As a new teacher, I had been introduced to Word Walls, but never seemed to get around to making it happen in my classroom. Years later and 3 grades later, I pursued my Masters of Science in Education. One of my first courses was “The Building Blocks of Reading”. We were required to create an anthology of lesson plans that would support literacy in the classroom. By now I was teaching 4th grade. I saw the importance of a Word Wall for the primary grades, but I realized that they were equally important even in 4th grade. So, my first vocabulary lesson was ‘Word Walls’ in order to ‘force’ me to really follow through with this long-time desire of having an interactive Word Wall.
This is the first lesson using a Word Wall for vocabulary. The first of school I introduced the High Frequency Word Wall using the 90 High-Frequency commonly misspelled words often found on intermediate Word Walls (Cunningham, 2004). I also used words that I discovered from my students writings. By the time we got to the following lesson the class had already become familiar with the Word Wall concept.
This lesson is the first of five lessons for one week. Each week the students were introduced to two to three new vocabulary words until eight new words were mastered every month. This continued until all 50 words were introduced. The Four Blocks strategies was taken from Modifying The Four Blocks for Upper Grades and Month-By-Month Phonics for Upper Grades with the bulk of the words from the Nifty Thrifty Fifty list. (Cunningham, 1998). However, I periodically I included words from the basal reader as well as any words that students were struggling with in spelling and/or meanings.
The remaining four lessons included review of words with various activities (IE Be a Mind Reader) and a concentration on new vocabulary words (IE. concentrating on roots, prefixes, suffixes and meanings).
NB: I generally create my own Blackmaster files so that I have ready access to them. If you would like access to them, please leave a comment and I will send you what I have.