i hate word walls

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by kassrose, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. kassrose

    kassrose Companion

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    Jul 29, 2010

    I hate word walls. I think they look messy and my students never use them. Can someone please tell me the benefits and how you keep yours from being messy looking?
     
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  3. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I am not most fond of them, either.

    I think I am going to come up with a special new way to display them, but I don't know how yet. Mine never looks terribly messy, but it's because I kind of keep mine stagnant. I think I may put a dry-erase board by mine displaying our class' "newest" words of study.

    Like:
    Make sure you review the meanings of these words:
    -
    -
    -
     
  4. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    Benefit: Kids are held accountable for words on the word wall. They must use the wall as a resource.
    I take down words that are no longer needed. They should still be in their personal word walls so there will always be a reference.
    If you ignore the word wall, the kids will too. If you are always referencing it, maybe your kids will too.

    I certainly don't like how one of my whiteboards is not available due to the word wall.

    I teach 1st though....
     
  5. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I don't like word walls either. One of the things I'd love to try is a prefix and suffix wall instead. When kids are stuck on a word, have them break it down into what they think might be the prefix, base and suffix, and then have them write the components on post its and put it on a wall/board/etc. Then, when we'd do language arts, we could check and see if those are true.

    Just something I've been thinking about.
     
  6. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    I'm departmentalized, but I love my word wall for social studies. I have a content wall, which gets a bit messy during the unit from adding words/kids post its/etc but I have a permanent word wall by topic.

    I created a poster for each of my units with the vocab on it, and we use it to continually review content that we've learned previously. This was my first year with one, and I expected it just to take up space, but I ended up really loving it.
     
  7. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 29, 2010

    My kids use theirs very often. When they are trying to spell a word that they know is up there or in their workstations, it's interactive so they can take down 5 words and put them in alphabetical order, etc. I put mine on pieces of laminated border with clothespins or paper clips so they can take them down and manipulate them. I've also done a word "floor" when space was limited by putting words on cutouts under contact paper. It amazed me how often a student would take their paper over to spell "because". And we could practice reading them every time we lined up.

    This is Kinder so I use pics with the words:

    [​IMG]
     
  8. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2010

    I'm not a big fan of them either, but they do help when the kids ask, "How do you spell...?"

    One thing I like to add to mine is an anti-word wall. I put words above the word wall that kids/people use that aren't really words. Some of my favorites to make the wall...

    - ain't
    - gonna
    - gotta
    - 'cause (not cuz--I at least have to spell it "right" if it's going up there)

    and my all-time personal favorite...
    - mine's

    I find that the kids pay more attention to the anti-word wall than the real one! Go figure.
     
  9. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Jul 29, 2010

    I have my kids keep a vocabulary journal, in which we put words that would normally go on a wall. Each kid can have personalized words too. I don't have room for a word wall.
     
  10. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    My word wall is organized by subject. I have one main ww that contains current vocab etc for all subjects, and content walls for all subjects. Once we have moved on to different topics the words move from the main ww to the content wall. It does stay neat and organized though. My OCD won't let me have a messy room. Maybe if you come up with activities to use with your ww you would find more use for it.
     
  11. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I love the idea of an anti-word wall!!
     
  12. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    I think it's trying to cover multiple subjects on the walls and how much space they take up, though my OCD doesn't let things get messy, either. :)
     
  13. kassrose

    kassrose Companion

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    I guess in younger grades, I could see the need since they are learning to spell many things. In upper grades (I teach 5th) wouldn't it be better (and more educational) to just refer them to the dictionary?

    Are there uses for word walls other than just to see how to spell things?

    Also, do the kids just become dependent on the wall and not figure out how to spell things themselves?
     
  14. AKitchin

    AKitchin Companion

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    You should add "alot" :)
     
  15. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    [​IMG]

    This is my current word wall. It'll be more of a reference tool.

    This is my word wall from a previous year. I constructed it using electrical tape on a white board. I then attached the words with magnets.

    To keep it looking neater: type the words in a uniform font and mount them onto black cardstock.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. ms. yi

    ms. yi Comrade

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    Jul 29, 2010

    I felt the same way about them at one time too. But over the past few years I noticed something - my kids were actually using them!!

