How to Use a Word Wall
One of the most helpful activities you can do with your students this month is to make a Word Wall. Although this is a popular activity with young students, it can be easily adapted to the needs of older ones. First, determine the terms in a unit of study that you want your students to know. Then, display them in a large format on the wall, on the board, in personal dictionaries, or in some other conspicious way.
Word Walls are successful activities because students tend to learn what you call their attention to. If you post the terms of a unit that they are studying in a conspicuous place, they will then learn them almost passively. Word Walls are successful because they focus attention, give ample opportunities for review, and are pleasant for students to use.
There are many ways to create a Word Wall:
• Post the terms you want students to know
• Post the terms and their definitions
• Use bright colors to help students retain meanings
• Post sight words that you want students to learn
• Post photos, drawings, or other illustrations next to the words
• Use the words in a phrase or sentence
• Use 3-D objects to help students recall the words
• Post frequently used words
• Post frequently misused words
• Post variations of words such as politics, politician, political
• Post root words and affixes
• Post words associated with an upcoming unit of study to generate interest
• Post words associated with your discipline
• Post words associated with standardized tests (imply, infer…)
• Post words that students themselves suggest
Keep in mind that while some words may be obvious to you, they may be ones that your students do now know. A Word Wall is a great way to bring these words to your students’ attention.