Word Wall Woes!!!

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Andrea L, Aug 6, 2005.

  1. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    Aug 6, 2005

    Okay, so I've seen all the posts about word walls on this website and I've even tried word walls in my classroom the last two years, but I always end up taking it down. Can anyone explain in layman's terms what a word wall is, when it is used, why I should use it and how to do it. I guess I need word walls for dummies... :D Thanks in advance. I really want to use a word wall with my third graders, but am having difficulties grasping the idea.
     
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  3. teacher62604

    teacher62604 Companion

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    Aug 6, 2005

    Andrea,
    I too have tried word walls with my 3rd graders and have found that they are sort of "past" the word wall stage. That's not to say they don't need phonmic practice - THEY DO! I just use our phonics books the school gives us to guide thier daily practice. Along with our language & reading series, I feel like the students get enough. But, if you still feel as though your 3rd graders would benifit from a word wall, then here's what a word wall is, and what it should do:

    A word wall is a systematically organized collection of words displayed in large letters on a wall or other large display place in the classroom. It is a tool to use, not just display. Word walls are designed to promote group learning and be shared by a classroom of children.

    Goals

    -Support the teaching of important general principles about words and how they work
    -Foster reading and writing
    -Provide reference support for children during their reading and writing
    -Promote independence on the part of young students as they work with words in writing and reading
    -Provide a visual map to help children remember connections between words and the characteristics that will help them form categories
    -Develop a growing core of words that become part of a reading and writing vocabulary

    Guidelines

    -Add words gradually, five a week
    -Make words very accessible by putting them where every student can see them, writing them in big, black letters, and using a variety of background colors so that the most often-confused words (there, their; what, when) are different colors
    -Be selective about what words go on the wall, limiting additions to those really common words which children use a lot in writing
    -Practice those words by chanting and writing them
    -Do a variety of review activities to provide enough practice so that words are read and spelled instantly and automatically
    -Make sure that Word Wall words are spelled correctly in any writing students do

    I hope this helps somewhat. Good luck! Keep me posted on whether or not you started a word wall. :)

    [​IMG]
     
  4. TiffanyL

    TiffanyL Cohort

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    Aug 6, 2005

    Yikes! The word wall. I teach 1st/2nd and I still do not enjoy the word wall. It takes up sooooo much space and I just have not mastered the use of it yet. I get lazy with it every year. :( This year, I might try something different. The only thing my kids consistently used the word wall for was to look for a sight word during writing time so that they could spell correctly. I would hate to take this away from them so......I was thinking about using mini offices instead. To make these, you connect 2 file folders (the manilla colored ones) and you glue the miniature typed-up word wall inside of these (every child gets their own). You can also type up days of the week, family members (mom, dad, brother, etc.), number words or whatever else might be appropriate to your grade. Some people even put in descriptive words, etc. When the students stand these on their desk, they are like a mini cubicle and they write like the dickens. :) Anyway, I am not sure if I will like them or not but I am thinking about making them. I was considering printing out my students mini word wall in a color coded format. Such as, red words are the first trimester words, green are 2nd trimester and blue are 3rd. Or something like that. Then I could make my own copy on an overhead transparency and we could all practice reading first trimester words only, and so on. In first grade, my kids need practice reading the words so that they know where to find them when they want to use them for writing. Not sure if third graders would have that same need. Anyway, I guess after writing this I have realized that my most difficult problem with word walls are the space they require!

    TiffanyL
     
  5. Andrea L

    Andrea L Habitué

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    I thought about doing a notecard type book where they are put together on a ring. I'm just unsure if third graders really need a word wall etc. I also am not sure exactly what type of words to introduce if I were to do a word wall. I've been asked by a couple of teachers in my building if I am going to do a word wall, but I just don't know yet.
     
  6. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    I used a word wall one year with mild success. I had to really encourage it. One thing I would do if I were to do one again (which I probably won't) is I'd only add a few words at a time and introduce them as I add them. I had all the high frequency words on the wall which worked well except when the students couldn't differentiate from their/there/they're situations. I think it would have worked better in general if I had put up less words and focussed more on those.
    Alicia :)
     
  7. Lanie

    Lanie Cohort

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    Aug 7, 2005

    With the older kids, you can always do the index card and index card holders/boxes with alphabet dividers. You can still introduce the words as usual and then have them write them on their index card and file it. That way it's like their own mini dictionary right in their desk.
     
