We all know that a good understanding of vocabulary is essential for student success. One way teachers and administrators love to support vocabulary development is through the use of word walls. But how often are your students reading the words with little knowledge of what they mean?
A content word wall is a great way to help tackle this problem. Some teachers like to put word walls in alphabetical order, but we thought, “Why not separate them by content area?” This led us to group the terms into categories that will help students both read and define the words.
We separated a bulletin board into four sections and created these headings for Language (language arts, reading and writing), Math, Science, and Social Studies. To aid our visual learners, we also color coordinated the different subjects. As new vocabulary was introduced, we added it to our boards.
We also turned the word wall into a center to encourage students to actively use it. We made pointers available at the center and had students read the words to each other. They also discussed what each word meant and/or how to use it in a sentence. Once students were familiar with the whole board, they filled out a card letting us know they were ready to read the word wall. We further enticed them by offering a chance to earn a small prize (a bookmark, extra snack, etc.) if all terms were correctly read and defined/used. Students loved this center and would often be found there after completing their classwork.
Check out our Content Word Wall on Teachers pay Teachers. It’s aligned to the CCSS for K-2 as well as the Virginia First Grade SOLs. It has almost 400 words on it to make creating your word wall much easier.