It is the first thing that students see when they enter the classroom. It is, perhaps, the most obvious and easily collected evidence of learning in your classroom. Many students, teachers, parents and visitors will judge you based on this one aspect of your classroom. They will walk into the classroom and they will see furniture, charts, posters, bulletin boards and they will “get a feeling” about you and your teaching.
What will they see?
Is every inch of wall covered?
Are there designated areas for each subject area?
Does the “decor” look perfect as though a team of elves (or a very excited, perfection driven, wired, teacher) spent hours creating, sorting, clipping, trimming, sticking, aligning and arranging?
Is the decor “pretty” or “purposeful”?
Are your walls sparsely dotted with random charts and half-finished art displays?
What does your classroom “decor” say about you and your teaching?
Every question above is a loaded one! Some teachers love the decorating and organising side of classroom management, while others find it a chore. Primary (or elementary) teachers tend to spend more time on the look of their classroom and many feel the pressure to have a well organised and beautifully decorated room every day of the school year. In secondary schools there are many obstacles to classroom ‘decoration’ and many teachers in this setting simply give up. While some teachers seem to work in a sort of home room, they still don’t “decorate” as they worry about other staff/ students who may also share the room. They might think borders, posters, charts and prettiness are frivolous time wasters when learning time is already so limited.
This month, here at Mel the Lit Coach, I am going to focus on Classroom Charts for Literacy and Learning. We will explore research and teaching practice regarding visual aids in the classroom. I will share some links to other blogs that give examples of charts and posters in various classroom settings and for various purposes. I will show you more of my classroom charts and posters as well as share some of my ideas for creating, posting and storing posters. We will compare student created resources with teacher created ones and commercial resources. I want to see your classrooms (if you have one) and learn from you. I want to know what you think about appearances in learning spaces and how they impact learning. I want to know how you arrange your classroom for maximum visual impact. I want this month to be a great learning experience for all of us.