    Yes, it is mainly a spelling resource but I've seen/heard of teachers using them in different ways.

    One effective way to draw children's attention to the words listed is by referencing it in your modeled writing. One mistake I have seen many times is having too many words on there. You should only have a few under each letter and it's not necessary to have words under every letter. It should be fluid. Words should be added but even more importantly, words should be removed when no longer needed.

    A problem that I ran into last year was that my students continually suggested words for me to add - a few were appropriate but most were not because they were vary narrow. So something I'm going to do is incorporate personal word walls - did dictionary type folders in the past but that was too much paper. This time I'm using my privacy folders - or offices as I like to call them - and have them use the inside for personal words that they can attach using small post-its.

    Here's a pic of my word wall:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    I usually end up adding words that I often see in the kids' writing or hear in their everyday speech. I'd have to explain why "alot" isn't correct, but that's nothing.

    Good call. I know what I'll be adding at the start of this year!
     
  18. MelissainGA

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    I took the different colored pocket charts from target (a different color for each subject) and made those my word wall. That way if the kids needed to know how to spell a word for Vocabulary they would look in that chart use the card then return it, same for Math, Social Studies, Science, Grammar, Spelling, or Reading.
     
  19. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    In my experience, the messier the word wall (within reason, of course) the better. My kids used my word wall ALL the time... they would just go up and grab a word from the wall, and go back to their seats and spell it.

    We played word wall games like Word Up (think Heads Up Seven Up, but instead of calling names, each person who is "it" holds a word from the word wall. The students have to call the people by their word, and not their name.) We also play "guess the word". With grade two, I've done games where they had to ask questions to guess the word that was chosen. (Is it a verb? How many syllables? etc.)

    It's all in how you use it.
     
  20. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I don't dislike word walls - I just have a very small room! In 08-09, I had a larger room, with TONS of BB space, so I had a dedicated word wall that grew all year long. Last year (and from here on...) my room is very small, and BB space is very limited, so last year I didn't have much of a word wall, although I LOVE using them! This year, I plan to only post "new" or "current subject" words (I also have to post spelling and "robust vocabulary" words weekly) each week. I purchased a ton of composition books (Walmart - 25 cents each), and plan to have the students dedicate one to "word work." We're going to create our own dictionaries, and it will include any and all words we cover this year! That way, each student has their own copy of the words, and they can access it at any time (other than test time).
     
  21. BES2010

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    I think this is a really great idea. May have to use it.
     
  22. Lynnnn725

    Lynnnn725 Connoisseur

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    I think a word wall for those content areas also helps those ELL's if you include a picture.
     
  23. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    I agree with that Lynn. It's definitely a great help for ELL children.
     
  24. cmw

    cmw Groupie

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    When I taught 4th grade I had a huge smiley face pocket chart and used it for my vocab words. During the week I would go around the room & students would choose a word and define it or use it in a sentence. They also could say a word and someone else would have to define it. They would have to know if it was right or wrong to get their ticket. They earned tickets which were part of our classroom incentives. I got away from it the last couple years & I definitely want to bring something like this back again next year.
     
  25. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I hated mine too, last year! Then part way through the year I figured out how to use it a bit. We often played a game with the words when we had a few extra minutes. We played a guessing game where I would give the students clues about a word and they had to guess what word I was thinking about. So, to start, everyone wrote down a word from the word wall. Then someone would guess what word I was thinking of. Usually they were wrong the first time, so I would give a clue like "The word I'm thinking of has 3 vowels". Then if the word they wrote down fit that critera they kept their word. If it didn't they changed their guess to a word that did. Then someone would try to guess my word again. Then I would give another clue like, "My word has 3 vowels and 2 syllables" etc. until someone "read my mind".
     
