Classroom Chart (page 2)
Classroom Walls, Posters, and Charts
Your classroom environment should be strategically planned with the ultimate goal of learning in mind. There is a real art to creating a dynamic classroom environment—one that supports learning, is fun and engaging, and yet is neat, orderly, and purposeful. However, you don’t have to be an artist to provide an appealing space for your students.
- Check with the school office for the policy on hanging posters and charts on the walls. What is—or, more important, what isn’t—allowed?
- Sticky putty is an excellent way to hang posters without leaving a residue or ruining the paint.
- Purchase grade-level–appropriate charts and posters to display on the walls and closet doors (if allowed).
- Have students work in cooperative groups to create theme-based posters for display on the walls (for example, erupting volcanoes, the water cycle, the rainforest, the food pyramid).
A word wall is a chart or poster with specific words that relate to and support learning of a particular skill or content area. They can be powerful learning tools in the classroom.
- Use word walls as living and interactive tools for learning.
- Encourage students to actively engage with word walls.
- Introduce new words of the week.
- Build on students’ understanding of how words work.
- Use word walls as a reference for current units being studied.
- Use word walls during writing projects as a primary spelling resource.
- Have several ongoing word walls in the classroom, each with a different focus, including the following:
- Weekly spelling words
- Seasonal words
- Key vocabulary for a theme or unit
- Word study (for example, verbs, adjectives, compound words, editing rules)
- Types of organization for word walls could include the following:
- Pocket chart—Use words for spelling, vocabulary, word study for the week, or a theme or unit. Write the words on index “word” cards. This allows you to change them, move them around, and turn them over.
- Chart paper— To develop the list, write relevant words on chart paper as students make suggestions. These words can be used for a specific time period (a day, a week, a month) or for as long as you’re working with a certain theme. The word wall can be stored and revisited throughout the year.
- Bulletin board—Designate an entire bulletin board for use as a word wall (or perhaps multiple smaller word walls). Words can be added to this word wall throughout the school year. Each new word can be a permanent addition, or early words can be replaced with new additions as students master the words.
For a powerful cooperative group activity, groups of two to four students work together to create posters for display in the classroom.
- List the desired components for students to include in their posters (that is, establish a rubric).
- Discuss design and layout with the class.
- Have students get approval of a newsprint mock-up of the poster before they create the final poster on good paper.
- Have students in lower grades use crayons.
- Have students in upper grades use colored pencils for small detailed areas and markers for larger areas.
- Display posters to create a student-centered classroom environment.
The world is gradually becoming smaller because of cell phones, the Internet, and other technological advances. Therefore, providing exposure to difffferent cultures is a critical part of education today.
- Purchase multicultural posters at teacher supply stores and bookstores.
- Display the covers of select multicultural books that you have available.
- Have students create posters that tell who they are and where they come from to demonstrate the diversity present in your classroom.
- Recognize all students in your classroom, including students of both genders, students with special needs as well as those without special needs, and students of every national, ethnic, and cultural background represented in your class.
- Culturally themed months during the school year could include the following:
- Hispanic Heritage Month
- Black History Month
Posters that relate to specific subject goals can serve as resources for students.
- Purchase posters online and at teacher supply stores.
- Have cooperative groups of two to four students make subject-related posters. This adds a personal touch to the unit and solidifies learning.
- Reference specific points included on the posters when moving through a unit of study.
- Remind students that illustrations should be a part of any poster they create.
- Use student-created posters as an assessment of how well concepts have been understood and information learned.
Tracking Progress and Mastery
Charts and posters can be used to creatively track student progress and mastery in many areas.
- Use a purchased grid or create your own; it should include a place for student names and boxes for recording progress and mastery. Stickers can be purchased to place in boxes as skills are mastered or homework is completed.
- Track students’ progress and mastery in areas such as the following:
- Mastering a skill or set of skills
- Math facts
- Reading a certain number of books
- Reading fluency
- Possible themes for charts and posters include the following:
- Race track—Create a racetrack with a finish line and a race car for each student. Along the racetrack, post “mileposts” that show which skills students are trying to master (multiplication facts, fractions, geometric shapes) or goals they are trying to achieve (number of pages read, number of books read). As students demonstrate mastery or reach a given goal, their race car moves along the racetrack. Once their race car gets to the finish line, the student wins a prize (for example, math flash cards, a new book).
- Roller coaster—Create a roller coaster for which each student has a roller coaster car. Students complete the up-and-down course by mastery of specific skills.
- Climbing a mountain—Create a mountain with mountain climber cut-outs for the students. Students reach the peak by mastering specific skills.
- Travel the world—Using a world map, represent individual skills to be mastered by different countries on the map. Students take a trip around the world by mastering specific skills.
- Ice cream sundae—Using components of an ice cream sundae (for example, scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, cherries, and chocolate sauce) to represent skills to be mastered, students work to build an ice cream sundae until they have an entire sundae completed—and an entire set of skills mastered. Skills could be multiplication tables, with the first scoop representing the twos table, the second scoop representing the threes table, and so on. Once all of the students have completed their ice cream sundaes, the class earns an ice cream party.
- Suggestions for other “building” charts include building a pizza, with toppings representing skills; building a hamburger, with condiments representing skills.
- For “building” activities, display the items as they are being built, so that students can see exactly where they stand in relation to the goal.
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- Graduation Inspiration: Top 10 Graduation Quotes
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- First Grade Sight Words List
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- Social Cognitive Theory