Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Word Walls / Vocabulary Instruction

Word Wall in my classroom for Los Baker van a Perú
When I first started teaching at my school six years ago each classroom was required to display a series of bulletin boards. Because we were an IB school we were required to have an IB Board, because it was meant to boost achievement, we were required to post a Data Wall and there was the requisite that each teacher should have a Word Wall in their room. I didn't object; it seemed logical that a language teacher should have target language vocabulary posted in the classroom. Yet, one thing that has long bothered me is how to incorporate that word wall into daily instruction so that it is not just a classroom decoration but is instead is a tool that students can use to practice and acquire vocabulary. I should say that I use the word wall, it reminds me to incorporate vocabulary structures into my speech and I often find myself referencing it when I'm talking. The problem is that I'm not sure to what extent my students are using it. So, I've begun brainstorming some ideas. As I continue to make word walls for my units I hope to add to this post and, as always, if anyone else has any good ideas please share!

Word Walls for Story Re-tells: Throughout a unit I introduce students to new vocabulary structures and, after the kids have them in their "student dictionaries," I tack them up on the word wall. This is to say that I don't put vocabulary on the wall that the students aren't familiar with. As a review activity, I'm thinking of having students in pairs, use the words on the wall either to re-tell the story that we have been reading and/or creating in class. While one student talks the other student can keep track of the number of vocabulary structures used. I'm thinking it would be good to give students a goal of maybe using ten or fifteen structures in a story re-tell within a specific period of time say, for example, four minutes. Of course, prizes for students who can do it!

Gesture Competition: In my class each time I teach a new vocabulary structure I teach it with a gesture. I do it to help them remember the structure and also for the little bit of physical activity it provides. I was thinking of doing a variation on the vocabulary game where the class forms two lines and the two students at the front of each line compete to give the definition of a structure. In this version, students would compete to give the correct gesture. Could be done as a quick end of the class wrap up activity or as prep before a vocabulary quiz.

Word Review (need a catchier title): Place students in groups of four to five and give each group the word wall words written on index cards. Students take turns selecting an index card and using the structure either to describe an action or character from the novel or using the structure correctly in a sentence. If the group agrees that the student correctly used the structure then that person gets to keep the card, if not the card gets passed to the next student in the group and that person has two opportunities

No comments:

Post a Comment