TESOL 2011: NCTM/TESOL Colloquium English Language Learners Achieving Academic Success in Mathematics Using Word Walls in the Math Content Class To Support Language Acquisition: Word Walls And What To Do With Them Linda GerenaBuilding vocabulary must not consist of endless lists of words that are not meaningful to thelearner (Allen, 2007, 1999). Word walls should focus on new words as they are taught. Wordsmust be useful and frequently used in subject areas. Teachers and students should discuss newwords as they are displayed. It is important not to crowd word walls and to “retire” words whenthey are no longer needed. It is equally important to use the word wall for instruction andpractice. Some activities that can be used with word walls are:• Mystery Word In this activity the teacher will introduce a new word by writing the letters in a scrambled order. Students try to unscramble the word. Teacher can give clues, if needed, either about the word’s meaning or about how it is spelled.• Visiting Word This is a new or ‘visiting’ word to an existing word wall Students hunt for the new word and then use the new word in the day’s activities.• Missing Word One of the words is removed from the wall and the remaining words may be rearranged. Students scan the word wall and figure out which word is missing. Teacher may offer clues to identify the missing word.• Word Wall Bingo Students make their own BINGO Boards using the word wall vocabulary. Teacher reads definitions and students cross out the corresponding word on their grid. Variation: use synonyms or antonyms for word wall words. The game is played as corners, rows, diagonal, or full card to win.• Around The World Students are all standing. The first student states a definition. If the next student can identify it, that student (the one who identifies it) remains standing and gives a new definition is given. Each time a student misses, he/she sits down and the next student tries to identify the term. Keep going until only one student is standing• Who Am I Teacher or student can provide a definition of one of the word wall words. Students decide which word is being defined and adds it to a list. After ten words (or any number you feel is appropriate) , the correct answers are given and groups or individuals check their list. The ones with the most correct answers win.• Mind Reader Students are given up to 5 clues about a word on the wall. Clues should become increasing narrow.• Word Pictures Word wall vocabulary is illustrated and other teams or students must identity the word.• Word Cards Partner Game Pairs of students take turns choosing a word card and offering a definition for the word.• Word Ad Each group creates a radio or television ad to ‘sell’ one of the words from the word wall and present it to the class.
• Word Sorts: Ask students to sort word wall words according to specific criteria• Crossword Puzzles/Word search Use on line templates to create crossword puzzles and word searchers• Maximum Words in a Story Students write a story involving as many words from the word wall as possible within a given time frame. Students underline all the word wall words they used and share their stories in small groups. Each group decides which to read aloud, e.g., the story with the most words or the most creative story• Words within Words Students make a list of as many words as possible by reorganizing some of the letters of a word wall word.• Poetry Acrostic. Students write a poem using as many words as possible from the word wall. As a variation, students choose just one word from the word wall and write a poem about that word (Haiku/Limerick, etc).• Rankings Students individually list the word wall words, in writing, from most difficult to easiest for them to understand• Visual Representation Students choose one word from the word wall to convey its meaning visually.• Rhyme Time Students select three to five word wall words with which they can rhyme words. Students list as many rhymes for each word as they can in a given time limit.• Metaphors and Similes Students practice their abstract thinking skills by choosing five words from the word wall and creating either a simile or metaphor for each of the words.References:Allen, J. (1999). Words, Words, Words. Portland: Stenhouse Publishers.Allen, J. (2007). Inside words: Tools for teaching academic vocabulary, grades 4-12. Portland, ME. StenhouseBeers, K. (2003). When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do. Portsmouth: Heinemann.Callella, T. (2001). Making Your Word Wall More Interactive. Huntington Beach: Creative Teaching Press.Interactive Word Wall: Retrieved January 4, 2011. http://www.teachnet.com/lesson/langarts/wordwall062599.htmlPalm Beach County Literacy Project. Vocabulary Acquisition, Word Building Strategies and Interactive Word Walls. Retrieved January 4, 2011.Word Walls. Retrieved January 4, 2011. http://www.theteacherscorner.net/writing/wordwall/index.htmWorking with Words. Retrieved January 4, 2011. http://www.wfu.edu/~cunningh/fourblocks/block4.html