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Elementary Word Walls


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Elementary Word Walls

  1. 1. What’s a Word Wall? <ul><li>A systematically organized collection of words displayed in large letters on a wall or bulletin board where children can see them. In most cases, words are organized under a letter of the alphabet. </li></ul><ul><li>Words on the wall serve as visual scaffolds that assist students with independent reading and writing. Color coding and configuration help young readers and writers retrieve words. </li></ul><ul><li>Word walls are built over time with the students. Words are added gradually, usually 3-5 per week. Word walls are meant to be cumulative. As new words are added, familiar words remain for further study. Word walls should contain no more than 110-120 words at one time. Words retired from the wall should be placed in a location accessible to students. </li></ul><ul><li>Word walls are meant to be used actively by both teachers and students. It is not enough to simply have a word wall. Teachers need to directly teach activities with the words on the wall (clapping, chanting the spelling, writing the words on a daily basis, etc.). Engaging with the words makes it more likely that students will internalize the spelling. </li></ul>
  2. 2. Types of Word Walls <ul><li>High-Frequency Word Wall </li></ul><ul><li>Composed of the most commonly occurring words that a reader is likely to encounter while reading, and the words writers need in their writing. Once words are placed on the wall, the expectation should be that </li></ul><ul><li>children read them with automaticity and spell them </li></ul><ul><li>correctly in their writing, using the wall as a resource. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Types of Word Walls
  4. 4. Types of Word Walls <ul><li>Content Area Word Wall </li></ul><ul><li>Used to develop academic language. Provides immediate access to important vocabulary words which may highlight core concepts. Words are often accompanied by an illustration. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Recommendations <ul><li>Mainstream Classrooms </li></ul><ul><li>(All core subjects taught by one teacher) </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers should have a high-frequency word wall composed of words that children need for reading and writing. </li></ul><ul><li>The high-frequency word wall should be large and placed where all children can see the words without getting up. </li></ul><ul><li>The wall should be interactive. Daily activities should be conducted using the words. Once words are on the high-frequency wall, children are accountable for the correct spelling of the word in their writing. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Recommendations <ul><li>Mainstream Classrooms </li></ul><ul><li>(All core subjects taught by one teacher) </li></ul><ul><li>Content words should be organized and placed on an wall chart or in a word bank (not on the word wall) for further study and discussion. </li></ul><ul><li>English Language Learners (ELLs) </li></ul><ul><li>Sheltered or Cluster Classroom Settings </li></ul><ul><li>Word Walls should be accompanied by visuals whenever possible to help associate and reinforce written and spoken words as well as key concepts. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Recommendation <ul><li>Departmentalized Classrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers should have a content area word wall which matches the subject they teach. Words should be organized and placed on the wall which represent the unit or concepts being studied. </li></ul><ul><li>-Reading/Language Arts </li></ul><ul><li>In these classrooms, the word wall should consist of high frequency words used in reading and writing. Additional resources may be the chunking wall and help wall. </li></ul><ul><li>-Math </li></ul><ul><li>In these classrooms, words on the word wall should be organized by strand or alphabetically. Words on the wall should include an illustration of the vocabulary word. </li></ul><ul><li>-Science </li></ul><ul><li>In these classrooms, words on the word wall should be organized by the Science Strands or Big Ideas. Science content vocabulary and process skills vocabulary (hypothesis, predict, analyze, etc.) should be displayed on the word wall. Whenever possible, they should be accompanied with an illustration. </li></ul>