Having taught the children to use the contents list and the index to begin a search, one regular feature of the topic was the glossary wall. This was a display that would now possibly be called a working wall. It was where the children’s exploration could be shared with the rest of the class, with a headed topic word and a description and perhaps a picture to show something that they had read and thought others would find interesting.
It was relatively simple, sometimes becoming a small item of homework; perhaps to go home and find three items for the alphabet wall, written as whole sentences.
Over the course of time, some letters were fuller than others, so challenges could be set to find words with the missing letters. During lessons, children might listen for the words that they had found, but also for new words. The form of “bingo” heightened awareness and interest.
Towards the end of the topic, the children would be charged with selecting words from those available to write their own personal glossary that would be done during handwriting, then to be used in a final piece of writing. Children could, at any other stage, “magpie” any words for any writing purpose.
It wasn’t difficult to organise, created a working display, with additional pictures from different sources and gave rise to some very good research activities, including from home. Occasionally a parent would identify themselves as an amateur or professional in a specific field, offering specialist knowledge. This was particularly useful in a topic on local buildings, where the local historical society and a builder parent came to talk.
An alternative approach to knowledge organisers? Adults can also add to, or start the glossary.