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Spanish Classroom Word Wall

After year one of teaching I knew that I somehow needed to find a way to reinforce the high frequency words, since students were always struggling with remembering words like but, if and of. Inspired by this post from the Creative Language Class discussing the 100 words that make up 50% of conversation, I knew I needed to make these little words a priority, but the question was how?



While in graduate school I spent quite a bit of time subbing, mostly in elementary classes. I was impressed by how every little bit of classroom space was utilized in many elementary classes, and a common feature in many was the "Word Wall." I decided to use the 100 high frequency words as the basis for my own word wall, sorted by letter. You can download the basic 100 Word Wall here. 

While in theory these seemed like a great idea, I failed at actually teaching and incorporating this word wall in my daily lessons. It took up whole board all year, but did students really get as much out of it as they could have? Probably not. So today I took it down, and am trying to figure out how I can do better next year. 

  • Number - Is 100 words too many at once? Should I add a certain number each week?
  • Content - Are these even the words I should be focusing on?
  • Phrases - Should phrases be emphasized instead of individual words?
  • Organization - Should they be sorted by letter? If not, how?
Should I even have a word wall? Or would there be a better use of this space? I would love feedback. :)
-Allison


11 comments

  1. I LOVE the idea of a wall of those little words. I think adding them each week sounds good but adding them in context. Maybe (since its a blackboard) you could make some little mark as you introduce each word and then try to see how many marks you can get by the words in one year? Like how many ways can we use if or but in a structure this year? :) Definitely phrases over words so they naturally pop out when students are talking/writing. Hmmmm... the sorting is an interesting question. I'm interested to see what others think! I'm going to be doing some rearranging this summer, I think I need to give this a try! Thanks for the share!

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    1. Thank you for your input! I love the idea of marking by them as they are introduced, maybe even in multiple colors for the different levels. Do you think they should be translated to English on the wall? I am glad I could help!

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  2. Totally! I've used 2 different types of word walls in my classroom. I use the alphabet chalkboard toppers and then put sentence strips post it notes under the letters.
    1) Cognate Word Wall: If we come across a cognate in a reading, we add it to the board.
    2) Verb Word Wall: includes most common verbs and their translation. Good reference for students

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  3. Thanks for your feedback! On your verb wall are they conjugated or infinitives? I love the idea of a cognate word wall!

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  4. We started a cognate wall this year, and it has been a huge success! Anytime my students see a cognate in our reading or hear me say one, they announce it. I write it on a 1/2 sheet of white copy paper with a marker and the student draws a picture to represent the word. They love it! (And it has definitely drawn their attention to them.)

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    1. I love this idea!! It is awesome that it is the Students who are creating it & that there is a picture instead of a translation. Gracias!

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  5. I've seen this in a lot of elementary classes and couldn't figure out a way to put it in my class. I like this idea a lot! My kids DEFINITELY struggle to retain all of the words they've learned, even basic ones like tener. This is a great idea. Did you write the English and Spanish word on your word wall?

    I think I would do it maybe 10ish words at a time and build up to the whole list. I have all regular students and doing more than 10-20 words at once tends to overload many of them. The same on quizzes. Any more than 20 questions and many of them will give up without even reading the questions, guess, and fail the quiz.

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    1. This past year the words were just in Spanish, but I think next year I will add the English translation for a while when they are new on the wall. I have seen other teachers write in dry erase on the laminated words in English, and then erase later in the year.

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  6. have you thought about categorizing words by part of speech? that's what i'm thinking of doing for this year. some of my categories (so far) are nombres, verbos conjugados, infinitivos, sustantivos, cognados, cognados falso, preposiciones, adjetivos and i plan on having students add them as they come up.

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    1. Great Idea! I would love to se what you all come up with!

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    2. this my inspiration
      http://media-cache-cd0.pinimg.com/originals/8d/3a/1f/8d3a1f300bbc0d79f4447b6b816adb96.jpg

      i did something similar to this last year but it wasn't as useful as it could have been because there was no organization to it.
      http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/8a/9d/46/8a9d46db50a62c594788da880844b078.jpg

      this is also a good idea....
      http://www.pinterest.com/pin/149252175126103521/

      but i personally like to have my kids participate in creating and adding to it because it is intended as a reference material for them so i always like to get their input & ideas. this year i'm going to title it palabras comunes simply because its accurate and easier to say than palaba de alta frecuencia ;-)

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