Word Wall for Upper Elementary

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by glitterfish, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 14, 2009

    What do you put on your word wall for upper elementary? Weekly spelling words? Vocab words from the reading unit? Vocab words from social studies/science/other? Words that come up because the kids want to know how to spell them during writer's workshop? Words from a word wall program?

    I've meant to start a word wall every year in 4th grade, but it never seems to get up and running. I'm not sure how to work it. It seems like either there would be waaaaaaaaaay too many words on it over time (do you switch them around and rotate words off the wall?) and I never know exactly what's supposed to be on there. Your ideas are appreciated. I need to make this happen next year!
     
  2.  
  3. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    Messages:
    664
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 14, 2009

    I have not really done a great job with my word wall in the past, so I am interested in hearing about what others do.
     
  4. frogger

    frogger Devotee

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    1,057
    Likes Received:
    2

    Jun 14, 2009

    The official word wall that the district wants up we have to put up high frequency words - upper level ones. I also had another Science Word Wall since 5th grade Science has a lot of vocabulary that the kids haven't seen or heard ever. I am thinking of expanding and having Social Studies terms as well.
     
  5. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    3,944
    Likes Received:
    166

    Jun 14, 2009

    glitterfish,
    It is not uncommon to be confused about word walls. Many districts say "have one" but never give their teachers training in how to make one. Many, many teachers do one, but do it incorrectly. I say that with some trepidation -- they do something "different." It isn't wrong, it is just different.

    Vocabulary words do not belong on a traditional word wall. They belong on a content area word list. Spelling words rarely belong -- unless your spelling lists are comprised of high frequency words.

    Word walls, in the truest definition of the term, are for high frequency words. This doesn't mean teachers don't do other things, but if you go back to the original purpose of word walls, it is to dsplay those words that are essential to our reading (and writing) ability. Sometimes the high frequency words students are having trouble with become very apparent during writing -- this is where that comes in.

    You display 5 new words per week. If a particular letter (such as B) becomes too full, you can look for words the students have seen for many, many weeks, and if you feel they now know them, you "retire" those words by removing them and placing them in a pocket beneath the letter. This is how you keep your word wall from becoming too crowded. If you plan your year's word wall ahead of time, you can make sure it is a good distribution -- but there are certain letters (such as B and C) that always become overcrowded. That is just how our language works.

    I have seen many teachers use content words, and if that is what they want to do, fine -- but it is not how word walls were orginially designed to work. Content word walls (as they are called) are a different animal.

    Of course, in lower grades, it is easier to figure out the word wall words -- because of such things as Dolch lists or Fry lists. However, such lists do exist for upper elementary. Here is a link to the 1,200 high frequency words. http://estabrook.ci.lexington.ma.us/Curriculum/Sitton/Wordbank.html The first 25 words are used in 33% of everyday writing, the first 100 words appear in 50% of adult and student writing, and the first 1,000 words are used in 89% of everyday writing.

    In upper grades, you would be choosing from the middle to the end of the list. If your school year has 40 weeks, and you add 5 words per week, then you will need 200 words -- use ones that you know students get confused. (You can still add a word now and then that you realize your students just "don't get" -- but preplanning is essential.) Word walls only work if they are used, and to be used, you must have activities to go along with them. Otherwise, they are just a decoration.

    For example, words I would want to include are friend (kids always mix up the i and the e), enough (kids want to spell it enuff), country (they want to spell it cuntry), lose (they confuse it with loose), wouldn't (they either spell it woodn't or they misplace the apostrophe and write would'nt.) These are just a couple of examples.

    There are also premade word wall programs out there. I've never found a need for them, since over the years, I've developed a list of words based on student needs. However, I think it would be nice to have them already made.

    Here are some other links that you might find interesting.

    http://www.ndreadon.com/gradefivehighutility.pdf

    http://www.asd4.org/curriculum/literacy/5th/vocab.htm scroll down to the bottom list

    I hope you find something you can use. Good luck!
     
  6. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jun 15, 2009

    Rainstorm-very well said!!! Now, can you come to Ohio to tell my district HOW it is done-especially the literacy coaches?? They are too busy sucking up to explain it the correct way!! With your permission, I am printing out your response to show my colleagues. Thanks!
     
  7. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 15, 2009

    Wow. I'm saving this link so I can look at it later when I have my own word wall! Thanks rainstorm!
     
  8. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 15, 2009

    I too have a content ww. I have space for each subject and I place vocabulary words on it.
     
  9. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    3,944
    Likes Received:
    166

    Jun 15, 2009

    Help yourself knitter! I always find it unsettling the number of things we are "required" to do as teachers without the least bit of explanation or training.
     
