Saturday, October 18, 2008

Word Walls

I think the general idea of a word wall is a great idea, especially for early elementary classrooms where there is a variety of levels of emergent literacy. In fact, the grade level doesn't really matter because a word wall can be adapted to any educaional level. Word walls also have the ability to be extremely creative and to allow the students to help create the word wall itself. As a class, you can decide what kind of theme you want the word wall to have. What color do you want the background, the border, the background of the words, and the words themselves. Word walls can be used to gain general vocabulary or can be applied to specific books or units. You can create a 'name' word wall at the beginning of the year for a number of great reasons such as simply learning everyone's name in the classroom, to choose the helper of the day, disciplinary measures, etc. I definitely want to have a word wall in my classroom, and a name wall as well. I really want to come up with some creative ideas for a word wall that goes along with an unit or a book. I think that a word wall would be extremely helpful for helping students learn words from particular periods of time, cultures, and specific jargon (i.e. scientific terms). I found a website that is made by a retired California teacher who taught for thirty-two years. She has all kinds of lesson plans and ideas on her website to help teachers. She has a great link to word wall ideas with weeklt word wall ideas and a main word wall and a secondary (smaller) word wall. The idea is to put the general vocabulary building words on the main word wall and have words dealing with a certain book or subject on the secondary word wall. Also, the Teacher's Network website has explicit directions for their version of a word wall. The website gives you step-by-step directions on how to create a word wall (including specific ideas), ideas for practicing the words on the word wall, teacher guided clues to help students find a specific word, and ways to be a 'mind reader.'

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