How to Use Cognate Walls to Help Your ELL Students
Cognate walls are a great way to introduce new vocabulary and language concepts to upper elementary students.
What is a cognate wall?
A cognate wall is a visual display that shows a group of words that are similar or related in some way. These words can be in the same language or in different languages, and they can be related through meaning, spelling, or pronunciation.
To incorporate a cognate wall into your upper elementary classroom, follow these steps:
- Choose a topic or theme for the cognate wall. This could be related to a unit of study, such as animals or weather, or it could be a broader theme, such as sports or emotions.
- Collect a list of words that fit within the chosen theme. These words can be in the same language or in different languages. For example, if the theme is animals, you might include words like “cat,” “gato,” and “chat” on the wall.
- Create a visual display for the cognate wall. This could be a poster, a bulletin board, or a whiteboard. Make sure to include the words in large, clear letters, and use different colors or fonts to help distinguish between the different languages.
- Introduce the cognate wall to your students. Explain the purpose of the wall and how the words are related. You might want to start by focusing on one language at a time and introducing students to the cognates in that language.
- Encourage students to use the cognate wall as a reference when learning new vocabulary or practicing their language skills. You might also consider having students contribute to the wall by finding and adding new cognates on their own.
By incorporating a cognate wall into your upper elementary classroom, you can help students expand their vocabulary and improve their language skills in a fun and interactive way. Not only will they learn new words, but they will also gain a better understanding of how language works and how words are related across different languages.