Wordwall with young learners

I wrote an overview of Wordwall last year. Here’s a more practical example of how I actually use Wordwall, rather than just as a load of games… Well, still as a load of games actually, just in a more purposeful way!

I’m teaching a PP1 class at the moment (aged 6/7). This week we were reviewing/learning vocabulary for fruit as the task was creating your own fruit juice (bit random…). So, I started planning by making a Find the Match…

… which took about 3 minutes to make. But this wasn’t the first classroom activity! You see the ‘printables’ bit on the side? One of the options is to turn the Find the Match into a matching handout, like this…

… which could be downloaded as a pdf. I added a few too many fruits so the images were a bit small. Even so, this gave me my ‘smart start’ as we call it – a sort of low-stakes diagnostic activity.

First lesson activity (after intros, routines etc): Learners match as many fruits as they can.

So here comes the slightly annoying bit – take note Wordwall creators (update already: this is in the pipeline apparently!). Wordwall doesn’t have a basic flashcard feature. The Match Up feature is good, but I wanted a simple instructional stage with flashcards, plus my students can’t reach the match ups! So, I resorted to Quizlet. Here’s a giant watermelon flashcard as proof…

Second activity: teach unknown items with Quizlet flashcards. Don’t forget pronunciation! Learners then complete the matching task.

Third activity: have some fun with that handout. Including…

  • Fold it over so you can only see the pictures. Quiz your partner by pointing at an image ‘A: What’s this? B: It’s a…’ etc
  • Memory test. Each item on the handout has a number. Give your partner 5 seconds to revise the handout, then cover, then quiz: ‘A: What’s number 1? B: It’s a…’ keep playing until they get bored (about 3 minutes!).
  • Quickfire colours – your partner must touch a fruit that is the correct colour
  • Spelling test – quiz your partner on the spelling of items (admittedly this was a bit ambitious but some students were pretty good)
  • Questions like ‘A: Do you like [fruit]? B: Yes, I do / No, I don’t’

So far we are about 12 minutes into the lesson. Seriously, teaching 6-year-olds is exhausting.

Fourth activity: Do that Find the Match game! I set the timer for 30 seconds, 4 groups of 3 (so quickfire). A couple of rounds should do the trick.

Check out the ‘Show answers’ feature on Find the Match…

If you do this during your planning time, you can use snipping tool to snip an image of 3 or 4 fruits at a time. Paste them into a flip chart (we use active inspire) and boom, you’ve got…

Your class fly swat game (you know, teacher says word, students swat, or students say… etc)

While they are standing up, a bit of ‘left/right’ or ‘True or False’ TPR side of the room goes down well:

  • Move to the left if you like dragon fruit, move to the right if you don’t
  • True or False, Teacher Pete eats 3 apples a day, move to the right if true, left if false
  • Etc

Fifth activity: spelling

We were doing some writing so we had to get the spelling into play. The anagrams feature on Wordwall can be a tall order, especially for 6 year olds (!). It is also a bit limiting with one person controlling the pen. However, I’ve found so far that students really get in to helping each other.

Elicit the answers first time around, then set a timer (e.g. a countdown of 3 minutes) for students to try and complete the spellings taking turns as a class. I supported my learners with this in two ways prior to the Wordwall anagrams…

  • Word parts – learners match parts of a word (consonants, consonant blends, vowels, etc) to make the whole.
  • A bit of teamwork through my usual spelling race game, but without the racing element and other complexities!

You could actually make the word parts bit on Wordwall as an unjumble.

Anyhow, that’s a real example of how I actually use Wordwall for introducing/consolidating vocab. Planning-wise, I guess it was 10-15 minutes (including the Quizlet set), and class time I guess 30 minutes. Remember though, you’ve got those activities there again and again – great little review tools and engaging activities for a stirrer. Good for homework too, just stick a QR code in the student homework books. There’s a lot more for me to do with the learners around these activities, but Wordwall certainly helps!

I’ve upgraded my Wordwall account by about 1.50 a month for tonnes more features (pelmanism already working well but doesn’t need to be digital). Will update you once I’ve explored them in more detail but looks positive. Here’s hoping Wordwall read this and give me a discount – it’s happened with other tech tools before (thanks ELSA…)!

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