The ever amazing word wall … the place where sight words hang and sometimes never get used. Word walls are amazing tools to have in your classroom, but are you working your it to its full potential? If not, checkout these fun ways to make your display work for you!
What’s a Word Wall?
A word wall is a place in your classroom where you display the sight words that you have been working on in your classroom. This wall should display (in chunks at a time) the words your students should have mastered or be working on mastering in your classroom.
While having these words on display is a great way to get your students to see them every day, working with them will yield even more success in your classroom, here are a few ways to work your beautiful display.
#1 BUMP up the Volume and Jam to Phonics
Whenever you are working with something new, it’s fun to tie in a game BUMP games are a great way to work with anything from math to phonics. When put new words up on our display, we are teaching or students some phonics.
To help students learn their words or use their new phonics skills, try having students play a BUMP game to bump up their skills and work your word wall! Students can use the word wall in your classroom as a helpful tool which will also teach them how to use their resources; a double bonus for the win!
#2 Make your Word Wall the CENTER of Attention
Another way to make your word wall work is to make it part of your centers. Centers can be used throughout the school year to bump up a several skills from math to science and yes your word wall. Let your students spend some time in centers working with their word wall words. Start with a recognition game, like a BUMP game, then they can get progressively harder.
Encourage students to use their word wall words in sentences and to learn new words that have similar sounds. Scaffolding your centers day by day will be a great differentiating tool and a great way to work your word wall because it will be there as a resource.
#3 Slap that Word!
A fun, maybe a little wild, game to have your students play is to have their words on their desk. While you are doing a guided or close reading activity, have students “slap” the word wall words they hear. You will have to pause to see who gets their words slapped. You can turn this into a game by giving students points for “slapping” the word wall words they hear and getting them correct.
You can also have each word cut out on their desk and when they hear the word, they can put it back into the storage container the words belong in. This would be a quitter way to play “Slap.”
#4 Where’s the Word?
If you’re looking for a quieter game to play which would work for those fast finishers as well, you can use word searches. Put your word wall words in a word search or a crossword puzzle and have your students search for the words.
If you use a crossword puzzle, you are asking students to come up with the word which can be a more advanced skill for those students who are ready for it. If you’re looking to get your students to simply recognize the words, a word search is a great tool. You can create your word search and crossword puzzle on Discovery Education.
#5 Wheel of Fortune
A competitive way to make your word wall work is to cover your word wall and have students use what they know to play Wheel of Fortune. With this game, you would categorize your words (school, colors, math, science, etc.) and have your students guess a letter and then a word.
If the student guesses the word correctly, they get two points for their team, if they guess a word and it would work, they get one point. This is to emphasize that making a guess and being wrong is not only okay, but can be a good way to figure out what the word is. You can see how this game is played on Reading Rockets in a quick video.
Word walls can be a great tool to use in your classroom to not only have students see the words every day, but to have them interact and practice the words that are displayed. Make your word wall work with these five great games. Your students will not only love the variety, but they will learn so much more than just a word.