Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Classroom Posters & Bulletin Boards

What little space is my classroom that's not covered in my gigantic US map or anchor charts is usually filled with student work or cute motivational sayings.  While I have to attempt to uphold fire codes, I do think these gems are worthwhile.  Also, according to a safety inspector, laminated materials won't burn and thus don't have to abide by the 18 inches from the ceiling rule! 

Motivational sign #1:

I teach in an inclusion classroom which means I've got lots of students with lots of different strengths.  This also means I need to make certain accommodations for some students to allow them to access the curriculum and content.  Note, I am not modifying (changing) the material, just making it more accessible so that all my munchkins can learn.  Some students receive calculators to check their work (not solve, check) on math tests while some don't.  I use this poster a lot to remind students about fairness.  I also use myself as an example because I wear glasses.  I ask them, "does me wearing glasses impact your learning?"  They often look at me like I'm crazy and shout "no!".  I say, "you're absolutely right. It's what I need to be successful and learn.  We all have different needs and we should help each other out."  That usually solves the "that's not fair, I want a calculator too!" conversations.

Another great one is

In fifth grade, we tend to have a lot of students blurt out their thoughts which is wonderful.  However, at this age, I need to be very firm on making sure these comments are helpful and constructive, not mean.  With our curriculum insisting that students communicate with one another, norms need to be set for successful conversations.  I found this poster to be an easy reminder for students about my expectations for their table talk, regardless of the content area.

Poster #3

We are a standards based school, which means our students don't receive grades.  Instead, we assess each of the CCSS (and re-assess) to track students' growth over time.  I love this saying because it reminds both myself and my munchkins that I don't expect them to be perfect. I expect them to try and keep trying.  In fact, it goes hand in hand with these gems:

By asking for effort and growth, students feel more empowered.  They aren't striving for the sometimes unattainable perfect 100% paper.  Instead, they are competing with themselves.

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 And of course, this one should be in every classroom:

This one can serve as a reminder for students and teachers alike some days...

However, this gem is just for teachers on those special, special days when you feel overwhelmed by the chaos of a classroom:

If you're anything like me, you often worry about students that aren't yours and things you have no control over.  So, repeat the mantra :)

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