The Wondrous Word Wall

Today, we are going to begin a Word Wall.  The purpose of the Word Wall is to help everyone in this classroom (yep, including Ms. Spachman) expand their vocabulary.  This Word Wall goes beyond just your basic rote memorization of a word because doing that doesn’t usually keep the word in your head long-term.  Instead, the Word Wall is meant to build a context for understanding the word in multiple ways: by seeing the word in use, by gathering other words that relate to the word (synonyms & antonyms), by looking at the history of the word, putting pictures with the word, and more.

Here’s how it works:  Once a week, on Wednesday, we’ll pick a new word out of the “word hat” (sorry, it’s a figurative hat, not a real one).  Each of these words (at least to start) will be from our Human Types vocabulary list.  As a class, we’ll locate that word on the list, discuss its definition, practice saying and hearing the word, and start making a word web for the word where we make connections between that word and things we already know or have seen.  After class, Ms. Spachman will put this “word web” up on the back bulletin board, a.k.a. our Word Wall.

During the week after a word has been introduced in class, you should do two things:

#1 Be hyper aware of that word and look for ways to expand your understanding of it.  This can include any of the following:

·         Find the word in something that you’re “reading” (this includes advertisements, songs, commercials, etc) and bring a small part of that text in where the word appears (with proper citation—meaning info about where you found it).  By “bringing it in,” I mean type or neatly write in large letters this piece of text (and its citation), bold or otherwise emphasize the vocabulary word, put your name on the back, and give it to Ms. Spachman to add to the Word Wall.

·         Draw a picture to illustrate the vocabulary word’s meaning.  Put your name on it and give to Ms. Spachman for the Word Wall.

·         Find synonyms or antonyms for the vocabulary word (not just those listed on the Human Types list by the definition of the word).  Type or neatly write in large letters the synonym/antonym, write out its definition, and label whether it is a synonym or an antonym.  Put your name on it and give to Ms. Spachman for the Word Wall.

·         Find or create sayings that can be associated with the vocabulary word and type/neatly write it in large letters. Example for optimist:  “An optimist always sees the glass half full” (found saying) or “An optimist always sees the sunshine through the rain” (made up saying).  Put your name on it and give it to Ms. Spachman for the Word Wall.

·         The word in another language.  For example, bring in the most precise word for the vocabulary word in Spanish?  Write the word (other language), explain the word (in English), and tell us which language the new word is from.

·         The picture or description of a real, well-known person who very clearly represents the word with a short explanation of why they represent it.

[Although this should be obvious: please make your contributions to the Word Wall school-appropriate.]


#2 Study the Word Wall, especially as new things are added.  Ask questions of Ms. Spachman and your classmates to better understand the vocabulary word.



You must bring in something (see #1 above) for a minimum of 4 words during this quarter.  Be conscious of repeats!  Don’t bring in something that someone already put on the wall!  You must turn in your work for a certain word no later than the Wednesday after the word was introduced.


Keep on top of the words and developing your understanding of them.  It is highly recommended that you copy down the web on the Word Wall as it grows for each word so you can study it long term.  The Word Wall will be changed after class every Wednesday.  You never know when there will be a pop quiz or, perhaps, Jeopardy.