I taught the children how to know if they have learned a word or letter and also if they need more practice on it. On the inside of the "word wallet" there is a smiley face and a sad face. The words that they know and can name quickly without hesitation, can go into the smiley face section; they do not have to practice those as much.
There is also a sad face section (not meant to be negative, but children seem to associate it well with words they don't know). The sad face side holds cards they are unsure about or have to take more than 3 seconds to name. We discussed this in detail. I assisted the children with filling their word wallets. They did really well with filing their words into smiley or sad face. I use the word wallets to test them on their words and it takes two seconds to note which words they know and do not know. Teaching the children how to identify their sad or smiley face words really makes my job a little easier and gives them ownership of their learning. I don't think I've had a class who cares so much!
So the kiddos think they're are soooo cool with their new word wallets! They know they have to take them to word work or writing stations around the room. They also keep them in their "travel bag" that hangs on the back of their chairs. They just pull out their words to practice identifying and writing. They have their table buddies check to see if they know the word.
At the end of the week at small group or individual interview time, we'll pull out the words and see which ones we can move to the smiley side!
Word wallets are also awesome to use with dry erase markers!!!