In classrooms across the world, you can find absolutely gorgeous word walls that add to our students’ learning environment. The question becomes, what do you do with all of those beautifully crafted word wall cards? Are your students really using them in their daily learning? Or have they become part of your classroom decor?
The truth is if you aren’t using the words on your word wall each and every day they fade into the background. They can become part of your students’ memories and they forget they are even there. What a waste!
It takes just five minutes a day to use our word walls. This five minutes daily signals to students these words are not just a decoration, but instead an important part of the learning environment.
This task doesn’t have to involve a lot of planning, just enough to make sure we incorporate our word wall words daily.
Below are three of my favorite ways to seamlessly include word wall words in the classroom daily.
Use Word Wall Cards to Play “Who Am I?”
Traditionally, “Who Am I?” is a quick cooperative learning game. Students are assigned a mystery word that is taped to their back or held in a headband where they cannot see it. Students then travel around the room asking other students, who can see their mystery word, questions to help them identify their word. The goal is to identify their word correctly by asking as few questions as possible.
The game can be flipped by allowing students to choose their own word and instead of asking questions, it is their duty to describe the word. This version has other students guess the word and can be played with partners, teams, or even whole class.
If you are short on time or looking for a little sponge activity to keep things going, a couple rounds of mystery word are just what the doctor called for. The teacher chooses the words or students take turns choosing words and asking questions or describing them.
I love to leave this activity as a sponge activity for guest teachers because it does not require any extra materials and keeps students engaged during those “extra” moments throughout the day.
Use Word Wall Cards to Illustrate and Review
So many times we get caught up with all the things that need to be done in the classroom, and there are a lot, that we forget about some of the simple things which pack a big punch. Another one of my favorite ways to include word wall words in the classroom daily is to have students illustrate the words and then include the illustrated versions on the word wall as well.
This is another great sponge activity because it does not have to be done at one time, or even be done by all students. At the same time, it is a great way to involve students in their learning environment. I would encourage you to make this a whole group assignment.
To illustrate a word wall word there a ton of options, but my favorite are either having students illustrate exactly what the word means or turning each letter in the word into something representing the word.
Use Word Wall Cards to Play Review Games
Review games are big winners with students and teachers alike because let’s face it, gamification works.
Review games can be used for a quick sponge activity, as a literacy center or station, or as part of small group instruction. The beauty of vocabulary games, in particular, is once you learn the rules, you can use them over and over again with different words.
Vocabulary games can also be as simple or as complicated as you desire. One of the easiest games to prep and play is Match Up! To play this game you just need words and definitions. Students are each assigned a word or definition and then try to find the partner with their match.
For more vocabulary games check out the links below:
Where Do I Find Word Wall Cards?
You can find word wall cards in my TeachersPayTeachers store for the following topics:
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