Word Walls: Yay or Nay?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by ayotte04, Jul 5, 2007.

  1. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2007

    I'll be teaching 7th grade Eng/Lang. Arts this year and I'm debating whether to do a Word Wall or not. I have a few concerns: isn't it a pain to have to change them fairly often?

    are kids really going to look at them and refer to their spelling?

    should there be definitions on there as well?

    other comments?
     
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  3. Cyndi23

    Cyndi23 Companion

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    Jul 5, 2007

    I used to do a traditional "word wall" but I found that once the words and such were up, the kids tended to ignore them. Last year I did something different that worked. I don't give "extra credit" often, so this was a biggie. If students found one of our vocabulary words out of the classroom, they could cut it out (or photocopy it if it was in a book they were reading), highlight the word and turn it in to me. I put this on our "found vocabulary" board. The kids could then see the words they had learned in the "real world" and see the context that it was used. Every time a word came to me, the student shared w/ the class where they "found" it and how it was used. Kids could do 5 words a grading period for extra credit!!!

    (oh, and I also let them find it on the internet and copy it out- it's ONLY 5 points- but part of the "grade" was explaining to the class the word and context, so it wasn't THAT easy!)

    Also, I left them up all year and had hundreds of found words on the board at the end of the year. Really neat!
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Jul 5, 2007

    We are required to use them. I have one in my 7th grade LA classroom. They are just words, no definitions. Whenever we encounter a new term--either one I choose or one the kids come up with on their own--I write it on a paper and put it on the word wall. I leave them up all year, but I do rearrange them from time to time and regroup them.

    I do see kids look at it, especially during tests.

    I use a bulletin board for mine. In past years I've used post-it notes or index cards. This year I'm being "creative" and using cutouts of flowers.
     
  5. Lyquidphyre

    Lyquidphyre Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2007

    I planned to use one, but it would be student made papers that used a vocab word that would include a picture and a definition. At least that way I'm not doing all the work.
     
  6. hernandoreading

    hernandoreading Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2007

    I love word walls & always have one in my classroom. It's great for me for a number of reasons:
    Got a few extra minutes? Review vocabulary on the word wall.
    Kids can't say "We never had that word!" It's on the wall.
    I give my students 1 bonus point for each word wall word they use correctly in an assignment. (The bonus is on the assignment the words were used on)

    I've taught middle & high school, & the kids do use the word wall. It's a great visual to remind them of what they've learned.
     
  7. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2007

    IMa,

    so you provide the kids with a list of vocab you're studying for a unit...and tell them if they can find the word in context (say, People Magazine) they can bring it in, share it, and then put it on the wall?
     
  8. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2007

    sorry that question was for Cyndi
     
  9. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2007

    can you explain a little better what this looks like on the board? I dont totally understand if they are writing it in a paper (like an essay) or they're putting in an index card with a picture...?
     
  10. Lyquidphyre

    Lyquidphyre Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2007

    I'll be teaching science, so I don't know if pictures would work as well for you. I found an article in the Science Teacher Magazine about word walls in HS classrooms:
    http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/4/tst06_073_02_58

    but, if you don't want to spend .99 here is the gist:
    Group up students and assign each group a certain word. Provide a manilla piece of paper and have the students on one side write the vocab word really big (in any style), and draw a related picture. Then when you flip the page up from the bottom, have another student write the definition of the word. That way when you hang it on the wall the students can go up to and and flip up the paper to read the definition.
    I thought about doing the bulletin board route, but I like this idea so much better. That way Im not doing any work to put the words up, the kids can admire their work, they feel self-worth and looking up the definition is easy and flipping up a piece of paper on the wall =o)
    Once you are finished with the unit, you could arrange the words in a binder of sorts that is always left out near the word wall.

    I also REALLY like Cyndi's idea, but I'm not sure how well that would work in a science classroom.
     
  11. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 5, 2007

    ahhh very interesting. I like that idea. I'm a HUGE fan of pictures with learning anything. It hits those kids that are more kinesthetic learners (thats what I am). I think I'll try both ideas. But less work for me is a major bonus. Thanks for the tip!
     
  12. Cyndi23

    Cyndi23 Companion

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    Jul 5, 2007

    Yes, we do vocab units often and once we've learned a word, they can find it and bring it in to explain to the class and put on the board. They can bring in words from ANY unit at ANY time.

    Make sense?
     
  13. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Jul 6, 2007

    Cyndi23--I LOVE the idea of "found-word" wall! That is awesome! I may just have to use that idea!
     
  14. ayotte04

    ayotte04 Comrade

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    Jul 6, 2007

    Cyndi yes it does make sense. And may I applaud you on taking a "standard" of learning vocab and introducing it to students as something that applies to them in the real world? Bravo!

    What an awesome idea!
     
  15. Cyndi23

    Cyndi23 Companion

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    Hey! Thanks! :) My AP loved it too! The kids get a kick out of finding words that they have learned in class! Since last year was the first year I did it, I plan on making it a HUGE deal this year :)
     
  16. mrs. dub

    mrs. dub Companion

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    Jul 8, 2007

    I post literary terms on my word wall instead of vocab words. I keep adding whatever literary term(s) we are learning every week...at the end of the year, my bulletin board is full! I also use this bulletin board to review, and also to point out to students how much they've learned.
     

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