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Interactive Word Wall
By T2T Contributor, Sally Olson

A word wall is a systematically organized collection of words displayed in large letters on a wall or other large display place in the classroom. It is a tool to use, not just display. Word walls are designed to promote group learning and be shared by a classroom of children.

Goals

  • Support the teaching of important general principles about words and how they work
  • Foster reading and writing
  • Provide reference support for children during their reading and writing
  • Promote independence on the part of young students as they work with words in writing and reading
  • Provide a visual map to help children remember connections between words and the characteristics that will help them form categories
  • Develop a growing core of words that become part of a reading and writing vocabulary

Guidelines

  • Add words gradually, five a week
  • Make words very accessible by putting them where every student can see them, writing them in big, black letters, and using a variety of background colors so that the most often-confused words (there, their; what, when) are different colors
  • Be selective about what words go on the wall, limiting additions to those really common words which children use a lot in writing
  • Practice those words by chanting and writing them
  • Do a variety of review activities to provide enough practice so that words are read and spelled instantly and automatically
  • Make sure that Word Wall words are spelled correctly in any writing students do

Summary
My Word Wall was used for the 1998-1999 school year in a 2nd grade classroom with 21, 7 and 8 year old students. Pre-tests and post-tests were given to measure improvement. Improvement was noted in students spelling on tests as well as their daily writing. Students also became less dependent on the Word Wall as the year progressed.

Activity 1
Construction of a Word Wall

Materials

6x3 colored index cards (150)
Rubber Cement
Word Processing Program
Laminator
Computer Paper
Rebecca Sitton Word List (see appendix 1)

Procedure

  1. Using a word processor, type each word on the Frequency Word List using words 1-150. I used the Helvetica Black font at the size 125.
  2. Print, cut out in the configuration of each word, glue to colored index cards (size 6x3) and laminate. Be sure to use different colors of index cards for most often-confused words.
  3. Choose a location in the room where every student can see all the words. Put the alphabet headings, A-Z, at the top of the wall or bulletin board.
  4. Starting at beginning of list, add 5 words to the Word Wall each week. Words are place alphabetically on the wall by 1st letter.
  5. Do practice and review activities so that words are read and spelled instantly and automatically.

Sitton, R. (1996). Increasing Student Spelling Achievement. WA: Egger Publishing

Activity 2
Clap, Chant, Write--Introduction of New Words
Teacher introduces 5 Word Wall words per week by having students:

  • see the words
  • say the words
  • chant the words (snap, clap, stomp, cheer)
  • write the words and check them together with the teacher
  • trace around the words and check together with the teacher
  1. Have the students number a sheet of paper 1-5.
  2. Place one of the 5 new word cards in the pocket chart. Say the word,, use the word in a sentence, have students write the word on their paper. Continue with 4 additional words.
  3. When all five words have been written, point to the words and have the students clap and chant the spelling of the words.
  4. Students use a red pen, marker or crayon to trace around the word.
  5. On the following days of the week, teacher practices the new Word Wall words and reviews previous words with practice activities.

Sigmon, C. (1997). 4-Blocks Literacy Model. N.C.: Carson Dellosa Publishing.

Activity 3
Rhyme with the Word Wall
The teacher says a sentence whcih contains a word that rhymes with one of the Word Wall words and is spelled with the same pattern. Children must decide which word rhymes and how to spell it.

  1. Students number their paper just as they do for Clap, Chant, Write, 1-5
  2. The teacher gives the following clues for the lessons words.
    Number one begins with a t and rhymes with walk
    Student writes talk on paper
    Number two begins with an m and rhymes with by
    Student writes my on paper
    Number three begins with an f and rhymes with end
    Student writes friend on paper
    Number four begins with a w and rhymes with bear
    Student writes wear on paper
    Number five begins with a f and rhymes with car
    Student writes far on paper
  3. To check the answers, teacher says the rhyming word and lets students
    say the word they wrote and chant its spelling.

Cunningham, P.M. (1999). The Teacher’s Guide to the Four Blocks. N.C.:Carson-Dellosa.

Activity 4
Review Endings
This activity helps children learn to spell word Wall words which need an ending.

  1. Students number their papers 1-5.
  2. Teacher calls a word that can have an ending added to it. Begin with just one ending for lesson. Then add additional endings in seperate lessons. Then combine them so that children are listening for all the endings.
    Jumping, The frog is jumping over the log, jumping
    Student writes jumping on paper.
  3. Ask what word wall word was used with an ending. Say the word and chant its spelling.
  4. Continue in same manner with 4 additional words.
    Looking, I am looking at a new book, looking.
    Student writes looking on paper.
    Called, She called her mom on the phone, called.
    Student writes called on paper.
    Taking, We are taking a trip to St. Louis, taking.
    Student writes taking on paper
    Tells, My teacher tells good stories, tells.
    Student writes tells on paper.

