4 Important Things to Include on an Algebra 2 Word Wall

Special Education Algebra 2 classroom word wall on a bulletin board


The first thing I hear when telling people I teach Algebra 2 is, "Whoa, that must be hard!", or something along these lines. Then when I tell them it's Special Education, forget about it. If you teach high school, you know that high school kids are just little kids in big bodies and sometimes with even bigger emotions. But I have found that they sometimes like to hide these emotions deep, deep down and that this is especially true in Math. 


special education Algebra

What I want to tell people when they ask what I do for a living is "boost kids' feelings towards Math". Can I make that an official title? All jokes aside, I take this part of my job very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that displaying student work is super important to me. We call the bulletin board where we hang student work "The Fridge". Would you believe most students choose to hang their work over bringing it home? Another fun idea is to integrate student work right into the classroom decor itself with these Math pennants. (You can check out a FREE pennant for Order of Operations here.)



When kids feel confident and successful it makes my job a whole lot easier! 


Word Walls in High School Math
So what's on my Math word wall? 

high school Math word wall

1: Square roots and Squares
This seems like such a small thing, but by 11th grade, very few of my students can rattle off their multiplication tables, which makes factoring very difficult. I originally had just the square numbers posted but my students didn't find that very helpful. Things got better when I added the square roots onto the squares. BTW, kids think "square" is short for "square root". Why oh why must the words be so similar? 

I also have a difference of squares example posted next to my list of square numbers and square roots. This helps my students remember the format for factoring differences of squares. I also posted a list of the prime numbers less than 100. This also helps when factoring.

high school math word wall

2: Equation posters and anchor charts
One of the things I have learned is that using an example to complete a similar problem is a skill that needs developing. Who knew?  I like examples and use them all the time. One of my goals as a teacher is to teach my students to better use examples to solve new problems. I never knew this was a skill that needed developing, but I have found that it does and that example posters help.




Above are two example posters of factored quadratics that students can refer to during our factoring unit. I took this photo right after I painted them! Paint doesn't fade as fast as marker:)


Word wall in Algebra 2

And of course we need a reference for the Quadratic Formula!

high school math word wall
3: Key words
Above is a poster of the keywords students will see when solving quadratic word problems. This one helped us all a whole lot - my students to solve problems and me to not repeat myself 1,000 times! I turned it into that 4-page poster by following these directions.

On the Algebra 2 part of our word wall are references for domain, range, increasing and decreasing with notation references and then graph examples for increasing and decreasing. 


Algebra 2 word wall

Having an example is important so that students get the context of the vocabulary. I point to the graph below (and to the other side of our room where 3 more graphs are) constantly throughout the year to remind students of domain, range, interval notation, how the numbers in the equation relate to the graph and the structure of a nonlinear equation (quadratic, absolute value, radical) and it's graph. 

My students have made the following observations:
"Curvy brackets, curvy graph." (Quadratic)
"The radical graph looks like the square root symbol." (Radical)
"The lines are straight just like the sides of the graph." (Absolute Value).
Algebra 2 word wall

4: Graph examples
Finally, these 3 graphs below are the center of our Algebra 2 classroom. They are graph examples and from them students can derive SO much information. I moved these three graphs to another bulletin board this year in the very front of the room because we reference them constantly.


I also added them to my Algebra 2 word wall download because they are just so integral to all the work we do all year in Algebra 2.


Word Wall in Algebra 2

Here I am coloring to show the link between the graph shifts, the vertex and the equation.



We reference these 3 graphs throughout the entire year. I find these to be better than parent graph posters because kids can see where x and y shifts show up in the equations and what the numbers on the "inside" and "outside" of functions will do to the graphs. 

Every year I have added a little more to our word wall. If you'd like to check out more of my classroom photos, here is how my classroom currently looks. 


Algebra 2 Word WallAlgebra 1 Word Wall

Geometry Word Wall

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2 comments:

  1. Fantastic Post!! We (math teachers at my school) are always looking for word wall ideas that are not boring! GREAT JOB!

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    1. Thank you so much for letting me know (and for reading my post at all - lol!) :)

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