  10. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 15, 2009

    I've never been told how to do a word wall, either, so I just made up something that worked really well last year. When the kids needed to know a word, we wrote it on a post-it and stuck it up on the wall. They could go grab the post-it when they needed to refer to it. Sometimes they would look words up and write their own post-its, and put them up when they were done. It was very interactive, and I didn't have to spell Hannah Montana 50 million times. Once, and everyone could use it. We had a LOT of words up there, but the kids liked to organize it every once in a while, so it still worked well. If the sticky came off, a student would just make a new post-it with the word.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,478
    Likes Received:
    92

    Jun 15, 2009

    I like that idea for the board Jem! I don't have hardly any boards in my new room, but something like this might work. I was also thinking of a board that had words sorted by Greek/Latin roots. We study this anyway (the kids love it!) and I think the board would help reinforce the meanings of the roots and how they apply to the words. Not the truest sense of a word wall, but the other one...I don't know it just took up space and the kids didn't use it.
     
  12. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 15, 2009

    I love the roots idea! That's a standard for me this year, and that would be a GREAT way to stretch it out all year!!
     
  13. Newto3rd

    Newto3rd Companion

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 15, 2009

    Lovin' the ideas! I think the post-it idea might work really well on my wall of magnetic chalkboard. I don't write on it (can't stand the messy look of eraser smudges!) and the magnetic tape you buy in a roll won't stick! (the humidity has them falling off! I think the kids would be more inclined to go use the word wall if they wrote the note. I like things clean and organized, so I'll have to make sure that the sticky notes are not falling off (will drive me crazy!). I'm going to compile a list of high frequency words to use and then add words like Hannah Montana that they ask to spell for writing purposes. Thanks, friends!! I feel inspired!
     
  14. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 16, 2009

    Thank you, thank you everyone! I have a lot of ideas to think about. May incorporate a few of them next year. Thanks so much for all of the detailed responses.
     
  15. 4inteacher

    4inteacher Rookie

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 29, 2009

    I really like the sticky note idea! I may do that in addition to what I already have in the works. My kids speak 3 languages: Arabic, Hebrew, and English. All subjects are taught in English but they take language in Arabic and Hebrew also. Needless to say, they're pretty overloaded with new words.

    I've gone through and typed up all of their reading vocabulary words for the year, mounted them on card stock, labeled the list on the back, and laminated them (to be used year after year).

    I'm going to have an area for "This Week's Vocabulary Words" and then sections for different parts of speech where the students will move the words after their week has passed. I've also got the vocabulary definitions on the cards since my kids all speak English as a second language (and are studying 3 languages a day), I think this will be good reinforcement for them.

    I plan to give them extra credit anytime they use these words in class (orally or written). I'm not sure how I'm going to keep track of it yet.
     
  16. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Messages:
    775
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 29, 2009

    This is a great site for word lists that go along with the root idea. She calls them "Words Within The Word".

    http://www2.redmond.k12.or.us/mccall/renz/wordwithinthewordteacherforms.htm
     
  17. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,816
    Likes Received:
    1,641

    Jun 29, 2009

    Great ideas posted here!

    I'm going to be teaching either a split grade 7/8 or grade 8 English block next year. I wasnt to do a word wall of some sort, but space is definitely going to be an issue. The room I will be in is the Science Lab, and there is very little wall space--mostly windows and cupboards. I'm not sure how much display space the science teacher will be willing to give me (she's not too happy that I am "taking over" part of her class).
     
  18. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 29, 2009

    Based on what Rainstorm has said I do my WW all wrong, but it works for me :) I have to have a WW...my P comes around to check, and we even have our curriculum coach come and count our words from time to time.

    Last year I used Post-It sentence strips for my words. I looked for words my kids couldn't spell (using their writing for clues). I had a lot of homophones up there. I added words sporadically, but for each word we talked about why I was posting it, how the word is spelled, and discussed clues to help us remember (my favorite clue: people have eyes, so when we write about people we write "their" because it has an "i" in it.) I also had words that seemed to be hard to spell due to dialect (still/steal.)

    I did put up vocab/unit words on my WW, but only if I deemed it an important word to be able to spell.

    Next year I'll be making a few simple changes. I purchased an intermediate WW kit for my high-frequency words but I'll still use my post-its for words not in the kit. I also plan to have little picture clues next to homophones to help the kids remember (like a clock next to hour, or a ball next to threw.)

    We played WW games for about 5 min daily. I usually had the kids make up the games but it was typical stuff (volcano, cheerleader, clap snap, etc.)
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. skyline,
  2. Kelster95,
  3. Ms.Holyoke,
  4. TnKinder,
  5. SaraFirst
Total: 238 (members: 7, guests: 211, robots: 20)
test