The concept of the word wall is not at all new. We use them to increase environmental print in junior classrooms. We fill bulletin boards with sight words and related games. We create special word walls for units of work. There are some classrooms that have a word wall for every subject area, while others just have one. Word walls are a great resource for any classroom. Regardless of the many reasons that we might introduce a word wall into our classroom, the core purpose remains. Word Walls are integral to vocabulary acquisition and enhancement.
Most primary school teachers don’t need much convincing to create a word wall. Students need a bit of a push but once they get the idea, they will use the word wall often. As students develop their vocabulary, reading and writing skills it becomes tempting to do away with such a time consuming element of our classrooms. This is especially true in the secondary school setting. Many secondary school teachers have never even heard of a word wall let alone considered using or not using one. Therefore the simple word wall needs some innovation.
I have been pushing the ‘word wall’ concept at my school for at least a year now. Many teachers have taken it on board and are having a go. I wanted to show you a couple of the great things that teachers are trying. There is still room for improvement in the area of word wall use and explicit vocabulary instruction, but we have all taken first steps and that is great.