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How many levels should you display on your Bump It Up Wall?

how many levels should you display on your bump it up wall?

How many levels should you include on your bump-it-up wall? Three? Five? Ten?

Bump It Up Wall using Teachie Tings Crane Clipart and Construction Printables

Evidence on how many levels to include on your bump-it-up wall is scarce. We know that a single worked example has an effect size of 0.58 according to John Hattie. This is valuable evidence that even one worked example helps students to reach their goals.

Educators have taken the worked example/modeled text/ WAGOLL (what a good one looks like) and expanded that into examples of different levels ( a Bump It Up Wall), so that students at any level can ‘bump up’ their work.

Lyn Sharrat takes this one step further (or too far?) and suggests that there should be a sample to represent every student in your classroom. This could be ten or more samples. For teacher sanity – I disagree with this notion. No teacher has time to write or co-construct a sample for this many levels, and there’s no guarantee that a range of samples is available to use.

I believe that an effective Bump It Up Wall should ONLY include samples to represent each level on your marking rubric – taking into account the ability range of your class. For example, if your marking rubric includes A-E, but all your students are working at or above a D level, then there is no need to display the D. 

Students need to be assessment-literate learners who have aspirational examples of what the next step on the staircase looks like for them.

This means they need to work within the parameters of the A-E assessment model, with the next aspirational step being the next achievement level. So, a student who has achieved C on a pre-test will be looking at the success criteria to ‘bump up’ their learning to a B level (within one feedback cycle).

When teachers use formative assessment alongside a self and peer feedback cycle, students have multiple opportunities to ‘bump up’ their learning. 

I can recall an assessment piece completed by one of my primary classes, where 18/26 students achieved an A grade. Eighteen A students! Each week, we completed a formative assessment with self, peer, and teacher feedback and student goal-setting. Students understood exactly what they needed to do to reach the next level, and were given plenty of opportunities to gauge their progress. The results were unbelievable phenomenal, and therefore moderated and confirmed by my teaching team. 

These students were shown examples A-C to match both the marking rubric and their ability levels. Their success was due to the aspirational A-C examples provided, clear success criteria, high expectations (I ‘teach to the A’), and a sufficient number of feedback cycles to ‘bump up’ from their initial level of achievement.

The number of levels that you display on your bump-it-up wall is essentially up to you and the needs of your class but it can have a huge impact on your students’ achievement levels.

Here are my top tips for an effective bump-it-up wall display:

  • Display an example to match each level of your marking rubric, aligned with the abilities of your classroom.
  • Don’t display work that is lower than the ability of your classroom
  • Try to show every child an aspirational example, HOWEVER, ensure that your A sample is aligned with your marking rubric and not a level above.
  • Use clear and explicit success criteria. Success criteria MUST match your marking guide. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • Ensure that you embed enough formative assessment and feedback (weekly/fortnightly) so that students have time to improve to the highest level.
  • Teach to the ‘A’. Always model the highest level of achievement. Your students will meet you there.

Need some done-for-you bump-it-up wall samples?

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 Bump It Up Walls in Mathematics

Bump It Up Walls in Mathematics

I am frequently asked how to create a Bump It Up Walls in Mathematics. 

Although maths walls may appear to be trickier, the premise is the same. The awesome thing is that the benefits to your students will also be the same! Visible learning and teaching really matters and has a huge impact on student learning.

Let’s get into the steps we need to take to get started with Bump It Up Walls in maths!

A worked example of an ‘A’.

How to create a Bump It Up Wall for Mathematics

A mathematics BIUW needs a Learning Intention and leveled samples (worked examples). As with any Bump It Up Wall, you should be guided by your marking rubric. This will tell you how many levels you will need on your wall (generally A, B, C, and sometimes D standard).

  • Create your A using the marking rubric. Your ‘A’ sample should be 100% correct, align with the A on your marking guide (not working beyond), and demonstrate the most efficient/preferred method.
  • List the Success Criteria (‘I can’ statements) needed to achieve the A. and display below the sample.
  • Once your ‘A’ is created, create your B and C levels, etc.

Again, be guided by your marking rubric. Some differentiating factors in mathematics can include accuracy of calculations, application of an effective strategy, and inclusion of all elements/steps.

  • Look at the verbs in your marking guide to include skills within your success criteria. For example, ‘I can decode the question’; ‘I can decide on a strategy’; ‘I can defend my strategy/answer.’ 
  • Once you have your samples and success criteria for each sample, you are ready to display your wall. In the early days of your unit, your student can perform a pre-test and then identify where they currently sit on the Bump It Up Wall. They will then see how they can boost their own achievement by referring to the wall.

