Ahhhh....love/hate relationship. We are told to have them in our rooms, but if they are not set up correctly and the students aren't taught how to use them, it's wasted space.
Why use one?
Most, if not all students are visual learners. Yes, they also might be kinesthetic, verbal etc., but we all learn best by seeing and doing. This goes the same for words.
Seeing words on the wall helps students become excited about words and understand that words are important and can be used over and over again. The word wall helps them learn the names of letters, ABC order, and letter-sound relationships. It provides extra exposure and challenge for students who are at many different skill and interest levels.
In lower-grade levels, word walls display words students meet in their reading and other frequently used words. As students move up the grades, word walls begin to take on other forms and purposes.
The key to using one---->referring to them often so students get in the habit of using the wall in their work/assignments.
Every year I try out a new way to set up a word wall. With limited/varying space inside of our classrooms, word walls will all look very different.
I loved the use a personal word wall/dictionary for each student.... especially in the younger grades.
Colour coding words is also beneficial if you don't have the space. For example, I would make all "math related" words blue, and all "science related" words green etc.
If you have a math corner or a specific subject boards in your room, this is a neat idea. Once you have completed a math strand, for instance, you can take the word down and add it to your math corner/board for future reference and/or use.
Really lacking room? Haha! How about this idea?
In addition to my word wall, I also do this (see below). I will often take words down off of the word wall once they are mastered and add them a ring that students can take to their desks to use.
This idea is great for Kindergarten. Every word has a picture next to it, so that if the student can't read the word, they can at least recognize the picture.
Whatever layout you choose, the word wall can either be a static/inanimate object or it can come alive.
* Word walls should be student generated
*New information should be added on a regular -- even daily basis.
Content-area material from the curriculum rather than randomly selected words should be utilized.
*Word walls should be referred to often so students come to understand and see their relevance.
*Word walls are a group effort; allow students to make suggestions for content.
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Looking for some word work activities?
Have a great week! :)