A word wall is pretty much what it sounds like — a classroom wall reserved for a word display. Most teachers associate word walls with emergent readers, but word walls are no longer just the stuff of elementary schools. Word walls can be used effectively to help students at all levels to learn vocabulary.
Probably the most important rule of the word wall is that it should not be simply viewed as an enlarged vocabulary list that has been prominently posted on a wall. It's an interactive work in progress; each word is placed on the wall as it is explicitly taught. Words placed on a word wall should be chosen carefully, limited in number (only 5-10 per week), and then incorporated into classroom lessons and into students' reading and writing. Words can be added to the wall as they are encountered in class reading, as they come up in class discussion, or as students discover them on their own. And once these "curated" words make it to the wall, they should not reside there statically; they should be used as an interactive reference point by teachers and their students.
Now — how can the Visual Thesaurus help you spice up your lackluster word wall? Choose (or have your students choose) a few word-wall-worthy words from a class reading assignment, look the words up in the Visual Thesaurus search box, and then add the Visual Thesaurus word displays for these words onto your word wall. (To print a word display, click on the "PRINT" button on the toolbar. To see printer and page orientation options before printing, press the "Shift" key when you click the print button.)
Care to show off your classroom's word wall? E-mail us a photograph of your word wall and we'll not only display it on our site, we?ll send you a Visual Thesaurus goody to show our appreciation!