To turn your Mathematics Bump It Up Wall into a learning wall:

  • Add your marking rubric
  • Add vocabulary and definitions (re-written in student language)
  • A list of skills we already know that can help us
  • Can I complete this using a mental method? Can I use a mental method plus some notes? Do I need to use a written method? Do I need a calculator?
  • Can I explain this method to someone else?
  • Include easy access to manipulatives and learning wall ‘take-aways’ such as number lines, hundred squares,  MAB blocks, and protractors – whatever your students may need.
  • Ensure displays are large enough to see from a few meters away and that they are at the students’ level. 
  • Use abstract and real-life examples to demonstrate their concept.

Tip: Integrate STAR strategy for word problems and problem-solving:

Want to connect with other teachers and use Bump It Up Walls effectively? Join our Facebook Group!

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How to Set Up a Bump It up Wall

Bump It Up Walls are certainly popular in classrooms right now – and for good reason. They are effective! But if you’ve never used one before, you may be wondering how to set up a bump it up wall in your classroom so that you and your students can get the most out of it.

Why use a bump it up wall? They give your students a clear roadmap to success! Bump it up walls help learners know how to improve, or ‘bump up’ to the next level of achievement. Students no longer have to guess what you are looking for – they have clear examples and explicit instructions right in front of them!

Use a prominent place in your classroom to display your wall. You should be able to access it easily for group teaching (in front of a floor space) and it should be at a level that is easily accessed by your students – make sure all students can closely read all samples).

How to set up a Bump It Up Wall

  • Print your writing exemplars
  • Display them in ascending order (eg D to A) from left to right, on your wall. Ensure they are at student height for easy reference. You can display them diagonally moving up the wall across your wall, or if you are short on space, display them vertically from bottom to top – again making sure all learners in your classroom can read all exemplars.
  • Print all annotations (success criteria) and display them beneath or beside the corresponding exemplars (eg A annotations underneath the A writing exemplar).
  • Add a heading if you wish.

Each set of annotations (success criteria) detail to students HOW they can move from one level to the next, for example by achieving a certain success criteria. In the early years, you may use icons for the annotations, such as a finger image to show that finger spaces are a success criteria.

how to use bump it up wall image
Horizontal display (left to right). You can colour-code the annotations, highlighting examples within the texts.
how to set up a bump it up wall
Teachie Tings has a range of visual displays you can use to engage learners.

How to use a Bump It Up Wall

These instructions sit within an assessment cycle that includes formative assessment and self/peer/teacher feedback. Students should know where they sit on the wall, have a learning goal, and know how they can improve. The display is an interactive display – teach each element explicitly and model how to use the wall.

Now you know how to set up a bump it up wall, it’s time to use one! They should not just be static displays that aren’t referred back to – they should be used every time you are teaching.

  • Introduce the topic you will be teaching (eg procedural texts) and immerse students in some examples of texts appropriate for their level.
  • Pre-test your students. Find out what they already know. Give students a prompt to write their own text – this will become a fantastic tool for students in the beginning of the assessment cycle.
  • Give students feedback based on their pre-test – help them set a learning goal. Keep these safely filed away – students can access them during writing time. Each student sample collected adds to a portfolio of student progression.
  • Introduce the Bump It Up Wall. Explain that there are samples for each achievement level.
  • Students should self evaluate their sample against the wall and find out where they ‘sit’. You can conference with your students and make note of where they sit, or provide each student with a small label to place them selves on the wall. These can be anonymous. I like to use post-it notes. Students can draw a picture on their post it, and write their name on the back (sticky side). They then stick the post-it note on the sample they think is closest to their own. You can take a photo of the wall for future reference and remove the post-its, or leave as it.
  • Teach to the ‘A’. The top sample is the aspirational sample. Your students may not get all elements right, but some will certainly achieve more than they expect. Aim high!
  • Introduce the ‘A’ sample as an example of ‘what a good one looks like’.
  • As a class, read the matching annotations and locate examples within the text. You can do this by displaying the sample on the whiteboard or by printing samples for students to annotate individually or in groups.
  • Throughout the teaching and learning cycle, teach each success criteria (eg transition words). You may need to do this a few times. Ensure that your teaching is focused on achieving success criteria. If you need to add a success criteria to align with your assessment (eg and oral retell of the written piece), add them!
  • Provide students with a printed checklist of success criteria.
  • Teach your unit of work, completing check-in formative assessments – you could also students to write a complete text or just one component (eg orientation).
  • Encourage students to refer to the Bump It Up Wall or checklist to see how they can improve.
  • Provide feedback and teach students how to self-assess against the Bump It Up Wall. They can do this by using a highlighter to highlight each success criteria within their own work. What are they missing and what do they need to do next time? That become a learning goal.
  • Co-create your own writing sample with your class
  • Leave your Bump It Up Wall up during the final assessment.

