Word Walls to the Rescue

Looking for some new word wall ideas?  Word walls don’t have to be a standard wall full of sight words that remain static all school year long.  You can create interactive word walls, word walls for character traits, or even a portable word wall that you only pull out when needed!

There are so many different reasons for word walls in any subject out there.  Keep reading to find out more.

You can create interactive word walls, word walls for character traits, or even a portable word wall that you only pull out when needed! See more here...

I know you’ve been there:

I’m sitting at my desk after school on a Friday afternoon trying to grade final drafts of a writing assignment so that I don’t have to take a large stack of papers home with me.  {Because let’s be honest:  Those papers won’t leave the bag once I get it in the house.}

I have my trusty marker in hand and read through all the essays, but noticing a TON of misspelled words that students should know by this point in their lives.

Who spells which as “wich” and no joke – once I even had a “tha” instead of the.  I almost choked on my water.

Instead of making myself angry over the careless mistakes, I decided that I needed to remedy the problem so next year’s teacher wouldn’t suffer the same fate.

These students have misspelled common use words in their writing assignments for the last time.

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Making A Custom Word Wall

If you are overflowing with empty walls – or don’t have an extra inch of wall space, you can still create your own custom word wall.

Here are 4 quick choices for making a resource for students and teachers that is constantly a work in progress:

1 – You can use a bulletin board that is not currently in use.  Choose your words and organize them by topic, theme, or alphabetically.

If you don’t have a spare bulletin board, I love using the colored tri-fold science fair boards to create a quick version that I can display on a table when in use or fold up and slide out of the way when not.  It’s a perfect choice for science or social study vocabulary words.

2 – A traditional word wall is actual positioned on a classroom wall alphabetically.  Throughout the school year, you will add word cards to the wall under the corresponding alphabet letter as needed.

This is a nice option because as students are learning strategies and getting better at spelling sight words, you can refer to those words less often.

Having a repetition of seeing those words over and over throughout the day to be used as a reference point really helps students to finally get those words correct as they are using them in their works assignments during the school day.

3 – Even upper elementary students can benefit from word walls.  While basic sight words might be too babyish for them, you can have a word wall that changes often to suit their needs.

Decide what words you will want to focus on throughout the school year and break them into 10 separate groups.

Using a hole punch, add a hole to each card and then use an o-ring to create 10 separate rings of cards.

Grab 10 Command hooks and place on your wall, setting one ring of cards on each hook.

Now you have a word wall that can be changed with a quick flip of a card as students master the words on the front of the stack.

Makes it easy to change – and customize for individual class needs as needed too!

4 – One other easy option is to create mini word walls on a sheet of paper and add to a writing folder that each student keeps at his or her own desk.  That way, during the writing workshop, the student is able to pull out the folder and find those specific words very quickly without assistance from you at all.

Other Uses for Word Walls

Having a list of spelling words is the most obvious reason for having a word wall, but what about some other ideas that might not have crossed your mind?  Take a peek below…

  • vocabulary words – perfect for reading lessons or chapter books
  • high frequency sight words – this is the most obvious, but even students in the upper elementary grades can benefit from knowing how to spell high frequency words they might not have mastered in the lower grades
  • spelling words – correct spelling will be a goal in writing, story problems, and long answer responses
  • writing words – a list of character traits is a wonderful way to focus on a particular theme for the story of the week
  • language arts – homonyms can be tough, but students can learn the correct spelling and use with the assistance of a word wall
  • science/social studies – use that tri-fold board to add vocabulary words to the board each day of your unit
  • math – students struggle with so many different vocabulary words in math so this would be a wonderful resource for students to really solidify the definitions to be able to apply them

A fellow reader from Organized Classroom’s Facebook page asked about hanging word walls without staples and the answers were flying in from left and right, so I made a quick eBook filled with the answers to use as a reference guide.

You can create interactive word walls, word walls for character traits, or even a portable word wall that you only pull out when needed! See more here...

As always, feel free to download, print, and share with your colleagues.  Might be extra nice to point them back here even to grab their own. Thanks so much!

What other word wall tips can you share with our readers?  Please leave them in a comment below.  See you soon!

~Charity

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