  26. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    We did a math wall, of sorts, this past year. I put up a poster for each operation (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). As we came across words or phrases that clued them in on which operation to use in a word problem we added them to the posters.
    I don't have a lot of wall space, I do use a pocket chart to display vocabulary words for the week and we do some review with them. I create reference pages for their folders, though, with the kids help. I start a list of words for each subject (ex: numbers in math, continents in soc. studies, etc). The kids help add words they feel they need help with, and I type the pages in tables, leaving as many blank cells as I can for future words. Sometimes we add words as a class, sometimes they add on their own.
     
  27. kpteacher

    kpteacher Rookie

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    my word wall solution

    well i am not a fan of word walls...so my solution is to have word rings. I take the big rings and attached index cards, use the colored ones for the letters and the white for the words., they are kept in their group bins at their tables so they can get to them at any point...just my suggestion
     
  28. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    I use one for each unit. The kids use it as a resource and its been really helpful for those who can't remember the word they want to use (which helps to cut down on stress and anxiety and build confidence).

    I buy those large sticky note poster papers and label the top with the unit name. I then use the sentence strips to write down vocabulary and tape them to the sticky note poster. I add words as we learn them and then I can move the sticky note poster to a different area of the classroom when we're done with that unit.
     
  29. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    This is a really cute idea! I think I might just steal this idea and use it science as an extra time activity or even a homework activity. :thumb:
     
  30. goingtogigi

    goingtogigi Rookie

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    :yeahthat:
     
  31. KaseyAutumn

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    I dislike word walls as well, I think is most effective with younger grades such as Kindergarten-3rd or 4th. Every grade above that tends to not benefit from it too much.
     
  32. cali*teacher

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    Just posting my two cents because I have to say I agree with you kassrose, or at least not too fond of the idea of them. I'm not officially a teacher yet, but have been in the classroom quite a bit and in studies to be a teacher. I have yet to be in a classroom that had one. Word walls were a recent topic in my studies and I will have to say the concept sounded like something I wouldn't be too fond of doing. On the other hand, I was thinking there could be all kinds of creative possibilities to them, but basically not a big winning idea for me, maybe just because it's a new concept. I guess apparently Word Walls are a big thing now?
     
  33. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I actually love word walls. I don't usually put more than ten in one section (sections/subject area). We do use them because it's part of our morning routine (going over word-wall words) so it helps the students really understand the meanings.
     
  34. SunnyReader

    SunnyReader Companion

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  35. S Dubb

    S Dubb Comrade

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    I cannot tell you how good it felt putting that one up on the anti-word wall.
     
  36. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    Word Wall

    I didn't really "get" word walls for a long time. But then I really started using them daily and the kids did too.

    My word wall has words they misspell, words they "want" and words we see frequently.

    I hated stapling words up then taking then down. It looked like garbage.

    A few years ago I got pocket charts from Target and now I love my word wall.

    The kids can take words off and use them, it is easy to add and removed words... plus it just looks better.

    http://www.elementary-teacher-resources.com/images/pocket-chart-word-wall.jpg

    Kelly :)
     
  37. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    To go along with the anti-word wall, I have read somewhere about someone having a place for "retired" words. I plan on using something like that this year.

    You talk about a word as a class and come up with synonyms or stronger words to replace the word going into retirement. Then, you have some sort of a retirement party (could be a simple as a noisemaker or party hat). After the "party" this word gets put into retirement (posted on a poster) and the students are no longer allowed to use this word for their writing.

    Here are a few I plan on forcing into early retirement:
    - stuff
    - things
    - nice
    - ain't
    - thems
    - guys's

    I also have a word wall with two large pocket charts over my closet doors. I didn't use one last year but just put it up last week. Right now I just have words from the dollar tree collection of 3rd grade sight words but I plan on adding science, math and social studies vocab as the year progresses. My students will also have personal word books (assuming our old P ordered them).
     
  38. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Wow! Love your word wall! Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of wall space! I have 1 wall full of (low) cabinets and windows, 1 with the bathroom & student lockers, 1 with (low) bookshelves, bulletin boards (with required content), and (high) windows, and the final wall has my gray board and smartboard! My last classroom had an "extra" bb that I used for a word wall, and I loved it. I'm still working on one at this school, although I will have the kiddos working with personal word walls that grow as the year goes on.
     

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