A bump it up wall is a visual tool used to encourage students to take their learning to the next level. Introducing a bump it up wall as a teaching and learning tool is important because they are not widely used. Students in your class may need a lesson on what they are, and how to use them.
Here’s how to introduce a bump it up wall to your students:
Explain the concept: Explain what a bump it up wall is and why it’s important for student learning. Emphasize that the goal is to help students move from basic understanding to a deeper level of understanding.
Show an example: Show the students an example of a bump it up wall. Explain the different levels of understanding represented by each tier of the wall.
Explain the process: Explain how the bump it up wall works. Students will start at the bottom level and work their way up the wall as they demonstrate deeper understanding. You can choose for moving up to be a public or private process – for example, you may like students to write their name on a tag and move it up, or draw their own picture to remain anonymous. Alternatively, students can track their own progress in a goal book.
Provide opportunities to move up: Encourage students to ask questions and seek opportunities to demonstrate their understanding. Offer additional resources or activities to help students move up the wall. You could include self and peer-assessment checklists, annotating and editing of samples, and formative assessment opportunities.
Celebrate progress: Celebrate students’ progress and recognition their hard work and determination to reach the top of the bump it up wall. I have celebrated by organising ‘meetings with the Principal’, celebratory learning walks, ‘publishing’ finished work in a class magazine, or Friday afternoon games.
By introducing the bump it up wall, you are giving students a clear path to success and the motivation to continue learning and growing.
Need help implementing Bump It Up Walls in your classroom?
Did you know that you can simplify your teaching using bump it up walls? Ok so I know this is a BIG call, but there is one thing I ALWAYS stand by when it comes to Bump It Up Walls.
And that advice is this:
Bump It up Walls can actually make teaching easier!
In fact, you can actually spend less time planning, marking, and stressing when Bump It Up Walls are working alongside you!
So this is your reminder today that Bump It Up Walls aren’t just ‘another thing we have to do’. They are actually a transformative, time-saving pedagogy that make teaching easier for YOU!
You can start to simplify your teaching with Bump It Up Walls by:
Focusing on the pedagogy instead of the display. Use our ready-made levelled writing samples and displays until you find your groove.
Teach your students to self-assess against a checklist. Create a checklist for each assessment piece and model how to assess against a sample of student work (past student). Use highlighters – green for achieved and pink/orange for not yet achieved.
Ensure your Bump It Up Wall is accessible for all of your learners – make sure your shortest child can read the highest part of the display.
If you need more help to simplify your teaching with Bump It Up Walls?
How many levels should you display on your bump-it-up wall? Three? Five? Ten?
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.
What if we used more than one worked example?
Therefore, we can imagine that having more than one worked example, especially when a number of samples represent an aspirational sample for different levels of ability, that a bump it up wall has a significant effect size.
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.
Use your marking guide and your students to make the decision
I believe that an effective Bump It Up Wall should ONLY include samples to represent each level on your marking rubric. This comes with one caveat – the ability levels 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.
Furthermore, 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).
Using Bump It Up Walls within a 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.
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!
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: https://faculty.uca.edu/ronkb/bramlett/Star%20Strategy%20Math%20intervention.pdf