Posted in Teaching Techniques

Word Walls

I envisioned having a more elegant title for this post, but I don’t.

Here’s the thing. I like words. I’ve always liked words. Words are powerful and beautiful and meaningful. Words and communication are what make the world go round. We as individuals needs to understand words to be a part of all that.

Sometimes words are easy to understand. We know them from the time we’re small. They have images associated with them. But then there are words which don’t fit into that category. They sound funny or are hard to say. We don’t picture what they mean. We’ve never heard them before.

That’s where a word wall comes in. Picture a wall covered in note cards. Each note card has two things written on it – a word and the word’s definition. The students have chosen these words, looked up the definitions, created the note cards. Students are directly creating vocabulary and classroom content.

Isn’t education just a little bit better when students get to play a role in what they’re learning?

BB

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Posted in Classroom Ideas, Food for Thought, Regular Update

Bulletin Board Real Estate

I think that bulletin boards are highly underestimated pieces of classroom real estate. I know that I underestimated them until I began my internship this year. I think part of the problem is that when I (and I assume others) think “bulletin board” I think elementary school. And I want to teach at the secondary level (grades 7-12). So I don’t necessarily want a board with cute art projects because that’s just not where my students are. (I do love a good art project though.)

This year though, I’ve seen two bulletin boards that I’ve fallen completely in love with, and they really couldn’t be more different. Let me tell you a little bit about them.

bulletin board 1:

Bulletin board 1 showcases a million different cool things. I know that “a million” sounds like some serious hyperbole, but I assure you it isn’t. This bulletin board is full of so many cool posters – movie posters, book posters, quote posters. I literally go into the room that houses this bulletin board and stare at it. I want all those posters. I want them for my classroom. I want them to be in my life even when I can’t go visit this bulletin board anymore. This is a bulletin board that I find inspiring because it makes me think about how all these things can be applicable to an English classroom (where this bulletin board lives) and to students. I really want to know how all these posters ended up together and what the students think of them. And I think it would be great to have this type of bulletin board one day because it’s a great use of bulletin board real estate.

Bulletin board 2:

Bulletin board 2 is great for different reasons. This is a bulletin board that showcases student work. I think that right there regardless of what that work is is great. Showcasing student work really makes the students a part of the classroom. They have ownership of some real estate because it’s their work that’s on the wall. I think that aspect of this bulletin board alone is fabulous.

I also really like that every marking period the work on the board changes to reflect the theme of the quarter. This isn’t a stagnant board. It’s constantly changing and becoming something new. And it’s giving students the opportunity to grow and evolve throughout the year and see that reflected and showcased.

What do you do with your bulletin board real estate? What do you dream of doing with your bulletin board real estate?

BB