Monday, July 2, 2018

My Opinions on Word Walls

Let me preface this by saying all opinions are my own! :) I know teachers do things very differently from class to class-this is how I do it based on my personal philosophy. I'm not saying the way I do it is right and the way others do it is wrong, I simply wanted to share my opinions.

I do think word walls are important in classrooms for several reasons. Personally, I do not use sight words for my word wall. I know this is controversial. I do teach sight words to the students, but prefer the words on our wall to be vocabulary we have learned which they can then use in their writing. Sight words do not have to be taught in isolation, we do activities every day where we are using the sight words. Plus I always include a picture with the word, for many sight words it is difficult to find a picture to represent it: because, the, do, can, now.

I also believe word walls should be interactive. I do not put the words in columns for each letter and then just post the words on the wall. I want my students to go get a word off the word wall and use it in their writing. I start the year with words we are learning-words like creative, unique, teacher, grit. Then I try to have over half the words on my wall be adjectives. I roll my eyes when the kiddos use "good" to describe everything-go get another word off the wall to use. I use the extra border to make strips where I clothespin the words. They can easily take the word off and use it.

I don't believe in overwhelming the kids with a growing and growing word wall. I usually only have between 15 and 20 words at a time. When I retire a word I put it in our writing workstation where it can still be used.

These are some pics of my word walls-most are from the beginning of the year:

Hollywood Theme-this was one of my first classrooms.

I think this was my NYC theme.

China Theme

Pirate theme

Alice in Wonderland theme

Dragon theme (clever, right?!)

A math word wall.

I don't believe there are rights and wrongs when it comes to word walls-you have to do what is best for your students!

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