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Math Word Wall
How to organize a word wall ?
Organization is always important! It can make or break our lessons and the cohesiveness of a classroom environment. Word Walls should be a constant reference for students to be able to be reminded of the words meaning, spelling, or proper use. While word walls are commonly used and expected in Reading classrooms, more and more they are being used in Math classes as well. Many teachers use alphabetical order as their organization tool. This is where they start at the beginning of the year with alphabets on the wall and throughout the year they add words under the first letters. Others figure out ways to make the learning more interactive where students can reach the words and use them in workstations. In my math class I categorize my word wall by skill and students refer bake to it as an anchor or as a guide to help them with their independent practice. The best thing to do is to think about how your students could benefit best from learning and interacting with math vocabulary words. Once you figure out your students needs then you can utilize a math word wall in effective way. For testing grade levels, having a constant reminder of what words mean and having them organized helps them remember important terms when they are testing.
Illustrations bring the Words to life!
Just placing a word on the wall can be beneficial, but imagine the word has a picture and a definition. The more clearly the word is described the better it guides a student's understanding! In my classroom many students struggle with reading on grade level and find math hard because they not only have to be able to computation they also have to be able to read for understanding. Many students are good at arithmetic but because of their reading deficit they struggle with word problems and word meaning. Keeping this in mind I find it necessary in a math class to represent vocabulary with illustrations and with language that they see in their problems and that they can expect to see on district and state exams.
Add the language that is used when teaching!
Many times teachers say little phrases when challenging vocabulary come u to help students make meaning.For example, a teacher guides kids to think about change or cents when adding decimals. The word decimal coupled with a phrase about money will serve as a reminder when students are working independently.
Some words like difference in math word problems can be expressed with different terms. To say that it only means the subtracted amount can be misleading so showing students a bar model with terms that can remind them of difference will help kids make meaning.
Work Smart! Save your word wall for the next time
Laminating your words and organizing them by unit or subject helps the teacher re use a word wall and add to it from year to year. Also if the wall is interactive kids can pull the words to use in their groups and not worry about the words tearing up quickly.