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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Interactive Word Walls

 A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet and learn from Julie Jackson. Julie has done extensive research on the integration of science and literacy, vocabulary development and strategies for teaching English Language Learners. The specific topic for our time together was Interactive Word Walls.
An Interactive Word Wall (or IWW...getting tired of typing that already!) has several key components, the most important of which is that it is student generated, unlike many traditional word walls or anchor charts. Additionally, many IWWs are integrated with content areas. These walls support academic vocabulary and because they often include sentence stems, they help children know how to use the vocabulary to successfully communicate their thinking/learning.
Another part of IWWs that I LOVE is that they are organized using graphic organizers such as T-charts for comparing, tree-maps for sorting and classifying, Venn diagrams for finding similarities and differences and flow maps for sequencing and noticing patterns. I have always been a fan of Thinking Maps and really, any sort of advanced organizers. When thoughtfully organized, these walls, in fact, provide an overview of a learning experience illustrating how the pieces all fit together.
I've implemented a few of these walls in the past few weeks and was interested to see how much my students enjoyed building them and how they took pride in the pieces they contributed.
This science IWW was my first attempt. I got the idea from a wall that Julie shared with us during training. Because our school is a STEM school, engineering is part of our curriculum. As we prepare for engineering challenges, we often investigate the properties of the materials that will be used, so this wall was a MUST.  I see opportunities to add to this wall throughout the year.
This 'Forms of Energy' IWW is a great illustration of how the vocabulary and sentence stem components can be used to help students record their thinking/learning (see student writing below).


For this magnet IWW, I used Scotch Restickable Dots and put real items in small ziplock bags. I added a magnet wand so students can predict, test and sort items again and again.

Math Examples


And Language Arts - Grammar
This is a typical anchor chart that I normally use to define and give examples.
After learning about IWWs, we added this component.

2 comments:

Julie Jackson said...

Love your summary and applications. The writing support is amazing and your implementation is STELLAR! You are a "Master Builder!"

Ayn said...

You are amazing! How have you (and the kids) had time to get all of this done? It isn't even February!!