we have had "I can retell the beginning, middle, and end of the story" at least three times in Reading.
    I don't have much room for anchor charts, with one wall of windows, one wall of (already full) white board, and one wall with the bathroom/door/cubbies. And we can't post anything within 2 feet of the ceiling, which doesn't allow much room over any boards. Very frustrating!
    I have the small bulletin boards in the back of the room, and that's where I put up my CAFE skills, math anchor charts (room for 2 max) and writing anchor charts (room for 3 max).
    That's probably not very helpful for you... but it's all I got, haha!!
    Colleen ;-)


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