Strategies for Vocabulary Development- Word Walls and Word Maps

Target Learner Population: Grade 10 and 11 students at Chinese high school in the international department. 

Learning Goals: I will implement Word Walls and Word Maps in 2021-2022 academic school year. This is my plan for how I will use them in my English classes.

Word Wall

We have a large wall at the back of the class where we can creat a Word Wall for the vocabulary words they need to learn for their final Chinese exams. We use the CET-4 Chinese Vocabulary (Green) Book for grade 10 and 11. This text is government mandated for all grade 10 and 11 learners. Each week they work on a word list of approximately 30-50 words. They must know the words in Chinese and English and the definitions. I work with them to develop context about the words, create lists of synonyms, antonyms, and help them with incorporating the words into grammatically correct sentence structure. We can choose more difficult words to be added to the word wall at the end of each week to create a continuum of the most challenging words to work with in the following weeks and throughout each unit. As they become known we can remove some to create space for additional words added each week. I will create large block letter printouts and definitions to pin up on the word wall. Practice will be using the most challenging words for games like Pictionary or even Charades and poster making activities to help build context and memory through languaging and visualization. They will also use these words for writing activities and incorporate the relevant words into other lessons with writing. At the end of each week the students take spelling and vocabulary tests with their Chinese teachers using the words from the green book. Our activities are a great way for them to build their vocabulary in a fun and visual manner. 

Word Map

I liked the activity as presented by the teacher in our video activity. I will modify this lesson style to use the CET-4 words and have them work in a similar fashion with the words that are most difficult. Some of the vocabulary words are generally known so we will have enough to work with for definitions, creating visuals, identifying synonyms and antonyms, and writing sentences with the words. We can pin up the visuals as well on our large wall where we have the Word Wall as we can break it into a few sections to showcase their work. I will use the Word Wall and Word Maps as cues when I am giving lessons to incorporate the words into my explanations and activities for my students.

Further Reading

Word Walls

Word Maps

Word Walls in Spanish Instruction

5 Total Physical Response (TPR) Activities

Interactive Word Walls





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Educator and published author of conflict management and children's books. Living life to its fullest. I believe in courageously honouring my truth and living my legacy. Lover of meaningful conversations, coffee, food, art, and building connections. I love writing about my fascination with culture, food, adventure, self-love, and living a healthy and organized life!

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