I've tried so many different methods to run my word wall and it has, at times, become useless. I've finally come up with a way to make word walls work effectively in the classroom.

Make It Comprehensive

The first thing I learned was to use one word wall to contain all the vocabulary words from all the subject areas. I used to have a word wall, but also a science word bank, and a literary terms chart, etc. Now, I put all the words on the wall. This makes it more up-to-date and useful for the students.

Solicit Student Submissions

I also have added an interactive feature to the wall. I add words to the wall when I have time and find it necessary, but occasionally students come up with more words to put on the wall. Below the word wall, I keep two small baskets. One basket contains blank slips of paper and black Sharpies. The students take a piece of paper and marker and write the word they want to add and their name on the paper and place it in the other small basket. I check the basket about once a day and add the words to the wall. If there is a spelling mistake, I ask the student to rewrite the word.

I feel these ideas ensure the word wall has a purpose. It is not forgotten and is, therefore, more useful.