Cunningham, P.M. (1999). The Teacher’s Guide to the Four Blocks. N.C.:Carson-Dellosa.

Activity 5
Cross-Checking

  1. Call out several words that begin with the same letter for students to write on the front, such as these: went want was what where. Tell students that they will have to decide which word from the front makes sense in the sentence.
  2. Say a sentence leaving out one of the words.
  3. Students decide which word makes sense and write it on paper.
  4. Say and spell the word.
  5. Do 4 additional sentences.
    Cunningham, P.M. (1999). The Teacher’s Guide to the Four Blocks. N.C.:Carson-Dellosa.

Activity 6
Make Sentences
1.Dictate a sentence using several of the word wall words:
Josh will come to my house to play.
2.Students listen as you repeat the whole sentence.
3.Then repeat the sentence one word at a time, giving students plenty of time to find the words on the word wall and write them.
Remind children to begin sentences with a capital letter. Have days when you dictate questions and exclamatory sentences. It’s fun to use students names in the sentences. Students also like to dictate sentences using lots of words from the word wall.
Cunningham, P.M. (1995). Phonics They Use. N.Y.: Harper Collins.

Activity 7
Be a Mind Reader
Be a Mind Reader was a favorite of my class last year. In this game, the teacher thinks of a word on the wall and then gives five clues to that word.

  1. Have students number their paper 1-5 and tell them that you are going to see who can read your mind and figure out which of the words on the board you are thinking of. Tell them you will give them five clues. By the
    fifth clue, everyone should guess your word, but if they read your mind they might get it before the fifth clue.
  2. For your first clue, always give the same clue:
    “It’s one of the words on the word wall.”
  3. Students should write next to number one the word they think it might be.
  4. The second clue is:
    It has four letters.
  5. Student writes word.
  6. The third clue is:
    It begins with a digraph ph.
  7. Student writes word
  8. The fourth clue is:
    It has a short e vowel sound.
  9. Student writes the word.
  10. The fifth clue is:
    It begins the sentence: ____will lunch be ready? when
  11. “I know you all have word next to number 5, what is it? But who has it next to number 4?, 3?, 2?, 1?” Some students will have read your mind and will be pleased as punch with themselves?
    Do several words in the same manner. As students get familiar with this activity they like to be the person giving the clues and having their mind read.

Cunningham, P.M. (1999). The Teacher’s Guide to the Four Blocks. N.C.:Carson-Dellosa.

Activity 8
Ruler Tap

  1. Teacher chooses a word from the Word Wall.
  2. Say the word, then tap and say several letters in that word but not the whole word: come, c-o
  3. Call on a student to finish speling the word out loud: m-e.
  4. If the student correctly finishes spelling the word, that child gets to call out a word, tap and spell the word and call on another student to finish.
  5. Do several additional words.
    Variations of this activity could be, only the teacher having a ruler, all students having a ruler.

Cunningham, P.M. (1995). Phonics They Use. N.Y.: Harper Collins.

Activity 9
Bingo
You will need photocopies sheets of 9 or 25 blocks (see appendix 2 ). Students will need objects to cover words.

  1. Call on students to pick words from the wall they want included in the game.
  2. As each word is picked, students will write it on their Bingo sheet in any blank block they choose and you will write it on an idex card.
  3. When all students have filled up their sheets you are ready to play.
  4. Shuffle your index cards and call the words one at a time.
  5. Have students chant the spelling of each word and then cover it with their object.
  6. The first student to have a complete row covered wins Bingo.
  7. Students can clear their sheets and play again.

Cunningham, P.M. (1995). Phonics They Use. N.Y.: Harper Collins.

Activity 10
Word Sorts

  • 1. Write 10-15 words on large index cards and place in a pocket chart.
  • Have students write these words on separate smaller cards or papers at
    their desks.
  • Have students sort the words into different piles depending on some features certain words share. Students may sort all words that begin with a certain sound, have a certain vowel sound, contain a certain blend or digraph.

Cunningham, P.M. (1995). Phonics They Use. N.Y.: Harper Collins.

Activity 11
Guess the Covered Word
The purpose of this acitivy is to help children practice the important strategy of cross-checking meaning with letter-sound information.