Throughout an assessment cycle, students may sit at different levels on the BIUW, and through class discussions and feedback with their teacher may progress to higher levels. 

Feedback is a very important, unseen element of the Bump It Up Wall. Each iteration of student work, evaluated with feedback and the use of the BIUW, will help students to ‘bump up’ their learning.

Now you know how to set up a bump it up wall, and how to implement it in your classroom, it’s time to have a go!

We have a huge range of visual writing rubrics (writing samples/exemplars) and bump it up wall displays in our shop! Head on over to find our time-saving resources.

Vertical display
Example student checklist
Bump It Up Walls can be used across all age groups.
how to set up a bump it up wall
how to set up a bump it up wall
All Teachie Tings Writing Samples (visual writing rubrics) come with a free display. You can also choose from our range of displays to match different themes.
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Co-constructing Texts with your Students

co-constructing texts with your students

Do you ever attempt the assessment pieces that your students need to complete?  It can be a really hard thing to do! This is why co-constructing texts with your class is an important learning step.

It’s also very powerful. Co-constructing the assessment to an ‘A’ level (or even from a C to a B) can help students to understand all of the elements that your students will need to succeed – maybe they are going to need specific vocabulary on their Learning Wall, or maybe they are going to need to improve their adverbial phrases.

Co-constructing helps you to understand what your students need to know, and safely allows them to identify what they need to learn.

It can give you clarity on what really needs to be taught (and re-taught), and help your students to understand the task more clearly.

Co-constructing texts with your students

Co-constructing texts with your students is a very important part of using Bump It Up Walls and Learning Walls. We talk a lot about co-constructed success criteria, but co-constructing texts is hugely important for your classroom. Worked examples (like the examples – co-constructed or not – on our Bump It Up Walls) are one way that students create schemas and reduce the cognitive load of assessment tasks.

How do I co-construct texts in my classroom?

Before writing, students need to be exposed to multiple examples, know WAGOLL (what a good one looks like), and have clear, identified success criteria to refer back to while co-constructing.

1. Immerse in the genre over a week or two

I like to start by engaging my class with a range of different examples of the text genre. For example, if we are writing procedural texts, we look at a range including recipes, how-to manuals, YouTube videos, directions, etc.

I have a range for explicit teaching and modeling, a range for our classroom bookshelf, and copies to display on our Learning Wall.

I also like to take poster-size photocopies of texts so we can annotate them and add them to our wall.

2. Modelled reading/annotating/notetaking

Deconstruct, compare, and annotate different examples. Model thinking aloud as you read the texts to your class “Here’s the title”, “Oh, here they have used sequencing words”, making note of the elements you notice in the text.

Choose structural features to highlight. You can also highlight language features (eg command verbs) and write a list of these, color-coding them as you go (eg green for verbs).

3. Brainstorm – what does a good one look like?

As a class, we brainstorm elements that make a good text example. Display a text, or provide students with a copy of a text – what do we notice?

A-ha! We have some success criteria! How can we organize these?  Check them against your marking guide. Add them to your Learning Wall.

4. Co-constructing: Use Success Criteria to model how to co-construct an ‘A’ sample

When writing, make sure the learning intention and success criteria are clearly displayed. Be clear about the topic (this should not be your assessment topic).

 I like to co-construct texts on my laptop, and on the projector so that students can view the text as we write and I can make changes as we go. Some teachers like to do this with butcher paper and colored markers. You can even do it on your whiteboard with a dry-erase pen, and take a photo on your phone to project later.

Encourage students to make suggestions, debate on changes, and have input into the text. Make improvements, edit, and refer to the success criteria to ensure the text is meeting the success criteria for an ‘A’.

Remember, the intention is to teach students where to focus their attention when writing their text.

Clearly cover text structure, language features, grammar, and punctuation – whatever your marking guide is assessing. If spelling isn’t being assessed, don’t make it a big focus of your modeling.

Learn through doing

Both you and your students learn through this process.

Being a ‘learner’ you identify where students need skills and knowledge and where you may need to reteach or teach differently. You also understand what students need to do and how much effort is going to be required of them.

Your students learn through watching you ‘do’. Listening to your thought processes, watching you interact with the learning wall/bump it up wall, cross-checking, and making mistakes.

Co-constructing texts is a teaching and learning activity that can have a huge impact in your classroom – I encourage you to give it a go!