Friday, 16 December 2016

From my reading, creating word walls is often listed as a strategy to help ELL students, which makes sense. However, I have questioned the value of creating a word wall for PE, especially when we often teach a class in a different location each week, and inside the gym, there is no space for displays. We have a shared portable white board which we have used to wheel out to classes and post words and concepts onto it, but this is not the most practical solution for creating even a semi-permeant word wall.

In the last few weeks we now have an Elementary PE notice board, placed outside the gym, next to where many students eat their morning snack. On this board we are creating a word wall. However, as it is not in our teaching environments and short of walking the students over to the board every time we want to point out a word, this particular wall requires the students to independently look at it. I wonder if just a list of words will really help ELL students in this situation?
One solution might be to make the wall more inviting to look at. Rather than just a list of words, for our athletics unit we are experimenting with a more images on the word wall. We are doing this by taking a photo of the equipment or the student performing an event, put the name the picture and underneath one teaching point that we have been using with the students. Hopefully as the students enjoy looking at pictures of themselves performing, they will go over to look at it. The next stage will be try to evaluate if the students are going to and looking at the wall.

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