  1. The teacher writes 4 or 5 sentences on board, sentence strips, or overhead. Cover a word in each sentence with two sticky notes--one covering the onset, the other covering the rime.
  2. Call on a student to read the first sentence.
  3. Students make several guesses for the covered word. Teacher writes the guesses on the board.
  4. The teacher takes off the first sticky note that is covering the onset.
  5. Guesses that don’t begin with that onset are erased and any new guesses can be added.
  6. When all the guesses which fit both the meaning and the onsetare written, the whole word is revealed.

Cunningham, P.M. (1999). The Teacher’s Guide to the Four Blocks. N.C.:Carson-Dellosa.

Activity 12
Word Work

  1. Teacher calls a word wall word, class chants and then writes word in first box on Word Work sheet (see appendix 3).
  2. Continue with 4 additional words.
  3. Student uses letter cards/tiles to build the word in the next space on the Word Work sheet.
  4. Student uses a marker to write the word in the last space.
  5. Continue with the 4 remaining words.

Fountas, I.C. Pinnell, G.S.: (1998)Word Matters. N.H. Heinimann.

Activity 13
Build/Mix/Fix

  1. Teacher calls 5 words from the word wall one at a time. Students chant
    and write on paper as teacher writes on board.
  2. Teacher directs class to Build the first word with letter tiles/cards at
    desk.
  3. After all students have the word built, teacher directs class to Mix up the letters of the word.
  4. Students are directed to Fix the word by arranging the letters to spell the word.
  5. Chant the word.
  6. Continue with remaining words.

Fountas, I.C. Pinnell, G.S.: (1998)Word Matters. N.H. Heinimann.

Activity 14
Word Search

1. Pass out a copy of the Word Search worksheet to each student (see appendix 4).
2. Teacher chooses 5 words from the word wall.
3. As teacher calls out word, students chant and write on blank at bottom of worksheet.
4. When all 5 words have been written, students place each word in the word search puzzle and add additional letters to fill in the boxes.
5. Trade Word Search puzzles.
6. When each word is found, trace around it with a colored pencil, pen or marker or use a highlighter to highlight the word found.

Fountas, I.C. Pinnell, G.S.: (1998)Word Matters. N.H. Heinimann.

Activity 15
Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check

  • Take a paper with three or four columns (see appendix 5).
  • Teacher calls out 5 word wall words.
  • Students write the list of words in the first column.
  • Begin with the first word. SAY it and notice parts to remember.
  • LOOK closely at the letters to notice the visual details.
  • COVER the word with a card and think about how the word looks.
  • WRITE the word from memory.
  • Uncover and CHECK it with the word in the first column.
  • Cover and write the word again and check.
  • Do all five words.

Fountas, I.C. Pinnell, G.S.: (1998)Word Matters. N.H. Heinimann.

Activity 16
Flashlight Fun

  1. Turn out the lights.
  2. Say the poem together with the class:
    Flashlight, flashlight, oh so bright,
    Shine on a word with your light.
  3. Shine the flashlight on individual words for the class to read and chant.

Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications

Activity 17
Let’s Cheer

1. Choose 5 words from the word wall.
2. Print each letter boldly on paper for each word.
3. Cheerleaders face the class holding the letter papers to spell the word.
4. Call out the first letter of the word.
5. The student holding that letter steps forward and raises the letter paper as the class says the letter.
6. Continue until the entire word has been spelled.
7. Say the word 3 times in unison.
8. Take turns being cheerleaders and spelling the rest of the words.

Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications

Activity 18
Word Fun Center

1. Teacher chooses 5 words from the word wall and writes them on the board.
2. Divide the students into 6 groups.
3. Each group is given a different center material to spell the words.

*painted lima beans
*letter tiles
*pasta
*letter/object tray
*stencils
*Wikki Sticks
*play-do
*alphabet stamps
*magnetic letters

Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications

Activity 19
Hopscotch

  1. Make a hopscotch on the classroom floor with tape, or on the playground with chalk.
  2. Choose a word wall word and write one letter in each box of the hopscotch and the whole word at the top.
  3. Students hop and say each letter to spell the word and the say the word
    at the end.
  4. Do for additional words.

Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications

Activity 20
Wet Words

1. Teacher chooses 5 word wall words.
2. Say word to class and have them chant.
3. Write on individual chalkboard one letter at a time with paintbrush and water.
4. Continue with additional words.

Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications

Activity 21
Word Jar

1. When 5 new word wall words are introduced, write them on a slip of paper and add to Word Jar.
2. Choose 5 students to pick a word from the jar.
3. One student at a time reads their word, class chants the spelling.
4. Do additional words.

Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications

Activity 22
Rainbow Words

1. Pass out paper to each student.
2. Teacher chooses 5 word wall words.
3. As teacher says word, students chant and write on paper with a crayon.
4. Do the same for the additional words.
5. After all the words have been written once with a crayon, students go back and write each word again with 2 different colors of crayons.

Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications

Activity 23
Word Wall Chain

  1. Pass out 5 colored strips of paper to each student, size 1x5.
  2. Have one student choose a word wall word and everyone writes and chants that word-- each.
  3. Call on another student to find a word wall word that starts with the last letter of the first word. Students write and chant it-- each-her.
  4. Call on additional students to continue finding words that start with the last letter of the previous word.
  5. Glue the strips together to make a chain.

Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications

Activity 24
Spelling Grid

  1. Use the overhead and the Spelling Grid sheet (see appendix 6)
  2. Teacher chooses a word from the word wall.
  3. Teacher starts writing the word on the grid by writing the first letter of the word in the first box at the top.
  4. Call on student to come up and write the first two letters in the boxes in the row below.
  5. The next student writes the first three letters in the boxes below. Continue unitl the word has been spelled. Chant it.

Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications

Second Grade Word Wall List

1 the 38 can 75 been 112 too
2 of 39 an 76 its 113 any
3 and 40 your 77 who 114 dy
4 a 41 which 78 now 115 same
5 to 42 their 79 people 116 right
6 in 43 said 80 my 117 look
7 is 44 if 81 made 118 think
8 you 45 do 82 over 119 also
9 that 46 will 83 did 120 around
10 it 47 each 84 down 121 another
11 he 48 about 85 only 122 came
12 for 49 how 86 way 123 come
13 was 50 up 87 find 124 work
14 on 51 out 88 use 125 three
15 are 52 them 89 may 126 must
16 as 53 then 90 water 127 because
17 with 54 she 91 long 128 does
18 his 55 many 92 little 129 part
19 they 56 some 93 very 130 even
20 at 57 so 94 after 131 place
21 be 58 these 95 words 132 well
22 this 59 would 96 called 133 such
23 from 60 other 97 just 134 here
24 I 61 into 98 where 135 take
25 have 62 has 99 most 136 why
26 or 63 more 100 know 137 help
27 by 64 her 101 get 138 put
28 one 65 two 102 through 139 different
29 had 66 like 103 back 140 away
30 not 67 him 104 much 141 again
31 but 68 see 105 go 142 off
32 what 69 time 106 good 143 went
33 all 70 could 107 new 144 old
34 were 71 no 108 write 145 number
35 when 72 make 109 our 146 great
36 we 73 than 110 me 147 tell
37 there 74 first 111 man 148 men
149 say

Appendix 1 150 small
Sitton, R. (1996). Increasing Student Spelling Achievement. WA: Egger Publishing
Word Block
Planning Sheet
Monday
Intro Spelling Words Page_________
Sentences Page_________
#____, #____, #____, #____
Tear out word list page_______
Punch out word list page______
Practice with punch out and tachistoscope, Build/Mix/Fix
Intro Word Wall Words
_________ __________ _________ __________ _________
Write and Chant
Clap, Snap, Pinch, Cheer, Disco, Ketchup, Stomp, Tap/Clap/Slap
Tuesday
Spelling Words
LAB Page _______
Word Wall Activity
Wednesday
Making Words
Secret Word________________
Letters___________________
Thursday
Spelling
LAB Page_____
Word Wall Activity
Friday
Test-Spelling Words Page_______ Word Wall Words
Sentences Page________ _____, _____, _____,
#___, #___, #___, #___ _____, _____, _____

Appendix 7 Bibliography
Cunningham, P.M. (1994). Classrooms That Work . N.Y. : Harper Collins.
Cunningham, P.M. (1995). Phonics They Use. N.Y.: Harper Collins.
Cunningham, P.M. (1999). The Teacher’s Guide to the Four Blocks. N.C.:Carson-Dellosa.
Fountas, I.C. Pinnell, G.S.: (1998)Word Matters. N.H. Heinimann.
Gruber, B. (1998). Instant Word Wall High Frequency Words. CA:Practice & Learn Right Publications
Sigmon, C. (1997). 4-Blocks Literacy Model. N.C.: Carson-Dellosa Publishing
Sitton, R. (1996). Increasing Student Spelling Achievement. WA: Egger Publishing

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