After trying a variety of locations, I discovered the best place is one that is easy for me to reach, easy for the kids to reach and easily seen.
I use my cabinet doors.
It sticks great AND allows things to be easily moved and removed. It hasn't left any residue on any of the surfaces I've used it on. I use it to stick up posters and cards to my walls, cabinets and even my white boards. It is reusable, so when I remove it from the back of something, I save it in a ball stuck inside my desk drawer for quick access. It isn't sticky or gummy. I seriously LOVE this stuff! You only need a little and those cards stay in place ALL YEAR!
Keeping ALL of the words we discuss/learn/assign (be it sight, high-frequency, or vocabulary) on the word wall all year lessens it's effectiveness.
After several weeks, I take down a few of the words I believe the kids have probably mastered.
We have a little spelling "test". I let the kiddos know that this is just for me and I won't be grading it. I have them number a paper that I have folded to make numbering with adequate space between columns easy for them. Then I ask them to spell the words I've taken off the wall.
Generally, most of the kids get them all right. But I do note the ones that are missed and who missed them. If the same word has been misspelled by more than 3 out of my 30 students I leave the word on the wall. Otherwise, I work with those kiddos to help them master the word and leave it off the wall.
"Checking in" periodically and removing words off the wall helps keep the chaos off the space and makes it easier for the kiddos to find the words they need. The word TAKE was an issue for 3 of my kiddos on this one, so the four of us had another little lesson on silent e. ;)
Also, doing this cuts down on the time it takes to do some of our word wall interacting activities.
Each morning we practice our words. One of the students has the job of "pointer". That kiddo grabs the pointer from the cabinet, then points to the words as the rest of the class reads them. It's the pointer's job to go VERY fast and it's the kiddos job to keep up. They love the race.
After they do all the words as a class, the pointer selects a student to read the words on their own. During this time, the class offers support as needed.
A child's stick is selected from the "blank" cup. If they read the words with no more than 2 errors, their stick is moved to the "Passed" cup. If not, it just goes back so they have an opportunity to be chosen again. This is a quick way for me to assess who has it and who doesn't.
The kiddos also LOVE to "read the wall" during independent word work. They are permitted to take turns pointing to the words. The only rule is that they must not use the name sticks during this time.
I hope this helps if you also struggle with a love-hate relationship with word walls. Moreover, I hope it helps to bring some simplicity into your teacher life!
Stop over and visit me at Dragonflies in First for more organization and simplification tips!