Reinforcing Vocabulary Through Word Walls

Reinforcing Vocabulary Through Word Walls

The Situation

You have taught a range of vocabulary, though need a way to visually display these terms for future lessons.

The Solution

At the beginning of unit of study, you need to explore the relevant vocabulary that students will explore in the unit.

We call this preteaching vocabulary.

However after you have taught the content, perhaps through a running dictation, how do you ensure that the information sticks?

Using a word wall is an effective strategy for your classroom to reinforce the important of vocabulary. A word wall is simply a wall dedication to presenting the important vocabulary in a unit of work. It helps reinforce the foundational knowledge that students need to learn before tackling higher-order thinking (Jump back to Bloom’s Taxonomy for more (information on this topic).

A great word wall is not created by the teacher, but the students. Consider using the following activity (This activity assumes that students have already completed a running dictation activity).

  1. Firstly, provide students with a piece of A5 paper.
  2. Students will record the term in large, bold and colourful lettering onto the page.
  3. Next, students will record the definition of this word/term onto the page.
  4. Students record an example below the definition.
  5. Finally, students draw an image that represents the term.

Consider the following example for there term, metaphor:

  1. Record the word: METAPHOR
  2. Record the definition: “a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.” (Oxford Dictionary). You might like to have a more simplified definition.
  3. Students record an example, such as “Your smile is a sunshine.”
  4. Students record a visual metaphor. Check out the ones from below for inspiration:

You are now ready to organise the classroom wall. How will you present the new vocabulary words? Perhaps, you can

After the words are presented in the wall, yourself and students can you refer back to them as often as needed. They function as a constant visual reminder of the type of language explored in your classroom. Furthermore, it reinforces ownership for students. They have contributed to the physical layout of the classroom rather than you slaving over its aesthetic on the weekend.

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