I may be exhausted, but I’m happy.
My first day back at school went swimmingly! There were only 10 children present and they were all on their best behavior. We had many laughs, shared some great stories and have started the new year on a fantastic foot.
As promised, I’d like to share the classroom displays which are adorning my walls. I still have two displays to share with you but will wait until the kids have left their impression on them.
Fun, engaging bulletin boards are one of the easiest ways to create a unique classroom environment. On the first day of school, students are instantly drawn to the appearance of their new classroom. For kids and parents alike, first impressions matter.
Throughout the year, my bulletin boards are more working walls than display boards. The boards are constantly referred to and adapted to reflect our current learning. Students reference the walls for a variety of reasons including spelling and examples of correctly used skills.
Even though the walls were not yet in active use when I took the final photos this morning, they were ready for action and dressed to impress.
Here’s a quick, direct from my camera phone, guide for preparing bulletin boards for the first day of school.
First up,measure the boards. To make life easier in the future, write the measurements directly on the boards using a permanent marker. This way, you will never have to measure again!
If several of your boards have the same measurements, you’re in luck! Three of my boards are 250.5x 120 cm so I can measure and cut all three papers at once.
Simply layer the paper you want to use, measure once and cut twice or thrice. Give yourself a bit or extra paper for each end of the boards to guarantee that it will fit. Any extra paper can later be cut away with an exacto knife.
Mark the measurement on each end of the paper then place a meter stick in the middle to help form a right angle fold.
Fold the paper over the meter stick then remove the meter stick and press the paper to form a crisp fold.
Cut along the fold using a sharp knife.
Your background paper is now cut to size and ready to use!
Staple it up, edge with some fancy borders then get to filling in the boards as you wish.
Here’s a quick view of the displays in my classroom this year.
Reading Strategies CAFE Menu.
This display is right next to our emergency door which gets quite drafty at times. So rather than using post it notes for the kids to mark their reading goals, they each decorated a clothes pin to clip to the sign which reflects their reading goals.
This project was yet to be completed when I left school last night. I was so pleasantly surprised to come in this morning and find my awning hanging in place. I still want it to stick out from the wall a bit more, but I am so happy with the look as a whole.
Today we posted our first two reading strategies so the display is already doing its job.
Even though I printed, backed and laminated the CAFE signs, it wasn’t until I looked at these photos that I realized the CAFE descriptions hadn’t printed. Oh well, I’ll just write them on tomorrow!
Vibrant Vocabulary Word Wall
I’ve not had a word wall until now because I couldn’t spare the space for one permanent display. This year I took the plunge and decided to go for it. I’m sure we will use the wall frequently enough to make up for the “lost space.”
Recipe for Success in Year 4B
I made this display last year to accompany our first day of school Recipe for Success activity. It was such a hit, I decided to do it again. Even at the end of the year, parents and children were still talking about the Recipe for Success. One family continued to follow the recipe at home and made our first day activity as a snack throughout the year. To hear more about the display and activity, click here.
Play Fair in Year 4
Another display that I used last year, this display sets the expectations for behavior in the classroom by referring to football (that’s soccer for all my American readers.) The kids get warning before receiving a yellow or red card depending on the severity of their misbehavior. This is one of the best behavior management strategies I’ve used or seen used. It is based on the understanding that the children are all respectful and will play fairly, but is prepared to help manage any unsportsmanlike actions. You can read more here.
Math Working Wall
(Yes, that says Maths. Those silly Brits put an ‘s’ after the word math.)
This is another active working wall that will be used throughout the year. I loved The Clutter Free Classroom’s Math Workshop Rotation Board. I put my own spin on her ideas to make the rotations work in my classroom.
You probably can’t tell by the photo, but there is one star for each day of the week. There is also space for the work book page and extension page to be completed each day. I only have 12 students this year so have decided to go with 3 groups.
I plan on starting the math lessons as usual with mental math, class instruction, whole group practice and work book pages. This will probably take 40 minutes. I plan on using the last 20 minutes of our math lesson for stations. The kids will rotate between the five stations you can see labeled on the trays- one station per day. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Each child has a pocket on this display where other kids can leave book recommendations. There is even a pocket for our classroom assistant and me (which I still need to make labels for.) Everyone loves receiving mail, especially in the form of a specially recommended book!
What are you Reading?
Every year I take a photo of each student holding a sign that says “I’m reading.” These photos are then printed, laminated and stuck on this display. The students place a post-it note on their photo sharing their current read.
This is a quick and easy way to share books and create the platform for book talks. Last year one of my students collected her old post-it notes and was so proud of her “book stack” at the end of the year.
Visual Time Table
This time table helps the students to feel prepared for the day and helps me to not hear “what are we doing next?” 1,000 times a day. I made this chart by cutting plastic files in half and taping them against the large cardstock to form top-opening pockets.I simply swap out the cards and spin the movable clock faces to match our agenda for the day.
Odds and Ends
I love quotes and have had a lot of using them around the year this room. Although these are not displays, they do decorate our room and help create a one-of-a-kind environment.
I recreated this sign in power point to match a poster from pinterest.
One of my favorite quotes is an extension off of Dr. Seuss’s “The more you read…” quote. I like the extended version but am unsure of the original author.
If you’re after the fantastic sign against my writing station, click here to download a copy for yourself.
So, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my display tour.
Check back tomorrow to see two more displays: Frame Worthy Work and our Classroom Commitment Tree.