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Beyond the Word Wall: Interactive Word Walls as a Literacy Tool

Presentation on "Interactive Word Walls: More than Just Reading the Writing on the Walls," by Janis M. Harmon, Karen D. Wood, Wanda B. Hedrick, Jean Vintinner, and Terri Willeford

Katharina Snyder

on 31 October 2012

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Transcript of Beyond the Word Wall: Interactive Word Walls as a Literacy Tool

Interactive Word Walls as a Literacy Tool Beyond the Word Wall The Study Participants:
-44 seventh graders in two sections of reading with the same teacher
-suburban middle school in Texas
-63% white, 30% Hispanic, 7% biracial and Asian
-3 special education students in each class
-wide range of reading abilities Students' Initial Perceptions -only 43.1% of students used the term "word Wall" and 12% could not identify the word wall
-60% understood that word walls are for learning new vocabulary
-when asked how a word wall helps with word meanings, over 50% had no answer or thought it was not helpful
-1tool"6% said it was only beneficial if they already knew the word meanings
-Yet 80% of the students felt they are "an important classroom tool"
-Other responses indicate the they considered word walls a display of what they would learn. Knowing Words -knowledge of words exists on a continuum
-comprehension requires at least a general knowledge of a word 44
graders What's a word wall? no knowledge <> some knowledge <> thorough knowledge Method:
-23 students in one section self-selected words (Group A)
* Participated in small-group and whole-class activities
* Instructional practice emphasized "multiple exposures to meaningful contexts beyond word definitions"

-21 students in the other section continued with regular vocabulary program (Group B)
* learned through activities in a "commercial vocabulary workbook" Group A self-selected vocabulary words.
Group B used a vocabulary workbook. multiple exposures
different contexts associative learning -enable students to learn the different contexts in which different words are used
-embedded in instruction when students do different activities -students learn by making connections to their own lives defining words
writing sentences ineffective according to research Features:
-"rich instruction": students are exposed to "multiple, varied, and meaningful encounters with words"
-opportunities to "actively manipulate and apply word meanings" in a variety of ways
-offers student choice (fosters intrinsic motivation)
-includes a social aspect The Interactive Word Wall How It Works:
1. With guidance from the instructor, students choose three words. They may find their words anywhere, but they must be useful words (see Beck, McKeown, and Kucan's criteria).
2. Students present their words to small groups, in which five words are selected and presented to the class. The class then chooses ten words and the teacher chooses two. Each small group is then assigned two words.
3. In groups, the students assign a color to each word and define it in three ways (with brief definitions, examples, synonyms, and antonyms). They record this on posters and present them to the class. The word is re-written in the color assigned to it.
4. Students then create symbols for each word and write sentence completions. The groups draw the symbol on an index card to place on the word wall.
5. Students then come up with a situation or context for the word, illustrate it, and write a sentence about it.
6. Once the above tasks are complete, students presented the information to the class and attach the word, symbol, and illustration to the word wall. Level 1: I have never seen this word.
Level 2: I think I have seen this word, but I don't know what it means
Level 3: I have seen this word, and it has something to do with...
Level 4: I know this word. I can use it in my speaking, reading, writing, and listening. Choosing Useful Words
How useful is the word? Can you use the word in different situations or contexts?
Is the word used frequently? Do you think the word can appear in different texts?
Is the word's meaning easy to explain in everyday language?
does the word refer to something concrete or abstract?
Does the word have multiple meanings?
Does the word have a prefix, suffix, or identifiable root? (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002; Graves, 2006) (Baumann et al., 2003) second Interview:
-Asked similar questions to those in the initial interview
-Students compared two pictures: one of a word wall with only the words and one of the wall they created
-All students stated that the wall they created was more helpful
-Prompted students to consider additional contexts for the words
-Many students began using the word wall without prompting
-The majority enjoyed participating in the activities
-In particular, they enjoyed having some control, responsibility, and a voice.
-Students also enjoyed the collaboration and teaching each other. The Results Achievement Results:
-No significant differences on initial scores between Group A and Group B
-Another test was given without warning two weeks after the last lesson.
-On the delayed test, Group A students achieved higher scores on the application and sentence completion sections, which each demonstrate a deeper understanding of the words than the definition alone. Students enjoyed the interactive word wall
earned higher scores on a test given two weeks after the lesson. Students unanimously favored the interactive word wall over a wall with only the words Small Group Adaptation:
1. Select a word from the passage and fill out the chart. Share your word with the group.
2. Assign the word a color.
3. Define the word in three ways, using a short definition, synonyms, antonyms, or an example. You may only use each method once.
4. Present your word, color, and definitions to the rest of the group.
5. Choose a symbol for your word.
6. Imagine a context for using your word. Write a sentence about and/or draw an illustration of it.
7. Share your word and choices with the rest of the group. Let's Try It! Excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"—
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore." The word wall used in the interview (photo by Janis M. Harmon) The interactive word wall
(photo by Janis M. Harmon) Definition
1. synonym: awkward
2. brief definition: has weird shape/size
3. antonym: graceful

The ungainly box was bulky and hard to carry upstairs.
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