Making Word Walls Work in the Classroom
Make Them Memorable- Use text as the context for
identifying key words to place on your word wall.
Remember, if the key words are any old words, they are
likely to be treated as such.
PD360 Video – Expanding Vocabulary:
Make Them Useful - The more you use the word wall Look at ways to expand student vocabulary
the more your students will do the same. Demonstrations
and give your students a lifetime skill. “The
and think-alouds take only a few seconds, if done
frequently, will give you more bang for your buck. It is expansion and elaboration of vocabularies is
important that you show students how to use the word something that extends across a lifetime.”
wall. Putting the words up at the beginning of the year [Kamil & Hiebert, 2005 as quoted in
and telling kids to use it without showing them how is “Teaching Basic and Advanced Vocabulary” by
setting your word wall up for failure.
Make Them Practical- Incorporate word walls into
your daily instruction. By incorporating the word wall in PD360 video 1402 E-9: Expanding
daily instruction, students will gain automaticity in using Vocabulary, Elementary (12 min 47 sec)
this classroom reference.
PD 360 video 1402 S-9: Expanding
Make Them Hands-On- Make your wall interactive by Vocabulary, Secondary (12 min 24 sec)
using Velcro or sticky tack. This allows students to go to
the wall, remove a word, use it at their desk, and return
it. Post words WITH your students to make it more
meaningful for them.
Make Them Space Efficient- If you lack space, use
three-panel display boards. These freestanding materials
don't require any wall space, and can be moved around
the room and placed on a table for easy visibility.
Into the Book
Make Them Your Way- There is no right or wrong
way to build a word wall. What to build, what words to This is a great website for K-5 teachers. It is a reading
add, and when to add them, all depend on what your comprehension resource. It is fun and helps teach
students need. Organize your walls in a way that is children reading strategies through songs/lyrics. It
practical to students. Be creative! focuses on the eight research-based reading strategies:
using prior knowledge, making connections,
Make Them Attractive – Word walls should be neat questioning, visualizing, inferring, summarizing,
and legible for students. The words should be easily seen evaluating and synthesizing. I have used it in trainings
from any angle in your classroom. Type the words and to facilitate a sense of “passion” and enthusiasm to
put them on colored paper, if possible. sometimes teaching reading strategies which may not
always be fun for kids. It also includes “behind the
Useful Word Wall Links
lessons” which provides lesson plans, video clips, ideas
http://forpd.ucf.edu/strategies/stratwordwalls.html and links as well as graphic organizers to help
http://www.curriculum.org/tcf/teachers/projects/wordwalls.s implement the “gradual release of responsibility” to
http://www.edhelper.com - Ebru Bilgili
Into the Book website: http://reading.ecb.org/
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