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My Inquiry:

Thanks to all of you who wrote about your library word walls, I'm thinking 
about an article.  Some of you mentioned interesting ways that you use your 
word walls in your posts to me.  Any one else want to share why you have a 
word wall or what uses you make of it with your kids?

Our campus really pushes 4Blocks across the district.  One of the ways that 
we communicate with parents that the library is also instructional is that 
we look like the other classrooms on campus-- with a wordwall and 
everything.  The advantage I've seen since we've been intentional about 
putting them up this year especially, is that kids will look at the 
alphabet all the time while trying to find a book on the shelf.  It helps 
them so much in the fiction section, that I'm going to put up a number line 
in the Dewey section to help my visual learners decide which way to go to 
locate something with numbers in the call number.

I have a word wall, too. I had a practicum student a couple of years ago,
and that was one of the assignments I gave her. She color-coded it (her
idea -- printed words on different colors of some bright oaktag) by types
of words (tech, genre, reference, etc.). We covered an old, ugly green
chalkboard with white paper and then taped the words on there and put some
Dr. Seuss bulletin board border around it. It looks so much better than
that old ugly chalkboard!

I have used it to play lotto (an idea from lm_net). Each child made a
tic-tac-toe board on a scrap piece of paper by drawing two lines across
and two lines down. Then they programmed their own cards. Then I called
out the words and the first to get three across (like tic-tac-toe) won a
prize. Of course, as I called them out, we discussed each one.

Many times when I have been teaching a lesson, the kids will point out
that a word that I mentioned is on the word wall. It's become a fixture
and I'm really glad I finally had someone who could help me get it done!
Now if I could just get another practicum student!

in my new library I don't have a word wall, I have word columns.
They are currently being used for genres and their definitions. It allows
the seventh and eighth graders to "learn" what they haven't been "taught".
I like the columns, 3D. Will use them more next year, as my website and
moodle courses have more information.

Okay, I'll admit it I don't really get Word Walls.  I mean of course I 
understand what you are saying about using them, but they don't "do 
anything" for me.  In the meantime though let me tell you about my 
Kindergarten poetry wall.

I started this last Fall.  I have 3 kindergarten classes that visit each 
Friday.  We have storytime that incorporates curriculum lessons.  I added 
The Poetry Wall.  Each week or every other week I shared a poem that fit 
our theme (apples, falling leaves, puppies, kitties, holidays, etc.) and 
put it on the wall.  Over time we have a collection that draws the 
attention of other library users.  The kindergarten students learned oral 
response techniques, memorization skills, and added to their 
vocabulary.  The kitten poem used parts of speech (pouncing, purring, 
pawing), and they learned motions to support the memorization 
process.  There was also a bit of characterization in these activities.  It 
has been so successful I will do this at my new school next year.

Anyway, it took about 3 years for classroom lexicon techniques to make 
sense to me in the scheme of classroom structure, so I'll patiently wait 
for Word Walls to make sense, too.

I have hanging books with genres on them so that we we discuss a genre - 
mystery, historical, biography, fantasy, the genre label gets velcroed to 
the book.  I think word walls are great because we reinforce "our" 
vocabulary with the kids.  Also wordwalls by the catalog make our lives easier!

Our reading teachers are asking all the specialists to create word walls.So 
in the LMC,she suggested that I could use words like index, table of 
contents, Destiny etc...words that children should know and use in the 
library or the search process.
One of my problems in doing this is that I have very few open walls.
I could put some words over the top of the book shelves, but I am not sure 
if they would be seen by the students. I would be very interested in seeing 
your hit. My word walls are not up...they are a thought at the moment.

Toni Buzzeo, MA, MLIS <>
Maine Library Media Specialist of the Year Emerita
Maine Association of School Libraries Board Member
Buxton, ME 04093  

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