Word Walls Beyond High Frequency Words

Word walls have always been pretty popular in the educational world, and rightly so!  They were so necessary for my third graders last year.  When I moved up to 6th Grade, I wondered how I could incorporate a word wall without making them feel like "littlies."  I had a parts of speech wall last year where I would put random words up and have the kids identify the part of speech, but it didn't go over too well.  We have some really cool vocabulary words as part of our new Language Arts program through Journeys, but I didn't have the cupboard space to do an A-Z word wall.  So....the two ideas meshed, and we got a parts of speech wall that is updated weekly with the vocabulary words the kids study each week.

We mix spelling and vocab together so that the kids are not just memorizing spelling patterns (many have mastered that), but students are studying words at a deeper level.  They look at the part of speech, connotation, antonym, synonym, some weeks origin, and an example of how to use the word correctly.  After the spelling/vocab test on Friday, we update the word wall so that they have a place to reference those words again AND we actually are seeing those cool vocab words in their writing!  Huzzah!

We also started a weekly vocab jar drawing (in picture below) where kids submit a paper with vocab words that they see in their reading.  I have noticed a huge increase of word recognition since we started the vocab jar.  The kids love it, and they don't even realize that they are practicing. :)

Here are a few pictures for a visual.  I purchased the fun letters at the Dollar Store last summer to label each cupboard.  We have nouns, verbs, pronouns, articles, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, adjectives and interjections.  I print each week's words in a different font and laminate them so that I can reuse next year.  I hot glue them to the wall.  The kids look at it frequently.  They notice when we update it, so it is well worth the effort!

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