We all see pictures on Pinterest and Instagram of beautifully decorated classroom walls, but are those walls effective and benefiting the students? Every classroom has walls, and they should be used to their advantage.
Chances are you spend time stapling and laminating things to put on your walls, but is that the best approach? Instead, think about what you want your walls and displays to say about you, your relationship with your classroom, and your views on teaching.
Your walls don't need to be busy, covered in meaningless posters and pictures. Don't try to fill every space with distractions; that's not useful for your kids.
Here are some things you need to include in your classroom walls.
Resources for Kids
This is going to look different for every teacher because you have different grade levels. Match the resources to your kids. A preschool teacher should have posters with the shapes, letters numbers, and days of the week. Those match what you're learning at that time.
If you teach third grade, you might want to have poster boards with multiplication facts or a list of the presidents. Those subject matters are relevant to the ages you are teaching each day.
Maps of the World
Every classroom should have maps of the world! We need to remind our kids that we are a diverse world, full of different cultures and people.
In almost all grades, the students study geography in some way. It might be learning the difference between a pond, lake, and ocean. It could be looking at maps and noticing where the mountains are depicted, or it could be memorizing all of the continents.
Maps are always relevant to our students!
Works Created by Students
A majority of the displays should be works created by students. All of the students should help decide which pieces of work to display. That gives them an opportunity to learn and practice social skills as well as helps them reflect on their work.
Yes, throughout the year, teachers do need to make sure that all students have some of their works displayed, but it doesn't need to be all of them at one time. It's okay to rotate.
Ideally, the students should even help set up some of the displays. That gives the kids an opportunity to showcase their creativity and help to practice cutting skills.
Displays Connected to Curriculum
Remember that at least one of the displays needs to be connected to your current curriculum. We want our classroom walls to be effective, so they need to be tools for teaching and learning.
While having seasonal displays is nice, we want to make sure that the information on the walls expands your students' knowledge about topics and helps them in their learning.
There is truly an endless amount of options for you to use when creating classroom displays on the walls.
Keep Displays Fresh
Once your class finishes their works or changes subjects in their curriculum, it's time to take down those displays on the wall and make room for something else. You might be tempted to always keep something up, but having an overly decorated classroom can be more distracting than helpful!
How do you use your classroom walls effectively to benefit your students?