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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Hewett

Word Walls

Originally posted on

One of my classes really seem to struggle to remember and use key terms in their work. My focus this term has been to develop their use of and revise key terminology.

This week I tried out ‘Word Walls’. As a starter task students quite simply drew a wall of 6 bricks and filled each brick with a key word/term they knew the meaning of.  The more able were encouraged to add more bricks to their wall.

In the next step they highlighted 3 bricks and passed their book to a friend. Pupils then had to write a definition for each of the highlighted terms. If they didn’t know the meaning they were encouraged to use their friends book to find the answer. Failing that they could ask somebody else in the room. Once complete they returned their books and confirmed whether or not the definitions were correct. They were encouraged then to use these key terms in their work.

Having reflected on the task I’ve thought of so many other ways this could be developed. In fact I’m thinking I might do this with plastic bricks and whiteboard pens. As a class each time a pupil uses a key term appropriately they get to write it on a brick and add it to the wall. I’m sure this male heavy group will love the challenge of getting it as high as possible.

Some other uses

– At the start of topic add already known topic vocabulary and then add to the wall as their vocabulary develops throughout the topic – As a starter put a letter in each brick, pupils to find a topical key word starting with each letter – Pupils or the teacher could fill the word wall with key words to be used in a lesson or during a piece of extended writing as a type of success criteria, tick off as they are used. – As a started pupils could fill the word wall template to provide a friend with words to use during the lesson, sort of like a word wall bingo card. – Start the lesson with a blank word wall worksheet, each time a key term is used verbally pupils add it to the wall. Add more bricks as required.

Follow Up

I later made use of this idea again with 2 year 8 classes and the plastic bricks. To be honest I experimented with the concept, both lessons were very different, first lesson had a focus on questioning whilst the second lesson had a focus on using key terms. Both turned out to be effective in their purpose. My pupils even suggested using the activity before assessments to revise and develop their understanding of key words.

Here’s one example…

word wall

The group started with two key words from the starter task and had to add 3 more that related. They went on to write questions that gave each word as an answer to quiz the class. They later swapped their bricks and used the words to write a PEE paragraph about the topic ensuring they included the words in their wall.

Definitely one to be used again.

Mrs Humanities
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