Vocabulary is an important part of learning and social interactions. The more words children know, the more they are able to understand what they read and hear, and the better able they are to communicate. Have you ever felt frustrated not having the right word? Sometimes it’s a matter of recall – we simply can’t remember the word. But often, we just don’t know the word, leaving us unable to effectively express ourselves. Vocabulary building is so important, it is a central part of the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum lesson plans.
There are several ways you can extend the lessons and help children build vocabulary skills. One of these is creating a Wall of Words
Walls of Words are common in classrooms, and often include students’ names; some teachers begin the year having all students’ names on the wall, or, one name is added each day, making the process an exciting and interactive event for the students. The inclusion of students’ names on word walls can be part of the first theme in the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum, Achieving Awareness. It can be used to introduce students to one another at the beginning of the year and later inspire such games as “what’s in a name” where students think about the origin of first and last names.
There are no rules to creating Walls of Words, just creativity and imagination. Some classrooms have a main word wall for core words and another smaller area, or several areas, for other words.
After pasting students’ names on the wall, you may include each lesson’s vocabulary words, adding the words at the beginning or end of the lesson.
One of the smaller walls, or part of the wall, can be designated for Feeling Words, to capitalize on social and emotional learning. Or, several smaller walls can be created for each of the five themes in the Mutt-i-grees® Curriculum.
Although word walls can be effective, they may become part of the background that’s hardly noticed. Here are some tips to ensure this doesn’t happen:
- The creation and maintenance of word walls should be interactive; discuss the purpose of word walls with students and have students cut out the letters and paste the words on the wall.
- Words should be placed within students’ reach. Refer to the words frequently and ask students to walk up to and touch the words.
- Add to or change the main word wall and smaller word walls to reflect changes in the curriculum and ensure that the words are relevant.