Don’t Decorate – Design!
It is back to school time, and teachers all across the US are frantically putting up posters and bulletin boards to decorate their room before the first day of school. But instead of filling every space with a historical poster, consider leaving parts of your room with open space to later fill with resources that will support learning.
I have had the opportunity to visit many different classrooms across the Houston area, and I am always so impressed with the different ways teachers are able to support learning with the spaces in their room used intentionally. Thank you to the teachers in Alief, Aldine and Galena Park for allowing me to take pictures of your room and to share.
Word Walls are essential for learning and mastering vocabulary in Social Studies. Leave space for your vocabulary terms on your white board, wall or bulletin board. Word Wall terms for Texas History and US History should be vertically aligned to support STAAR.
You can post key phrases or content on sentence strips to add extra information to your timeline. Images are also another way to enhance learning with an Era Wall Timeline that represent the key events of an era.
You can also set up your student tool kits prior to the start of school. Did you know dry erase markers can be used on desks? Just keep a wet wipe handy to clean it off at the end of each period. Pencil pouches can be attached with binder rings to keep them close to students and reduce movement in the classroom. Add packs of post-it notes to your tool kits for quick interactions with both the text and your word walls. Have you made question dice? Or Chat Cards? Add those to your tool kit also. (Learn more about these strategies in my online PD sessions).
Have you been making anchor charts this summer from my PD session? You can keep your anchor charts up all year, or pull them out prior to an assessment for an additional review.
What tips do you have for designing your room for intentional learning?