Making Word Walls A Part of Your Classroom

Our students are learning, reading, and interacting with content in so many different ways each day. Yet, how much time do we spend on developing vocabulary? Do we expect our kids to "know" it from either reading the book or listening to us. It may not be happening. There is a major emphasis on the development of vocabulary skills in education today. From professional development to graduate courses to initiatives...all are talking about it. Why? Because our students need to be able to understand vocabulary to understand what they are reading.

This has brought up the importance of developing Word Walls in our classrooms, which is a visual representation of important terms for the unit or chapter . Word Walls not only emphasize "seeing" the word, but also it encourages students to "listen" for and "use" it. Simply put, they offer multiple ways of representing and expressing the meaning of vocabulary terms.

What are the limitations of Word Walls? One of the biggest limitations may be shear space. It's difficult to find the space in our classrooms today.  Another limitation is the fact that students cannot "take the wall with them." Here are some ways to use the concept of a Word Wall, when you space is limited or you just want to try something different:

  • EdHelper Word Wall Maker - gives teachers the opportunity to develop a word wall in a Microsoft Word document. It is a great tool for foreign language teachers too! Why? It gives you the opportunity to place two words on the wall (1 in English and the other in ____ with a picture). 
  • Free Word Wall Editor - is a great site with pre-generated vocabulary terms, which are ready to print. Foreign language teachers may find this site very useful, because there are several pre-generated lists for students learning a language! 

Sites like Glogster may also be a helpful and creative alternative for sharing vocabulary terms with students, allowing them to actually "take the wall with them." 


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