Word Wall Activities

Purpose:  To have words readily available for the students to interact with them so that the students will use the words.

Ideas for Word Walls:

1. Organize by/on:

  • alphabetical
  • part of speech (noun, verb, etc.)
  • timeline
  • pictures (Label parts of picture or think of adjectives describing parts of picture.)
  • prefixes/suffixes
  • shape
  • category

2. “Retire” words that they know to a folder or shoebox coffin, etc.

3. Add 3-7 words a week to the wall.  Words may be common words that they know. 

4.  Let students be involved in creating word walls.

5.  Words may include definition and/or visual.

6.  Use shower curtains and permanent markers (1 shower curtain per era/unit?)

7.  Use shower curtain (makes magnet removal easier) on top of chalkboard with business card magnets on the back of 3X5 cards ($2.34 Target shower curtain, $17.99 for 100 Office Depot magnets)

8.  Use magnetic cards without shower curtain and write categories on chalkboard.

Alternate word walls:

1.      Balloons/Beach Balls

            For the word closest to your right thumb when you catch it:

    • Say an antonym
    • Say a synonym
    • Use it in a sentence
    • Act it out

     2.   Tongue depressors—partners quiz each other, categorize, act out, etc.
Manila folders—stay in students’ binders. (easier to find and harder to lose
           than paper)

     4.   3X5 Cards on a metal ring—four quadrant vocabulary cards

Activities for the Beginning/End/Between Classes:

Note:  Consider having a stack of 3X5 cards with each student’s name on one. 

Shuffle the stack often.  Call on the person on the top card.  Don’t look at the name before asking the question.  After calling on someone, stick the card back into the stack, not at the bottom, and shuffle often.

1.  Categorize:

  • Positive/negative
  • Economic/social/political
  • Chronological order
  • Verbs/adjectives/nouns/adverbs
  • Directional or doing words
  • Pairs
  • Opposites

2.  Which words go together?  Why?

3.  Prefixes and Suffixes—What is a word with a prefix (or suffix)?  What does that prefix mean?  What is another word with that prefix?

4.  Stump the teacher—Think of a definition for a word and see if the teacher can guess it.

5.  20 Questions—Ask “yes” or “no” questions to find the word.

6.  Ask students for the definition for a word on Word Wall.  Let them line up at door if they get it correct.

7.  Match definitions to the words on the wall.

8.  Use words to build sentences

9.  Charades—Student acts out the word, see if rest of class can guess

5 Step Process to Learning Vocabulary

1.  Present student with a brief explanation or description of the new term or phrase.

2.  Present students with a nonlinguistic representation of the new term or phrase.

3.  Ask students to generate their own explanations or descriptions of the term or phrase.

4.  Ask students to create their own nonlinguistic representation of the term or phrase.

5.  Periodically ask students to review the accuracy of their explanations and representations.