Classroom Visuals by Terra Graves
Visuals help make the classroom come to life and at the same time convey important information. Posters can do more than decorate a room. Bulletin boards can serve many purposes. You can use them to display your students’ work, as an information center, or as a learning tool. And whiteboards and chalkboards can be used for more that writing down a math problem. Here are some tips to use the visual tools-posters, bulletin boards and chalk/white boards, in your classroom.
- If using posters, you’ll want to hang them in your classroom in a way they will be useful to your students and not just decorate the room. For an elementary classroom, a good way to hang them is by subject area, or near centers. For the secondary classroom hanging up non-academic posters (pop culture, teacher’s personal likes) can have a positive influence on student attitudes and a sense of belonging.
- Posters should be near the materials for their subject. For example, place your Reading posters near your classroom library. Place your Language Arts posters near the writing center.
- Place posters at eye-level or lower if they have smaller printing on them. Check out the view from the back of the room! If students can’t read it, what is the point?
- Having students make some posters is a win-win situation. The students learn from making them, they feel more ownership of the room, and they are free!
- If you have a small bulletin board outside your classroom door, use it as a welcome to anyone visiting your room. Try to change it monthly and use a seasonal or holiday theme. For elementary school include each student’s name somewhere on the design. A good way is to cut out shapes on an Ellison machine and have students write their names on them and decorate them.
- Have at least one bulletin board that displays student work. It is important for students to see that what they do matters.
- Have an “FYI” board for posting information that students will find useful (birthdays, extracurricular activities, homework sheets, project information, etc.).
- Have students help you change the bulletin boards when needed. They love to use staple removers!
- Most chalkboards and whiteboards are magnetic, so use those magnetic clips (or magnetic strips that stick to things) to create ever-changing bulletin boards. You can also store the markers and erasers in magnetic locker cups.
- If you have more than one chalk/whiteboard, you can designate them for certain purposes. Use one board for the schedule, classroom jobs, homework, and reminders. Use another for the daily workspace. Choose one place on the board where the daily schedule will always be written. Choose on place on the board where homework will always be written. Consistency is comforting.
© Terra Graves. Terra is an educator in Reno, Nevada. She has been a classroom teacher (elementary and middle school) and a mentor teacher (K-12). She continues to educate teachers through professional development courses and is currently the professional development coordinator for the Nevada Pathway Project, a technology integration project for middle school teachers across Nevada.
Terra is the author of Organized Teacher, A Guide for Beginning Teachers, and 102 Classroom Set-Up Tips for the Organized Teacher. These items are available for purchase and immediate digital delivery at Teaching Just Got Easier.
And if you want to get your current semester organized or prepare for the next, I highly recommend If You Do Nothing Else This Semester. With the strategies I present you will get the strategies you need to not only have a successful semester, but a successful year.