When I started my teaching career as an ESL teacher, I knew that my students needed to have visuals to go along with the words they were learning. Our department had purchased some sight word cards that had pictures to go along with each word which is where I got my inspiration. They were wonderful...I just wish I could remember what company they were from!
I taught 2nd & 4th then, so each had their own word wall. I used the vocabulary and/or sight words from their story of the week to guide me. For each word I would try to think of a story to go along with it so my students could look at the picture and remember the word. Just this past week one of my 1st graders didn't know how to read 'saw' until I had her look at the picture card and she knew it. It has really worked wonders!
*I'm very far from a good drawer...students laugh at my artistic abilities frequently but I've taught them that as long as I give it my best shot then that's all that matters. : ) *
At the end of the year I asked my students what they liked best about ESL. One of my 4th graders said that he liked how we learned our vocabulary words because he didn't have to read a definition in the dictionary that was too confusing to help him. I also had my classes compete against each other for actually using these vocabulary words in every day conversation. It was cute hearing students say that they were parched and needed a drink instead of just saying thirsty or that they were longing for the weekend to get here. : )
I love this system and have done it for 4 years now. Here's a look at this weeks word wall words. My goal next year is to incorporate more academic vocabulary into my word wall. Is there anything that's working really well for you? I'd love to hear all about it!