Itching for a revamp in your classroom word wall? Overhaul that lifeless, standard vocabulary board you've been sporting in your room and enhance it to become interactive and interesting to students.
First of all, get rid of the title "Word Wall" for your vocabulary list. With the type of kids that we are teaching in this day and age, the choice of words to label your vocabulary list just exudes a limp and flat vibe. Know the profile of your kids and get clues from their interests and hobbies as to how you should term the word list. For instance, if your class consist mostly of Harry Potter fans, call your word wall "Word from the Wand" and design the layout of your board in such a way that the words are in balloons emanating from the tips of wands. Use pale manila paper as your parchment, and adorn the borders with owls, Mad-eye Moody's eyes pretending to read books, etc.
Your 4th grade word wall should have four areas: (1) where the actual words from wands would be posted (on the left side), (2) each word's definition from the dialog bubbles of owls, mice, or any magical pet (right side across the words), (3) any Harry Potter wizard with a dialog bubble using one of the featured words in a sentence (lower left), and on the lower right, the Featured Wizard of the Week (may be any of your students you choose to be featured) with a dialog bubble of him/her using a word in a sentence, just like the wizard beside him/her.
An Interesting Addition
Remember how the goblet of fire spewed the names of the chosen school of magic students who would compete in the Tri-Wizard Cup? Have your very own goblet of fire in the classroom, too! Everyday, the students will drop a strip of paper containing their name and own sentence with the usage of one of the featured words. At the end of each week, choose the best sentence, this being the "chosen one" by the goblet, and the one to be featured in the next Wizard of the Week.
Hands-on for the Students
The most important aspect in creating the word wall is building it with your students. Make the word wall meaningful and significant to them by letting them be a part of its "birth" and "growth." Then, as new words come up, ask volunteers to be the one to post the words inside the wand bubbles. Assign students who will be in charge keeping peace and order as your students start to drop their sentence strips in the goblet. Once in a while, you may also even feature Wizard Shout-out's instead of the featured wizard of the week. The Wizard Shout-out's will feature what your students think of their Word from the Wand board and how it is helping them learn.
The key to making your 4th grade word wall a success is by keeping in mind that it is the students' interest that you need to appeal to. Making them feel a part of something that greatly interests them is a sure way to make your word wall a hit in your classroom.