Saturday, August 15, 2015

Posting Posters!

Posting Posters!
Back-to-School with the SECRET STORIES® phonics "secrets!"
Download Free SECRET STORIES® Sampling Set!
So you've finally laminated all of your SECRET STORIES® posters and are ready to hang them on your classroom wall...

But which wall? 
In what groupings?? 
Is there any particular order???

Is there a right way to hang the SECRET STORIES® posters?

This is the most frequently asked question I hear during these preschool weeks, especially in my 'back-to-school' in services as teachers are setting up their classrooms. 

And the short answer to all of the above is NO... not really!
But there are some tips and tricks that will ensure that you (and your students!) do get the most "bang-for-the-buck" with regard to easy-access and use throughout the instructional day! 

The 'Must-Do's' are as follows:
1.  Hang them ALL!  
Do not wait to post SECRETS until they are introduced. Having them all up from day one means that learners will have to visually scan through all those they don't know in order to access the ones that they do!  This continuous scanning process builds up valuable visual acuity in learners, so as to be able to quickly recognize these patterns in text, even if they haven't yet learned their "SECRETS!" It also allows prompts learners to drive their own instruction, as they are able to identify the SECRETS they haven't been told! And most importantly, having everything up and ready to go allows for easy access whenever teachable moments arise throughout the instructional day, so as to take advantage of learners' "need-to-know" and teach with the brain-in-mind!  

2. Post the Superhero Vowels™ and Sneaky Y™ above their counterparts in your regular alphabet train/display. 
While it's best to group all of the posters together on just one wall (which I used to call our "Wall of Secrets" in my own classroom), the Superhero Vowel™ and Sneaky Y™ posters should be separated out and hung in-conjunction with their like-letters over your existing alphabet train (or whatever  alphabet display is hung over the main board at the front of your classroom). The purpose is to draw attention to their alternative sounds, as these are the only individual letters that actually have their own secrets!  It also allows for easy, alternative sound references for each when singing The Better Alphabet Song to acquire the individual letters and sounds, via muscle-memory.  And on a side note, be sure that the picture cues on your existing alphabet train are accurate!  This means that the picture cue for the sound of the  letter is NOT an orange or an oyster, as by itself can only make its long or short sound, as in oak or ox. Likewise, for X  should not be depicted with a xylophone or an x-ray, as these are its least likely sounds, as the letter X makes the "ks" sound (as in box) most of the time. All too often, the priority is a "pretty picture" rather than actually depicting a letter's most likely sound!  Additionally, it's also important that for those letters that have alternate sounds, like G and C, to have picture cues for both. For all of these reasons, I created (in digital format) the SECRET STORIES Alphabet Anchor & Alphabet Mini-Mats. These also come in handy for those "lightening-fast" Letter Runs, as the anchors are vertical!

3. Create a visual barrier between the SECRETS™
Unlike the Fun & Funky Posters (which already have a yellow boarder), the letter patterns on the Original SECRET STORIES Posters (as well as the older 'black on red' sets) can easily appear to 'run together' when hung-up on the wall. For this reason, directions are provided in the book for cutting-around each graphic pattern and mounting on a yellow backing (construction paper) so as to provide the needed visual boarder between each graphic letter pattern (i.e. SECRET). Examples of this can be seen in the classroom pictures, below).

4. Try to provide easy visual-access to the posters from wherever learners are likely to need them!
I can tell you from personal experience that this is much easier said, than done (as my past classroom assistants who were tasked with having to move the posters to different locations throughout the year, can attest ;)  Finding a place in the classroom where my students could easily access the posters, when needed, from guided group, to circle/calendar time, to whole group writing at their seats, was quite the challenge! Thus, I kept moving mine around, as my kids were constantly jumping up to run to another location in the room, so as to find the SECRET sound (when reading) or pattern (when writing) that they were looking for.  It drove me crazy when I taught kindergarten and first, as like most early grade teachers, my room was full of 'nooks & crannies,' making easy visual access to ANYTHING virtually impossible, aside from possibly, the ceiling!  (Although now that the book contains the smaller cut-apart cards in color, these are an easy-to-use solution for guided-group access. The Porta-Pics are also a great way to ensure learners have easy access, not only in the classroom, but in 'pull-out'/ resource settings and at home, as well, and a picture of these can also be found in the class pics, below/)

Now aside from these basic tips.... how, where, and in what order you hang the posters remains completely up to you!  This is most often based upon your overall classroom set-up, and where students are most likely to engage in different types of reading and writing activities within your classroom.

Below are some pictures showing different ways to display both versions of the SECRET STORIES® posters in the classroom. And I would love to add more classroom pictures to this collection, so when yours are up, please take some pictures and send them to me at or you can post them directly to the SECRET STORIES Facebook Page!

Following are pictures of both the Fun & Funky Posters
(most of which are shown cut-down and mounted on yellow, as described above).
And for those who are still using the 'black-on-red' version of the posters from oh-so long ago...
now you can purchase the color version of the posters by themselves, and in either format 
(here and here) to use with your existing book and CD!  

And just a quick FYI for those with a spare 'old' poster set...
Your old SECRET STORIES® posters make a great "big book" for students to take home and share with parents on a rotating basis, or even as a special reward! Just re-mount (if cut-down) on large construction paper, re-laminate the new pages, and then staple together (or ring binders) and VOILE...A SECRET STORIES® Big-Book! Plus, it's a super-easy way to educate your parents!!!  
(And speaking of 'great ways to educate parents about the SECRETS'... the Porta-Pics, mentioned above, are the ideal home-reference tool, and may be used with multi-age/grade level siblings!) 
Black is another good background-color option
(and the hint of yellow around the edges really makes them pop!)

Easy-Access ANYWHERE with the Porta-Pics for Individual/Portable Student Reference!

And finally, this cleverly creative door display....


And in case you aren't following me on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, don't forget to download FREE, the SECRET STORIES Guided Reader, In the Fall while it's still in the Free Download Window on TpT
SECRET STORIES® Guided Reader- In the Fall 
And don't forget to also download the Free Science Common Core Science Posters, listed by grade level in this previous post! These were 'made-to-match' the Cutest-Ever Social Studies, Literacy & Math, and Essential Questions poster sets, with SECRET STORIES®-graphic supports!
Free SECRET STORIES Common Core Posters on TpT!

PS  Finally, here's just a little something to make you chuckle...

Funny, but oh-so-TRUE!!!

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