Today, I’m sharing a few of the new ideas I used in my classroom this year!
I am all about going cheap on decorations. It’s easy to get carried away with a theme and buy tons of stuff. This year, I tried to reuse what I had in my classroom and spiced up boring signs by downloading free, cutesy fonts!
The past two years of teaching, I wasn’t too happy with the bulletin boards that I had decorated. They weren’t useful to my teaching and were more like “fillers” just to get something up. This year, I planned them out ahead of time (A novel idea, right?!) and am a lot happier with the results. They are far from being the desirable ones that I see on Pinterest, but I think they’re going to work a lot better for my students.
Here is what I call my “command center.” It’s where I post the date, our daily learning objectives and homework. I teach four sections of language arts (ELA) and one section of Foundations (F), which is like an introduction to middle school class for sixth graders only. This board is located right when you walk in my door, and I tell students that it should be the first thing they read upon entering my room. At the bottom, my first hour students can mark their lunch choice as they come in too!
Next, right beside my command center is my Exit Ticket board. This is something that I have seen on Pinterest so many times and finally decided to try.
The idea is that some days at the end of class, I will give my students a slip of paper, an “exit ticket” to leaving my room. They will have to write a question they have about the lesson from that day or a fact they learned. As they leave, they place their slip in the appropriate folder for how well they understand that concept.
This will help me get an informal assessment of my students’ progress and understanding, and it will be a less embarrassing way for them to say “I don’t get it.” Many students are too embarrassed to say this during class, so now, they just have to slip their paper in the folder, and I can tell that I need to review or reteach certain things.
Next up, is the board I’m most excited for this year: the “Where will reading take you?” board!
After students read a book this year, I’m asking them to fill out a slip of paper with their name, the book title, and the settings where the book took place. At the end of each month, I will go through the bucket of slips and we will place pins on the map for each place that the book was set in!
I told them that my goal is to have the map covered by the end of the year, and many students seemed excited and willing to participate so I’m anxious to get this one underway! I hope this encourages some extra reading on their part as well!
My third bulletin board is for RACE writing, which our school adopted last year as the form of writing we will teach to all grades in middle school.
The point of this one is to be a resource for students as we practice RACE writing this year. You can see sentence starter ideas for the “C” and “E” parts. On the right, I will showcase excellent RACE responses that students write. We will try to showcase as many great examples as possible throughout the year.
And finally, this bulletin board is back by my teacher desk in the back of the classroom. I have kept it pretty much the same for my three years of teaching, just rearranging the order of things. I have some pictures and favorites quotes on this board.
That cute pencil sign at the top of the board was a gift from my friend Renee last year. She made it herself, and I just love it- the perfect personal touch!
I also have a picture of myself in sixth grade on my desk. My students get a kick out of seeing “little” Mrs. Snyder.
One thing I also do in my classroom is have a quote of the week on the board. I am a big quote person, and the students enjoy reading them and submitting their own favorite quotes for me to display.
The past two years, my students have told me that my room feels cozy and inviting, and that is my ultimate goal as a teacher! I want all of my students to know that they are in a safe place where they belong. While I might not have an all-out theme that I use in my room, I try to keep it bright and positive!
Have a wonderful day!
Question of the Day: Of the teachers you had in school, what made your favorite ones stand out?