I am absolutely obsessed with my word walls this year!
Last year I didn’t really have them at all. I was so frustrated with trying to figure out how to change or hide my word walls based on the various levels I was teaching. The biggest problem I had was my higher levels I found were still using the lower level’s word walls as a crutch to look at when writing or speaking which irritated me because I KNEW they had acquired the language and I needed them to feel confident in that.
But even worse: my lower level classes were using the higher level’s word walls to communicate and speak with words that they’d never even heard before, but since the words were up on the wall (with an english translation) they’d butcher the language and try and impress me and their peers with what they could say. I finally became so frustrated last November that I took all of my word walls down. The only things I left up were: transitions, rejoinders, question words, colors, and circumlocution stems.
At iFLT in Denver this year, I only had the opportunity to actually attend one session. I always treasure time that I can take to better myself professionally because it is so exhausting and time consuming to lead the language labs. I went to see my Jason Fritz, whom I’ve always adored. He was talking about the challenges he has faced teaching elementary to multiple levels in many different classrooms. He showed us the various ways he “changed” his word walls. For one class he actually used the blinds to rotate from one word wall to the next. He inspired me to become a bit more innovative with my word walls!!
THIS is what I have created for this year! I have a student responsible for changing the word walls each period. Even though I teach 5 different “preps” or levels each day, I have 2 classes share the more advanced sides of the boards and 3 classes share the beginner sides.
I bought foam board for $1 a piece at the dollar store, and I poked a hole at the top of each and to that I attached a rubber band. I then stapled the rubber band to my cork board that is normally used as a bulletin board. I have 7 boards lining the wall, and as a structure emerges in the classroom, (if it is high frequency) I add it to our wall. Since I am non-targeted, there is no way for me to determine what words I will be adding and when. I use the 5th, 6th, and 7th boards on the walls for “out of bounds” words that pop up during class. (You can see the 5th board in the picture above) I only allow 2-3 MAX per class and each week I usually write one or two out of bounds words up on the foam boards. Words that are of high interest that I think may be useful or reuseable.
I love that my students are no longer shouting over each other to try and use words they’ve yet to acquire. I also love that my students in my more advanced classes are communicating with the language they’ve already acquired with a new confidence because they don’t have to use a lower level word wall as a crutch.
The next phase?!?! I am going to switch out my foam boards and cut them in half. I want to remove the English translations (because they really don’t need to see the English translations of the words we added at the beginning of the year anymore). Then I’ll keep the Spanish there but scoot everything down so I have even more space!!! AYYYY! I am soooo excited! Eventually I can remove the Spanish too, and scoot EVERYTHING down!
There you have it!!! 🙂
I hope y’all are having a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving break or a WONDERFUL Friday evening if you are somewhere that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. 🙂
Until next time,
La Maestra Loca