Posted on 04/08/2010 at 03:39 PM by Global Reach
Word walls are a simple strategy which teachers can implement into their classrooms. This is not simply putting up words on the wall for a visual, rather doing a word wall is incorporating activities to go along with it.
Words will be anchored in students' long-term memory while they use word walls because they are seeing and working with the words every day. Students will also start to make connections between words they are learning about. The use of the words to build knowledge in their conversations and activities will start to become apparent. The word wall will give a visual tool to evaluate the skills taught and the content that has been studied. The power of word walls will be evident when the words are discussed and analyzed before they are posted in the room.
It is pertinent for teachers to be selective on the choice of words used on the word wall. These should only be words that will be essential in the core concepts and skills. Using too many words will only overwhelm the students and the focus will be lost. Words can also be added gradually as they are learned; some have suggested adding five words a week. Teachers need to allow the students to practice writing and using the words in various ways to become familiar with their meaning. Review activities can be initiated using the words as a class or individually. This can lead to students automatically recalling the words and their meaning.
The use of word walls can be used in every subject as well as every grade level. A teacher can laminate the words and use them each year to help students with key terms. I have found it also helps with spelling and with assessments. Students may be stumped during an assessment and look at the word wall for that additional help.
There is no right or wrong way to "do" a word wall, rather just doing it is the key to success!
Your Partner in Education,