Many teachers use word walls to build student vocabulary. Robert Marzano in Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement describes a word wall as an "ongoing, organized display of key words that provides visual reference for students throughout a unit of study or a term." Word walls are a powerful way to reinforce the repetition necessary to build student vocabulary, and they provide a visual for vocabulary development.
A strategy worth considering is challenging your students to create digital word walls. Using a tool like Padlet provides an opportunity for the "wall" to go anywhere with the student. That visual is now mobile!
I've included a short example of how you might use Padlet to create a word wall. I used some geometry terms in this particular case, but you could do this with vocabulary from any content area. As students build word walls, challenge them to play with the words. Here are some different ways students can construct meaning:
- Associate images
- Create analogies
- Write definitions in their own words and then compare with the formal definition
- Generate examples and non-examples
- Create word shapes
- Break down the meaning of roots, prefixes, and suffixes
I've illustrated some of these methods in the example below. Scroll the padlet to see several word examples.
Marzano, Robert J. Building Background Knowledge for Academic Achievement: Research on What Works in Schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2004. Print.