**OK, he was right**

Before making the jump to Special Education Algebra 2, I taught mainstream Algebra and Algebra 2 in Boston. When I was there, I taught next to a Geometry teacher who would later go on to become Teacher of the Year. Lining the walls of his high school Geometry classroom, from floor to ceiling, were vocabulary words with drawings and examples. At the time I thought it was a bit extreme. I mean, aren't these kids in high school?

**Little kids, big bodies**

When my husband moved from teaching elementary school to high school he was a little worried. I told him that "high schoolers are just little kids in big kid bodies." In this way, they need word walls just as much as the little ones do. For me, adding references to my walls not only made my classroom more a more inviting place to learn, it also made it one giant reference sheet and lowered my students' anxiety levels a whole bunch. And the kids

__REALLY__appreciate everything about a wordwall - from the help it gives them to the care they know you took putting it together.

**Picture, picture**

At the end of last week in the extreme heat, I snapped a few photos of the word walls in my classroom. Since starting at my current school 4 years ago, I have taught Geometry, Biology and Algebra 2. Since Algebra 1 is just so darned important, we have references for it, too. Here are some photos of the word walls in my classroom.

**Oh Geometry, dear Geometry**

First up is [part of] our Geometry word wall. Here you can see an anchor chart for drawing and naming points, lines and segments. The poster below it helps students remember different angle pair relationships. I do really love the bottom poster because it fun to make from cut colored paper.

I recently made a Geometry word wall and a super sweet teacher sent me this photo of it hanging in her classroom:

Here is a closeup of the transformations section:

When I taught Geometry, transformations were always one of the harder topics.

I recently made a Geometry word wall and a super sweet teacher sent me this photo of it hanging in her classroom:

Here is a closeup of the transformations section:

When I taught Geometry, transformations were always one of the harder topics.

**Math hodgepodge, oh yeah**

Next up is our wall of Algebra, Geometry and Algebra 2 formulas. I like to think of this wall as "the hodgepodge", and in my mind it works because kids think it's awesome to see formulas from all their Math classes hanging out together:) The PEMDAS, slope formula, y=mx+b, and green exponents posters are all also made from cut colored paper like the angle pairs poster in the previous photo. Here's a close up of the exponents posters:

I made the exponent rules posters out of cut paper too and like the way they haven't faded. They're going on 5 years old at this point!

And last but not least, our Algebra 2 word wall, which of course is my favorite because of how much I love Algebra 2. Here's a photo of what's on the very left in that photo above (the part that is cut off).

**Wahoo Algebra 2**And last but not least, our Algebra 2 word wall, which of course is my favorite because of how much I love Algebra 2. Here's a photo of what's on the very left in that photo above (the part that is cut off).

And of course it's Algebra 2 so we need a Quadratic Formula anchor chart. My students were able to use this one a lot more effectively once I added the white-out to the a, b and c in the formula.

I recently added digital versions of these 3 nonlinear anchor charts to my Algebra 2 Word Wall, downloadable in my store on Teachers pay Teachers. The download also includes visuals for domain, range, increasing and decreasing in interval notation and vertex, axis of symmetry and zeros. You can find the word wall here.

I love catching students glancing over at our word walls for hints. To me, knowing how to access information is just as important as the information itself. Well, except for multiplication facts, but that's a whole other story!

**Anchor Charts**

Every year I add more and more to our word wall. The more I add, the lower my students' anxiety levels and the easier it then is for me to teach. One of the posters that worked especially well during our combined graphing calculator/projectile motion unit - a unit that was VERY hard at first for my students - was this one.

It shows good cursor placements for finding maximum points and zeros. My students get confused by "left bound" and "right bound" and this poster all but completely eliminated this major stumbling block. You can download it from the sidebar for free and read about how to make it into a big poster (like in the photo of our wordwall) here.

These factoring anchor charts hang in my room to remind my students how to factor trinomials and binomials. I always find my students have a harder time retaining how to factor binomials than trinomials! There are some factoring reminder posters in my store if you'd like to check them out.

**Decorating with student work**

In an earlier post I wrote about an area of our classroom called "The Fridge", an area in our classroom where students can proudly display their work. This builds confidence, something my students often lack. Another nice idea is to incorporate student work right into the classroom decor itself. Here is a FREE Order of Operations Math pennant. Students complete the problems on each pennant (there are 30) and you can decorate your room with them!

These Math pennants are a fun way for students to practice their Math while also jazzing up classroom decor. Kids love them! Teachers too!

**The Language of Math**

This Language of Math poster. I know, I know, this poster is a hot mess BUT it works! (You can follow that link to a free digital version that's a lot less mesy:) When kids start seeing Math as a language that can be translated into symbols... WHOA watch out World! :)

**Math Word Walls for download**

Do you keep these up all year or change them up throughout? I love this!

ReplyDeleteWe end up piling papers on top of others as the year goes on. A lot of the magnets are those really strong small ones that you get at hubby stores (at least that's where my husband got them before I stole them:). My classes are small so this probably works better than if I had 5 classes of 30 kids each. I can imagine things getting a little crazy then!

DeleteHow about 6 classes of 30-38?! :(

DeleteI can't even imagine. I had a class larger than that once... it was impossible for me to find any success when there weren't even enough seats. To have 6 classes that large? I commend you!

DeleteDo you start off the year blank? And as the year goes on add stuff as you cover content? I would love to do something like this this year. The kids appreciate an awesome looking classroom like this!

ReplyDeleteThanks for the ideas!!

Hi Elizabeth! I leave it all up all year. This way I figure it may add a little background knowledge (or at least some familiarity) before we get to the topic.

DeleteHi! I was wondering what you do during assessments? Do you cover the word walls?

ReplyDeleteHi Anmaree, To me, knowing how to access and use information is more important than memorization. I never cover them up. That being said, I would have to cover them if my kids had to take state exams. I'm lucky that I teach 11th and 12th grades and our state exams end in 10th grade.

DeleteWow, I love this! Making a creative and informative space is so fantastic at all levels.

ReplyDeleteThank you so much Betsy! It makes teaching a whole lot easier too:) Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

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