Ever read your students’ writing and see words that you’ve already covered misspelled? In fact, those words are on the word wall and students can easily look up to spell them correctly.
So why don’t they??
This may be because often a word wall is just (dare I say it?) CLASS DECOR to kids. They don’t refer to it, or see its value!
So today, I want to share some tips on making an effective word wall, that’s more than just wallpaper in your room!
First of all, what is a Word Wall?
A word wall is a space in your classroom where you display the sight words you’ve taught your students. Each word is added underneath its first letter as it’s introduced. Students are expected to refer to the word wall to help them spell sight words.
How to Make your Word Wall Effective
- Read it often! Every Friday, we walk over to our word wall to add our sight words of the week. We read all the words under the letter we are posting the new word to. For example, if we are adding the word ‘what,’ we read all the W words already up there. We also have a ‘first word’ dance and song for every first word under a letter. Super silly, but the kids look forward to this!
- Keep students accountable for spelling these words correctly! Underline or circle words that are on the word wall in your students’ writing. Ask them to look for the word on the word wall and correct the spelling.
- Play games with the word wall words! One I like to play is “Which word is missing?” Remove one word from the word wall. Tell your kids the letter it was under and ask if anyone knows which word is missing. They really have to pay attention to your word wall to be able to remember!
- Have kids add the weekly words to their personal word walls (in their writing folders or stapled into their notebooks- included in freebie).
- Brain break: Call on a child to pick a word from the word wall and give the class clues about it (It starts with the letter ‘t,’ ‘it rhymes with ‘may,’ etc.). Then, the class can do jumping jacks while spelling it. Anything that involves body movement helps kids remember.
- If you teach handwriting, print or cursive, practice with word wall words! Pick a word or words that have the target letters to practice on whiteboards or in notebooks.
- Make it easily accessible– your word wall should be visible to all students.
- MODEL using it! When modeling any writing, stop and use the word wall to help you spell a word. This is a great way of reminding them to use that spelling strategy!
These are just some ideas to make your word wall POP for your students. The point is, the more you interact with your word wall, the more kids will remember to refer to it when writing! Engage regularly with the word wall, and it’s less likely to become classroom decor.
Word Wall. Not Wallpaper.
Sight Word REVIEW
It’s also important to spiral review the words covered, so students don’t forget them. My body-spelling PowerPoints (grab a free sample here!) review all words taught after each set of 5 words, then again for each set of 25 words. My Fluency Flashcards also include a bank of 14 previously-learned words to quickly read to review and practice fluency. You can use the word wall to review words you’ve covered by playing games with it- Bingo, Grow a Picture (freebie here), I Spy, Scramble a Word, just to name a few.
Do your students misspell words on your word wall? What other ways do you make your word wall effective? I’d love to read your ideas. Comment below!
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