Today I am going to explain how to teach kids to use a word wall, and about a really great writing tool that I like to use in my classroom called “The Wandering Word Wall.” “The Wandering Word Wall” is a small, portable word wall that you print and mount on a file folder so that children can take it with them and use in any area of the classroom.
But whether your word wall is large or small, if you don’t teach the children how to use it, you’ll probably find that it is just taking up valuable wall space in your classroom and that it serves little or no purpose!
A portable word wall is a great tool to have, because often there are so many children in a classroom that they wind up trying to do writing assignments while sitting in desks that are a bit too far away from the real word wall, and so they can’t really see the words well enough to use it. This makes them want to get up and walk around the room to check the spelling of a word, etc. I think that kids tend to get more done when they stay in one spot and keep working without needing to get up and walk around, so the Wandering Word Wall solves that problem nicely!
If you have been following my blog for several years, you may remember that I mentioned my Wandering Word Wall in a blog post before! But since it is such a great tool, I wanted to give it it’s “own” blog post. To download a copy of my Wandering Word Wall, click here.
One word of caution, though: you will need to teach them how to use it and what it is, or it will just become a “tent” and a barrier to play with rather than a useful word wall as you intended!
To teach the children to use the Wandering Word Walls, or ANY word wall in your classroom:
1. Pass out the Wandering Word Walls, or point out to the children the real word wall in your classroom.
2. Show the children how the words are in alphabetical order. Point to each letter and sing the ABC song as you point.
3. Tell the children to find and point to a word, such as the word “see.” Explain that the word will be in the box with (or underneath, etc.) the letter S, since it starts with an S sound.
4. Have the class sing the ABC song again as they point to the letters until they find the S words, and then look for the word “see.”
5. Ask the children to write the word “see” on a paper or on marker boards, etc. If time is an issue, just have the children spell the word aloud, or write it in the air, or draw it on a friend’s back, etc.
6. Repeat this process with a few other words until the children understand how to use the word wall to help them find and spell words. It’s like having a small spelling dictionary right there!
To make a set, just download the word wall and glue it onto a file folder for each child. Then laminate it, and you’re done! I made two copies for each child, and put one three-hole punched copy into their binders so that they could have a word wall at home as well.
Tip: I collect my Wandering Word Walls that go in the children’s binders at the end of the year, so that I do not have to make them again the following year! I doubt that any of the parents would get them out for the children the following year again anyway.
We used the Wandering Word Wall for journaling when my kids were all spread out throughout the room and could not necessarily see the word wall from where they are seated. It worked out really well!
If you are unfamiliar with our Sing and Spell the Sight Word Songs, check out the video below! They are also extremely effective in getting young children started writing because the songs and movements help kids memorize the spellings of so many of the high frequency words used in their writing.
I hope you enjoy this and find it useful.