I've been using a Word Wall with my high school students for 9 years now, and the results have been incredible.
I have 90-minute classes, so I'm able to give my students 8-10 minutes of free reading time each day. I put this time at the BEGINNING of the class for several reasons.
1. I express that free-choice reading is SO important in helping students with many aspects of their personal and student life that it deserves to be first in my class.
2. If you save it for last, students will be more likely to talk and not read.
3. It settles a class down and sets the vibe for the remaining portion of the class.
During these 5-10 minutes of reading time, students are to find ONE word that they don't know, find challenging, or like the sound of while reading. They write this word and sentence down immediately then continue reading. Then, I give them around 3 minutes to fill out their Frayer boxes on the word they found. Since I'm in a 1:1 classroom, they do this digitally in their Classroom OneNote Notebooks. Here is what it looks like:
OneNote Pinterest Board and download my free vocabulary notebook found in my collection!
My daily schedule goes like this:
1. Free Reading
3. Daily Grammar Practice (See how I incorporate music into my grammar program here: link)
4. Main Lesson
Monday Vocabulary Time:
By finding a new word each day, they will end up with 5 new words each Monday. It is on this day that I walk around the room and pick out the best of the best words. As I'm walking and checking work, I keep students busy by practicing roots words or reviewing their former words (more on this in a minute). I will ask the students with the best words to go up to my computer and type in their word, part of speech, sentence, and definition. I repeat this for all 3 classes (I'm on a block schedule) and end up with around 15-20 great words and sentences from YA books. I personally narrow these down to the top 10 that I see most often in literature and in life. I often teach a variety of grades (10th-12th), but have never had an issue with using the same list for all classes. It has always worked out well for me. I try to get the same amount of words from each class to be fair.
Tuesday Vocabulary Time:
After I have the vocabulary list all nice and neat (remember the students did the work), I project the vocabulary list of the week up on my board, and students copy the information. Since they aren't hand-writing these, I want them to do something with them, so I make them color-code the context clues in the sentences. I label each week's words a different color. For example, Red words 1 (I also color-code my Onenote notebook for an easy way to organize) More on why I color-code in a minute. This is what my student's notebook looks like after they have highlighted the context clues.
Wednesday Vocabulary Time:
Students review words with partners or play a game such as Kahoot, Quizlet, or ball toss (toss the ball and the catcher must call out the correct definition or they are out). I especially love using Quizlet because I simply copy and paste the words by using the "import" function (i.e. less work for me).
UPDATE! I've recently started incorporating a new game, and it might just be my FAVORITE! It's called Word Sneak, and I got this idea from my students. They were playing around and trying to make up funny sentences with the words, and I told them that we should use that as a game. They informed me that game has already been invented and is on The Tonight Show. Since I'm normally asleep by 8:30 each night, this explains why I've never seen it. ;) #partylikeanEnglishteacher
So, anyway, watch this clip to get an idea of the game then download my FREE game template here to play!
Here is a picture from my Instagram with this game in action:
I share all of my ideas first on Instagram, so be sure and follow me there! @Bsbooklove
Vocabulary Bingo: Students draw 9 boxes (3 across and 3 down) and put the new set of words in the boxes. When you build your wall up, you can use more colored sets. For example, I say, "9 boxes with any blue or red word." Once they have their boxes made, I make up sentences and have students put an X on the word that fits with the sentence until someone gets a bingo. I have a little box full of candy and toys for the winners.
I'm always surprised how much big kids like toys like these!
Friday Vocabulary Time:
We play a different review game each Friday. Here are the ones in rotation:
* The fly swat game. I have two fly swats and make a bracket with 8 teams (I just have my students number off to 8). The teams go up against each other until the bracket gets to a winner. The first person to swat the correct word on the wall gets to move up the bracket. I do single elimination so this game doesn't take too long.
*Quizlet Live. This is my students' new favorite game!!!
From my Instagram page: @Bsbooklove
*Others mentioned above such as ball toss, word sneak, Kahoot or bingo.
I also give a quiz each Friday over the new set of words PLUS last week's words OR ....and here's where it gets complicated to explain... the same colored set of words. For example, my quizzes will go like this:
Week 1- Red words
Week 2- Red words plus new Blue words
Week 3- Blue words plus new Yellow words
Week 4- Yellow words plus new Green words
Week 5- Green words plus new Orange words
Week 6- Red words 1 plus new Red words 2
Week 7 Blue words 1 plus new Blue words 2
*As you can see, having a color-coded visual of words makes it extremely easy for teachers and students to constantly review new words.
*If you are trying to add more Greek and Latin words into your curriculum as I am, you can focus on a root a week and have students try to find these roots in their reading. You can also add quiz questions regarding these roots.
Check out my Root Word Sneak game here!
*Word Walls set the atmosphere for easy, no-prep games to add fun to your classroom.
|My students getting way too into the fly swat game :)|
*Students take ownership of their vocabulary instruction.
*It helps set a routine for your class which is very beneficial for behavior problems.
*It promotes good reading skills
*It promotes free-choice reading. We do a book project every 9 weeks, and it's the best day of the year. I absolutely LOVE the creative projects my students come up with. Want to get a FREE download for my Fun Foodie Book Project Choices? Sign up for my newsletter to receive your free download!
*Word Walls give you an instant inspiration board when you want students to practice writing grammatically correct sentences. (For example: Tell them, "Use one blue word and one yellow word to form a compound sentence using a semicolon")
For a free vocabulary template, click here: 5 New Words a Week Template
Want to see my newly updated Word Wall letters to match my new Harry Potter-ish themed classroom? Click Here: Harry Potter Secondary Classroom
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