Product Spotlight – Portable Walls: Desktop Writing Stations for Information at Your Fingertips

Oct 09, 2020 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


You Are There” was a popular television show in the 1950s. Aired on CBS and hosted by Walker Cronkite, the program featured events in world and United States history such as the death of Socrates, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the crash of the Hindenburg. Each episode featured modern-day news reporters who interviewed the historical figures and reported on the events in dramatic reenactments. Walter Cronkite would introduce each episode to set the scene followed by an announcer who would solemnly declare “You are there” as the program commenced. At the end of each episode, Mr. Cronkite would summarize what viewers had watched and conclude with this: "What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times ... all things are as they were then, and you were there."

While not quite as momentous an occasion as one portrayed in an episode of “You Are There,” the publishing of IEW’s Portable Walls is special to me because I was there when Andrew Pudewa introduced a prototype to a group of Rocklin Unified School District elementary teachers. Mr. Pudewa was visiting our district to train a new group of teachers in Structure and Style and, during the first day of the seminar, emphasized the importance of posting reminders, the unit models, and word lists on our classroom walls. Around the room, teachers began to grumble among themselves, and hands shot up. The Rocklin Fire Department had recently implemented a policy dictating that only 25 percent of a classroom’s walls could be covered with flammable material. How could we display all the recommended word lists and posters without risking a citation from the fire inspectors? Andrew listened to our concerns, agreeing with us that this new regulation would present a problem if we were going to implement IEW effectively.

The issue was evidently still on Andrew’s mind that evening because the next day he showed up with a solution for us. He had overlapped two file folders, taped them together, and attached word lists and copies of the structural models to both sides. He had created a prototype of what would one day become the Portable Wall! Impressed by his ingenuity and eager to try them in our classrooms, we returned to our schools and built them for our students. We laminated them and ended up using them for years. Who could have predicted back in 2004 that one day that desktop "wall" would become such a practical and versatile tool? Over time, that original Portable Wall became four different walls, each with a distinct purpose.


Portable Walls for Structure and Style Students turn a desktop into a writing station for students in grades 3–12, giving them access to the nine structural models, word lists, stylistic techniques, and other resources that support them as they write. Because the word lists provide students many examples to choose from, including over 200 substitutes for said, 250 -ly adverbs, and strong verb alternatives for 6 “banned” verbs, Portable Walls provide tremendous support for struggling writers and sparks the imaginations of students who are ready for more advanced options. Classroom teachers can save $20 by purchasing Portable Walls for Structure and Style Students in packs of 10. Schools can save $250 by purchasing them in packs of 100.


There are two more specialized Portable Walls in IEW’s collection.


Portable Walls: Grammar on the Go (recommended for grades 6–12)

Are your students clueless about commas? Perplexed by pronouns? Defeated by dependent clauses? Organizing grammar concepts in one handy resource, this portable wall provides grammar terminology and tips for the Structure and Style dress-ups and sentence openers, punctuation rules with a focus on commas, basic parts of speech rules, and advanced grammar concepts. Whether your students love grammar or not, this is the tool to help them master tricky grammar concepts. Save $20 by purchasing a 10-pack of Portable Walls: Grammar on the Go.


Tools for Young Writers (for grades K–2)

We haven’t forgotten our youngest writers. Rather than overwhelming primary grade students with too much information all at once, Tools for Young Writers is a portable wall that you build together as you go, similar to the Student Reference Handbook in grades 3–12. Brightly colored and very engaging, this tri-folder comes with four pages of stickers featuring the unit models, parts of speech, and dress-ups used in the K–2 Classroom Supplements. As each tool is introduced, students add that sticker to their folder. While they are more expensive than our other portable walls, with good care they can be an excellent investment in students’ language instruction through the primary grades and even into grade 3. Just collect them at the end of each school year to pass along to their next teacher.

IEW’s Portable Walls are just a few of the many resources available to teachers to support and enhance writing instruction. If you would like more information about our training and instructional materials and unique approach to writing instruction, please visit our website,, or call 800.856.5815 and ask to speak to one of our Educational Consultants.

For more information about IEW’s method and materials for schools, please visit our website or contact the Schools Division at or 800.856.5815.


Product Details

Portable Walls for Structure and Style Students
© 2019

Portable Walls: Grammar on the Go
A Handy Guide for Faultless Fixes to Writing with Structure and Style
© 2023

Tools for Young Writers
Author: Carla Perez, MA Ed.
© 2014

SAT® is a trademark registered and/or owned by the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, Portable Walls for the Essayist.

ACT® is a trademark registered and/or owned by ACT, Inc., which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, Portable Walls for the Essayist.

IEW and Structure and Style are registered trademarks of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, L.L.C.


Jean brings 34 years of classroom experience to IEW, having taught grades 1–6 in New York, Virginia, and in California, where she taught sixth-grade language arts in the Rocklin Unified School District. She was introduced to IEW in 2001 when a colleague shared Student Writing Intensive videos at weekly school staff meetings. As a result of student progress and teacher enthusiasm at her school, RUSD brought Andrew Pudewa to Rocklin many times over the next several years to train district teachers, resulting in improved student writing and test scores district-wide. Named Rocklin’s “Elementary Teacher of the Year” in 2001, Jean was also included in the 2004 and 2005 editions of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.

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