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Writing Word Boxes

I want to thank whom ever it was that posted this idea on either their blog or on Pinterest. If this idea came from you please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Using a writing word box has revolutionized writing times in my classroom. No longer do I have students continually asking how to spell words!

If a student has troubles spelling a word they can look in the word box. All they have to do is pull the card where they should find the word (all cards are in alphabetical order) and look to see if the word is there. If the word they need is not on the card they bring me the card and a pen/pencil and I write the word for them. Chances are another student will soon need the same word and I won’t have to spell it out numerous times or write it on the board only to be erased and not available for future use.

When the student is finished with the card it must go back in the box in alphabetical order. This provides students with opportunities to figure out alphabetical order starting at any point in the alphabet.  Hopefully if they have the “R” card they don’t have to start at “A” to find the correct spot ; )

The supplies you need are: recipe box, index cards, and labels.

I could not find index cards with the alphabet already on them so I bought some sticky labels that I could write on and created my own alphabet index cards. 

Just a warning – – – your students will want to put words in the box immediately as it is a novelty to start with. I had students wanting me to help them spell words such as home and ask. They soon learned that I have them help me spell the words and it is not as easy as just handing me the card and voila there is the word : )

If you haven’t started this already, you will want to soon. Trust me when I say it is a time saver and helps students become more independent writers.


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  1. This is a great idea! We use to use 'word walls', but they took up to much display space. These cards take up only a small space!! Wonderful!

  2. I have been using this for years. It was not my idea; I learned it from my cooperating teacher. I use an old pocket chart that was for keeping track of behavior. The kids love it and aren't afraid of misspelling anything anymore and don't hound me by asking how to spell the same words over and over.

    1. I do! I cut up an alphabet line (the kind that comes on the roll) and stuck those on each pocket and placed an index card in each one. When the index card is full the kids know to get a new one from my basket.

  3. Instead of putting the cards in a box I had a cabinet door that I attached library card pockets to and put the cards in those. I found it to be easier for the kids to reach around and take the card they needed if someone else was still looking for their card. Anyway, I found your blog through the giveaway, I am really hoping I win!!
    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

  4. You've just solved one of my biggest time wasters during Writer's Workshop! In addition I stress to students that ideas, not spelling, is more the focus when drafting so they don't lose time and ideas. Thanks for the box idea!

  5. Love the idea, and I am planning to use it in my bilingual classroom!!! Thanks for sharing the idea on pinterest!!!

  6. I am entering a giveaway from Tales From a 4th (and 5th) Grade who suggested I look and comment on you blog. I am so happy I did because I LOVE this idea!
    Thank you for sharing!!

    1. This is a story in the 4th grade Harcourt series, but this story is perfect for getting them started in "collecting" words.

  7. Love it! I may try this out! I don't have a word wall because they take up too much space and this is perfect alternative!

  8. This is super and will help my kiddos greatly!! They get so caught up in spelling everything correctly – even during "independent" work time – that I can't do what I need to with my small groups because I get interrupted to spell words! THANK YOU!

  9. Thank you for posting this. I am teaching 4th grade writing and we are having trouble with some harder words, but they are great descriptions words. I am making one box for each table to use and add to. Very excited to see how it helps them 🙂

  10. Thank you so much for this wonderful idea. We homeschool and it has helped my boys so much. They are definitely becoming more independent writers.

  11. This is great! I create individual word banks for my students each year, BUT this will save me tons of paper! Plus, it will free up one folder for me to use another way! Thanks for sharing!

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