What is the difference between Bump It Up Walls and Learning Walls?

what is the difference between bump it up walls and learning walls?

Bump It Up Walls and Learning Walls share striking similarities, often causing confusion. Many people inquire, ‘What sets Learning Walls apart from Bump It Up Walls?’ It’s a common question, given their resemblance.

Both Bump It Up Walls and Learning Walls serve as manifestations of the Visible Learning approach. They provide teachers with a means to assess their teaching by making student learning evident. These displays play a pivotal role in ensuring students comprehend essential information. Students also receive guidance on effective learning strategies, and develop the skills to assess their own progress.

Furthermore, both displays aim to bring clarity to learning outcomes. They feature aspirational examples and success criteria; however, it’s crucial to note that they are not identical.

So, what is the difference between Bump It Up Walls and Learning Walls?

A Bump It Up Wall shows a linear progression with different exemplars of work. It has a specific purpose. In contrast, a Learning Wall has a broader purpose, with many different elements, and it is not linear.

You can use both separately, and you can use a Bump It Up Wall within a Learning Wall. However, a Bump It Up Wall is NOT a Learning Wall by itself, even if it includes a LEARNING INTENTION AND SUCCESS CRITERIA.

What is a Bump It Up Wall?

A Bump It Up Wall is a visual display, that helps learners know how to ‘bump up’ to the next level of achievement. Bump It Up Walls are also known as visual rubrics – a visual rubric of achievement that makes outcomes ‘visible’!

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This teacher has created a Bump It Up Wall that displays five levels, with space for students to grow. Each example includes annotations (underneath( that detail why that sample is at that level. Students at the lower examples can look to the upper examples, read the annotations and try to implement some of those criteria into their own work. This display is linear, moving from left-to-right, and is focussed on the production of a work sample.

What do you include in a Bump It Up Wall?

A Bump It Up Display showcases levelled exemplars of work, categorisng them as ‘good, better, best,’ . You can also benchmarking them according to your assessment/curriculum criteria (e.g., ‘C, B, A’ or ‘Sound, High, Very High’). These displays follow a linear or hierarchical format, moving either from left to right or bottom to top.

Educators can tailor Bump It Up Walls (BIUW) for various improvements, such as narrative writing, handwriting, mathematics, or even maintaining classroom cleanliness. They cater to students of all levels, with early years’ displays adopting a more pictorial approach.

We accompany each leveled exemplar with co-constructed success criteria or annotations that break down the elements defining that particular level. Students must understand how to progress from one level to the next, often achieved by meeting specific success criteria. In early years, we may use icons like a finger image for annotations, indicating elements like finger spaces.

Throughout an assessment cycle, students may place themselves at different levels on the BIUW. Through class discussions and feedback with their teacher, they have the opportunity to progress to higher levels.

Crucially, the Bump It Up Wall integrates feedback as an essential, albeit unseen, element. Students evaluate their progress alongside feedback and BIUW use, empowering them to ‘bump up’ their learning.

Your Bump It Up Wall Checklist:

  • Levelled examples of a completed piece of assessment (eg a procedure). These can be as simple as three levels (eg C-A) or you can include a level for each level of abiliity in your classroom. Lyn Sharrat (Clarity) suggests the latter is best practice. I argue it is not always practical or best use of a teacher’s time.
  • Annotations (success criteria) for each level. These are co-constructed with your students, and come from your marking rubric. In fact everything on your marking rubric is included on your annotations.
  • A heading

Could include: labels to represent students – these can be anonymous.

You can find out HOW I use bump it up walls within a feedback cycle HERE

What is a Learning Wall?

Learning Walls, centre around a LEARNING INTENTION and encompass various elements such as text scaffolds, word walls, and bump it up walls.

Moreover, Learning Walls actively support students throughout their learning journey. They serve as a vital reference point, aiding students in acquiring knowledge, understanding, and the application of skills. Any elements that contribute to building on students’ knowledge as they progress towards their LEARNING INTENTION are seamlessly incorporated. Strive to create interactive Learning Walls to maximize engagement.

Additionally, unlike a Bump It Up Wall (BIUW), the Learning Wall is not linear. It can grow in any direction based on the specific needs of your students.

what is a learning wall
A Learning Wall has the Learning Intention, Success Criteria, and the assessment rubric as central to its purpose. It is not linear – instead, the wall sprawls from these central ideas and spreads as ideas, examples, student samples and more are added. It becomes a working archive of student learning. Each element within the assessment rubric should be represented on the wall – for example, if student editing is part of the assessment, then effective editing should be explicitly taught and featured on this wall.

Why choose a learning wall?

Learning Walls revolve around the fundamental Learning Intention of the summative assessment, such as ‘To write a persuasive argument to convince an audience.’ This intention prominently graces the top of the Learning Wall in large text, ensuring visibility for all learners.

At the heart of the wall resides the marking guide or rubric. Its elements undergo deconstruction and co-construction into Success Criteria statements, functioning as a checklist for students to fulfill the Learning Intention. For instance, the ‘LANGUAGE FEATURES’ section in the guide transforms into Success Criteria like ‘I can use high modality words.’

Alongside these Success Criteria, teachers or students can contribute examples. Whether provided by the teacher or co-constructed with students, these examples may manifest as posters, post-it notes, or clear plastic pockets for easily removable learning resources.

The Learning Wall is versatile, accommodating student work examples with annotations showcasing strengths and areas for improvement, student goal statements, reference points (definitions, punctuation, and grammar), diagrams, photos, and drawings.

It’s a dynamic, non-linear space that grows in any direction based on the students’ needs. Elements are added as they are explicitly taught, diverging from the linear structure of a Bump It Up Wall (BIUW). Some teachers use paper strips or string to visually link each element back to the marking guide.

As your Learning Wall expands, it becomes a unique representation of your learners and their collective and individual needs. No two Learning Walls will look alike, emphasising the adaptability of this approach.

How can Learning Walls and Bump It Up Walls be Used Together?

Bump It Up Walls stand alone or are seamlessly incorporated into a learning wall. When integrated into your learning wall, establish clear connections between the annotations on your Bump It Up Wall and the criteria on your marking rubric. This is achieved through color-coding, the use of string, or other creative means!

In conclusion, whether used independently or in tandem, Bump It Up Walls (BIUW) and Learning Walls are transformative teaching tools.

Above all, I trust that this post has clarified any confusion between these two tools and has potentially inspired you to try implementing them in your classroom.

To kickstart your journey, I offer a variety of displays and writing exemplars, including visual writing rubrics, designed to save you a substantial amount of time! Subscribe now for unlimited access to the Teachie Tings eLibrary for a full year. Enjoy instant access to our comprehensive resources, featuring daily math slides, bump-it-up wall displays, exemplars, and a wide array of learning activities.

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More questions? Feel free to email me at hello@teachietings.com and I will do my best to help out!

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