Every year the walls start bare. The empty white spaces stare at me until the learning starts and slowly the walls get filled up with colorful posters. My room is definitely a reflection of my teacher personality: brightly colored (slightly organized) chaos. There is a fine line between useful and busy, but I try and keep my walls purposeful without pulling focus. Here’s what is on my classroom walls.
Vocabulary Word Wall:
Every two weeks, we go through 15 ACT vocabulary words and the lists get mounted on the bulletin board in the back of the room. They are nothing more than lists of the words we’ve learned, but I constantly see students turning around to peek at those lists, so I know they are being used. At the end of the year, I love seeing the rows of words we learned and reflecting on how much my students have learned.
Student Work Showcase:
My favorite part of my classroom is the ever-revolving collection of student work. At the beginning of the year my walls get covered with every single one of their “About Me” projects. After that, whatever project we’ve finished gets hung up for students to see the best of the best. They love seeing new work up on that board, and when it goes up, the students flock over to the wall to see who made the cut.
My school switched to the ACT as our main focus a few years ago. It is such an overwhelming test if you throw everything at them at once, so I slowly introduce one strategy at a time on a poster. I add those posters as we practice more and constantly reference back to them as the year goes one. By the time the ACT rolls around, the posters come down, but the strategies have hopefully stuck in those brains.
Figurative Language Collection:
This is the most frequently referenced area of my room and always the most useful in English class. Simile, metaphor, irony, hyperbole; we start adding these terms to the wall when I teach narrative writing, and then shift their context and use the same devices to analyze rhetoric. I love that they stay up all year and are a useful reference no matter what we’re reading.
No Name Board:
No classroom could be complete without the board filled with nameless work. My designated spot is currently empty (it’s a miracle), but I know it is only a matter of time before someone submits a nameless assignment. That work is always doomed to sit there, unwanted, until a grade check brings its owner back to reality to claim it…usually 3 weeks later.
Each teacher’s classroom is unique, a fingerprint of its owner. It doesn’t need to be Pinterest perfect, and it doesn’t even need to be pretty to have purpose for you and your students. Don’t stress about making that perfect bulletin board, unless you want to…it is your room after all