Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Power of A Word Wall in the Language Classroom

 Teaching in a Late French Immersion classroom has truly taught me the value of having a word wall.  I teach in a school where I don't have my own classroom space due to shortage of spaces.  Instead, we share our classroom spaces with other teachers.  I mostly teach French Language Arts in one classroom on the 3rd floor.  This is where I have set up my word wall.  I am very grateful for having a supportive teacher in that space to let me take up a fair chunk of the white board for it!

A word wall is powerful because it provides students with vocabulary they are learning.  It helps them associate words with images if you use pictures with your words (as shown above).  Having a word wall also helps improve word recognition for students.  We have been using words in class that we have learned in September that students still recall without seeing on our word wall anymore.  

If you are like me and are tight on time, I would strongly recommend purchasing word wall cards from sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers.  I found the pictured French winter vocabulary cards on TpT courtesy of Primary French Immersion.  You will find a ton of great French language resources over there.  I also purchased an Amazon Basics laminator to use at home for laminating these gems and magnetic sheets for cutting into pieces and attaching to my word wall cards so they can stick to the whiteboard.  I purchased both items on Amazon.

I realize some teachers may prefer creating their own resources instead of purchasing them.  If you have time and motivation to devote to creating your resources, that is awesome.  After teaching French Immersion for several years, I've learned that I prefer the convenience of purchasing high quality resources online at affordable prices.  That leaves me time to pursue other things and have more quality time with my family.  

We are exploring French winter vocabulary for most of January.  Students are using the vocabulary words to write about a winter-themed topic, to study for our weekly dictées, and to play password (where the word is placed on the board and a student must ask 5 questions to guess what it is).  Having a word wall also takes out the need for students to constantly guess how to spell a word we are studying.  Instead, they can refer to the board for its correct spelling, also helping them solidify their recall of the word being used.

If you are new to creating a word wall, I would suggest to even start as simple as creating a space where you can either write up the words (on a white board) or have paper cut into strips that can have new vocabulary written on them and attached to a word wall on a bulletin board.  Have some of your artistically inclined students draw simple illustrations for vocabulary words that you place on your word wall.  Give students ownership of adding words to the wall that they are writing with!  At times, I have added words students want to use on my word wall in dry erase marker.

Word walls are very beneficial to French Immersion students so go ahead and take up some extra space on that whiteboard or bulletin board for your word wall!  It will be a valuable tool for your students as they navigate the French language.