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New Ideas for Word Walls

The academic and content vocabulary required for secondary Social Studies is daunting – so many words, so few time!!  Many teachers try to teach vocabulary, but realize the same strategies over and over again become ineffective. One of the most effective strategies center around using word walls.  Many teachers struggle with how to use word walls in their classroom. Here are different tips for you:

  • Your word wall should have terms and color images. You do not need to post the definition for the word wall to be effective.  The image should serve as a definition.
  • Post your word wall in the focal point of the room. Point to the terms, touch the terms, use the terms around your white board with magnets.  If you interact with the terms, your students will as well.
  • Pronounce the terms and have your students repeat the terms out loud – several times! Students can build fluency in their reading if they can recognize the term on site.
  • Discuss with the students what they already know.  Many times students already know the vocabulary term, but they don’t know that they know it because they don’t recognize the word.  Think of the term militia – students might be familiar with the term from a video game, but not recognize the word when they read it.  If you pronounce it before your students read, you are helping their comprehension.
  • Challenge your students to create their own definition, then post them on the term next to the word wall.
  • Ask your students to make connections to their own lives, post the connections on the terms.
  • Use the word wall terms in your warm – ups. Try a vocabulary pyramid and challenge students to create their own definitions for each term.

I hope you enjoy a few of these new ideas.

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