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Supporting Learning Through Effective Working Walls


Supporting Learning Through Effective Working Walls



A working wall is an interactive display that teachers use in their classroom to help support and motivate children with their learning. They are very different to displays which celebrate neat, finished pieces of work from the end of a unit. Instead they are more like a 'working document' which are added to throughout a unit as learning progresses. Indeed, a good working wall will begin almost blank at the start of a unit but by the end will show each step in the learning journey.

We believe at Montem Academy, that the classroom environment is a powerful learning tool and working walls can very much be part of this. By looking at a working wall, children can be reminded of what they have learnt, see good models of how to do something or what they are aiming for and find useful vocabulary. They may also be used in an interactive way in which children's ideas may be displayed. Sticky notes can be really useful for this.
Traditional displays, where children's work is mounted neatly and displayed on a more permanent basis, are still incredibly valued at Montem are celebrated through high quality displays across the school. This type of display helps to set the high standard of work expected and can help give learning a purpose. It is also incredibly motivational for a child to see something they have made taken and displayed by their teacher.


Working walls should be changed at the start of a new unit of work and must be added to throughout the unit reflecting the learning that has taken place, knowledge and skills learnt, ideas, questions generated, new vocabulary and excellent examples to consolidate and support new and future learning. They are not to be completed at the end of the unit of work. 

Working wall should be added to throughout the lesson and whilst pride and presentation is expected in all that we do, the creation of timely new  materials is not, however, the photocopying of pupils work or the printing of additional information may be required to support he pupils learning and the effectiveness of the working wall. Furthermore working walls should be referred to throughout a lesson and unit of work. 

Included on a working wall could be the following things:

1. Vocabulary - Vocabulary that is introduced to the children could be written on cards and displayed on the learning wall with their definition or written straight onto the working wall. These words must be linked to the unit or topic specific words that children need to know common exception words for the appropriate year group/s.

2. Learning objectives/Skills - It is also a good idea to display the learning objectives/skills that have been covered over the unit. These could be added to after each lesson. In that way, children can see how their learning has progressed and it will also be a useful reminder for elements needed in the finished piece.

3. Good examples for children to refer to. For example, on an English working wall there may be modelled writing used in a lesson with its key features picked out. 

4. Useful resources and scaffolding - Word banks, worked examples of questions, synonyms, sentence starters etc can all be displayed on the working wall so children can refer to these when doing their own work. You may even have a table in front of your working wall on which useful books and other resources could be stored and easily accessed by the children. The interactive nature of working walls helps encourage children to be independent.


Writing Working Walls

What might be included on a writing working wall?


  • The 3 skills - the purpose of each skill, rules of each skill, teacher examples and pupil examples of each skill.
  • Skills pupils have previously found difficult to consolidate or basic skills that are not yet embedded eg capital letters and full stops - the rules and examples. 
  •  Skills pupils have previously been taught that they can use again in this unit - the rule and examples. 
  •  Annotated model text showing the moderation criteria/ themes /relationships/cohesion. 
  •  Statutory spelling words that can be used in this unit of work.
  •  Key features of the text type.
  •  Purpose of the text type.
  •  Word banks/ description banks for pupils to use in this unit. 
  •  Examples of pupils work that shows handwriting expectations, pride and presentation expectations or skills. 


Maths Working Wall

What might be included on a maths working wall?


  • Prior learning that pupils can use in this unit (eg place value columns/ the four operations).
  • Methods and models for the current unit that pupils can refer to. 
  • Key maths vocabulary from previous units that pupils need to embed/ can be used in this unit. 
  • Key maths vocabulary for the current unit. 
  • Prior arithmetic methods / learning with teacher examples. 
  • Current arithmetic focus with teacher examples. 
  • Methods/ teacher model of reasoning problems from prior tests that pupils need more exposure to. 
  • Multiplication facts and division facts.
  • Pictorial methods.
  • Names / images of concrete material pupils can use and a model of how.
  • Conversations/ words you need to start drip feeding in eg how many seconds in a minute/ minutes in an hour/ days in a month etc.


Book Look Working Walls

What might be included on a Book Look working wall?


  • Pupils predictions about what the book is about. 
  • Vocabulary linked to the text.
  • Genre and text type of the novel. 
  • Low Stake Quiz questions. 
  • Characters/ events / relationships from a previous novel where children can then make connections.
  • Characters/ key events/ relationships from the current novel. 
  • Authors features. 
  • Purpose of the text type. 
  • Tips / strategies to answer comprehension questions on the novel (e.g. how to retrieve, how to form an impression).
  • Key comprehension vocabulary and definitions e.g. impression, characteristic, a phrase, true and false or reasons. 
  • Key question words and what to look for (who, what, where, when). 
  • Examples of similar questions you will be covering this term where pupils have answered them correctly/ used strategies. 
  • Quotes from the novel with explanations of what they mean or what they suggest/ imply/ tell the reader. 


Harvest Knowledge Working Walls

What might be included on a Harvest Knowledge working wall?

  • Images you took on skills which are relevant to this unit e.g. pupils using map. 
  • Pupils’ passport project work for this unit of work.
  • Resources to support pupils learning for this unit e.g. maps with key information labelled (the landmark or location you are focusing on).
  • Key information/ facts about your topic.
  • Information from the knowledge organisers for pupils to refer to. 
  • Examples of pupils work where children have used skills relating to this unit. 
  • Prior learning that pupils can use in this unit.
  • Examples of pupil’s work from the first topic lesson (or more if you have taught more by now).
  • Images to support pupils learning / understanding of topic.
  • What children would like to learn in this unit. 
  • Low Stake Quiz questions for children to respond to.


Vocabulary Working Walls

What might be included on a Vocabulary Working Wall?


  • Words that can be transferred from previous units of work and pupils can use them in literacy or topic. 
  • Words from the statutory list that pupils have been exposed to and have found it difficult to remember the meaning. 
  • Words from previous units of work that have not been embedded and pupils need more exposure to.
  • Technical vocabulary (support their topic learning and their second text type).
  • Statutory spelling words for current and previous year groups. 
  • Words that arise through discussion that pupils can use in their work. 

Examples of Effective Working Walls