  8. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

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    I LOVE my word wall and the kids all use it. I use it for high frequency words like "WHAT, KNOW etc. The kids need to know these words for reading and writing. Rec. these words automatically will help their reading because they will not have to stop at every word and sound it out. Our 4th grade teachers even use it. I know in 3rd grade their are a lot of things you can do with it. Do they know all their high freg. words? Spell them perfect? I introduce 5 per week and put the on the word wall as I introduce htem. I try to introduce them through a poem, morning message, but sometimes I just hold up the card and say "this is the word..." There is a really easy book about word wall and other things by 4 blocks. Each grade level is a different color. It has wonderful ideas for tons of things besides word walls. Good luck
     
  9. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Wow, here it's not optional. Every primary classroom (even PK) has to have a word wall and instruct the children in how to use it. In 3rd grade, I'd put those words that the kids are often spelling incorrectly in their writing on the word wall, especially those sight words that everyone is mentioning (their, there, they're, etc). Remember, words don't have to stay on the wall all year. If the class is having trouble spelling "their" in September, hang it on the wall after you've done some focus lessons on the word. If they have it by December, remove it. Here, word walls must be done in ABC order, and have to be hung at a level where the children can physically touch the words if they'd like. One of the things I do (in PK) is make the words removable, so that the kids can actually go and pull a word off of the wall to copy if they want. A great start of the school year thing to do is put all of the classmates' names on the word wall.
    Kim
     
  10. teacher_99

    teacher_99 Rookie

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    I use a word wall in my kindergarten classroom, used properly and constantly, my 5 year olds learned a total of 119 new words this year, and could pick them out of text at any given time. It is a lot of work, and does take up a lot of space, but it really does work.
     
  11. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

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    I guess I never thought about the space since its so useful to me! And we all have to have one. Some teacher make it small so that the kids really can't see the words from their seats. Words should be large enough to see from their seats :)
     
  12. teacher_99

    teacher_99 Rookie

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    My wall in my classroom takes up a whole bulletin board and I use the neon colored index cards for the words. I use one color for A words, another for B words, it worked really well.
     
  13. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    My word wall is large, but not as large as other teachers. I only have one bulletin board space, so I use part of my wall by my library for it. I'll take a picture and post it tomorrow or so. It's a great reference for kids and really gets them ready to spell other words.
    kimrandy1- Ours is not an option either. We start off with the same words (1st grade words), and add about 5 new words a week. I think that once those words are up on the word wall that the students should be responsible for them. I also post them on my website, and send home a Take-Home Word Wall each week. I used Systematic Sequential Phonics They Use last year, and the school is incorporating Words Their Way. I used it last year, but now we are required to.
     
  14. AMK

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    I too like having word walls. In the beginning of the year I put their names on their word wall. They love seeing their names and it makes my life easier when they want to know how to spell someone's name.
    Towards the end of the year we would do a word a day. One of the kids would come up and find it. Together we chanted such as d-o-g. Then we sounded it out and they we clapped it out. I also made sight word neclaces that the kids would wear.
     
  15. nascarkat

    nascarkat Guest

    Aug 7, 2005

    If you can find the book Making Your Word Wall More Interactive (CTP #2282), it has some good games to use with the word wall. I'm going to try that this year and see if I'm more successful with my wall than I have been in the past. It's for grades 1-3.
     
  16. mp2

    mp2 Rookie

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    4th grade word walls

    I use word walls with my fourth graders. I not only use high frequency words but I also introduce prefixes, suffixes and Latin root words. The wall becomes like a puzzle where the kids can pick the word parts to make words that work for the situation they are writing about. It took awhile to get into a groove with it but it really works well. Good luck.
     
  17. newteacher16

    newteacher16 Companion

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    Aug 10, 2005

    Did you have a book to give you some guidance with what words to use at the fourth grade level? I guess, like Andrea, that my issue comes with knowing what words to use. My fourth graders should know most basic words, but I would love to add words to a wall in order to avoid the "how do you spell...?" all the time.
     
  18. 6thgradeteacher

    6thgradeteacher Rookie

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    I use a word wall with my 6th graders! I put up their spelling words Friday after their test. I also put up their vocabulary words from stories/novels. We also put up our "Said Is Dead" words. (I have the kids brainstorm synonyms for said, and they can't use that word for the rest of the year) I put up homonyms also. I have it up in my writer's reference corner in my classroom. Good luck.
     
  19. mp2

    mp2 Rookie

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    A great resource for vocabulary development is Beck, Kuncan and McKeown's book Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction. Although the book does not deal specifically with word walls it does give some really good ideas about which words should be taught and lesson ideas on how to introduce the words. Another book that I have found useful is the Vocabulary Teacher's Book of Lists by Fry and Word Roots: Learning the Building Blocks of Better Spelling and Vocabulary by Blanchard. Good luck.
     
  20. dianejw

    dianejw Companion

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    Aug 11, 2005

    Words Their Way by Donald Bear, 2nd edition is a great resource too. I've heard there is also a 3rd edition available.
     
  21. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Yep. I have the 2nd and 3rd edition. Either one is a great resource.
     
  22. sdhudgins

    sdhudgins Comrade

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    Aug 11, 2005

    wow someone said 3rd grade is too old
    I teach in a 7-12 "high" school where teachers even use them in upper level math!
    I am not one to use them though, because I have 1-12 in the same room and such a large large large group of words for each grade level.. I have lots of wall space, but uh not quite THAT much.
     

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