Teachers and students in Australia are beginning a new year of learning at the end of January. We are well and truly in 'back to school' mode!
As I prepare things for my classroom I try to think through to the end of the year - as difficult as that may be! I try to plan how my resources and teaching aids will be packed up and stored.
One thing I love to use for storing my posters and flat decor is large display books and artist portfolios (for my REALLY big posters).
At this time of year you can pick them up for a few dollars. I put a cute label on mine (free link at the end of this post) so I can remember what is in each. I have quite a few of these now, and love flicking through and seeing things I made in my very first year of teaching. It brings back lots of memories and helps me recall all the things I need to get prepared!
A few things I consider when planning my posters and display for the classroom are:
1. Less is More - I certainly have quite a haul of teaching resources that I have collected over the years and to my husband's disappointment I continue to buy and create more. I love having options to choose from and my tastes change. You will not want to display everything you have for your room right away. Put a few things up to make your classroom inviting on your students' first day, but leave some things to contribute collaboratively to your classroom environment. This will make your students feel part of the process and included in the development of the learning space.
I try to make my posters and displays a combination of decoration and function. They need to be useful in some way and have a connection to your class program, but if they can add an element of visual appeal, then you are saving yourself time and expense!
Before you hang something up - think - is this purpose served somewhere else in the room? Am I doubling up? Will my students look at an alphabet chart six meters away from their desk (way above their eye-level) or will an alphabet desk chart be more suitable and effective? Depending on the space you have to work with, these sorts of questions will be very important.
If you are limited in space, try having a few of your posters bound together with a ring-link and then flip them over to show content that is applicable in different times of your day. These are also called anchor-charts. Not everything has to be 'on show' all of the time.
2. Application - think about how you are going to attach a poster to a surface. Is putting a staple through a beautiful piece of wall timber really what we want to be modelling to our students about respect for the classroom? Perhaps consider as well, your responsibility to remove what you apply so you are not causing five days work for someone else down the track. Eucalyptus oil and microfibre cloths are fantastic for removing old bits of glue, blue-tac and dirt that have been left on a surface, before you put your new things up!
3. Lamination - I used to laminate everything. Not now. Printing is now easier and cheaper, so I don't mind re-printing things each year. The benefits of non-laminated posters are:
- Saved time, energy and expense making a poster.
- Once used, the paper version can be recycled (laminated paper cannot) and I feel better about my impact on our environment
- Reduced glare. The shine of a wall of lamination makes me loopy - am sure some students feel the same way! If I give up time and wall real-estate to add displays, I want them to be as functional as possible - non-shiny posters are more likely to engage my students.
There are some things I choose to laminate - usually displays that are low or at eye-level, interactive displays that are handled by students repetitively and posters that can be used with a dry-erase marker.
4. Fonts - get over the obsession with handwriting fonts. It is NOT crucial for every tiny model of print to be in your school's mandated handwriting font. In fact, students find it easier to learn to read with text that is more similar to a font that you would find in a book. Handwriting fonts are perfect for models when you are teaching the WRITING components of your program, but if we want our students to read a variety of texts, having a variety of fonts on display just makes sense!
5. Readiness - I like to have a stack of printed paper labels ready-to-go so I can whip up a poster or label in seconds. Use bright coloured markers, draw pictures (or have a student draw) and add fun stickers to add interest and appeal. Using easy-to-prep consistent themed-labels will help you to look organised (a theme or decor consistency will add a visual 'calmness' to your room) and is time efficient.
If you would like to set up a poster/decor folder like mine, find the 'Classroom Posters' label in google drive HERE
Thank you so much for stopping by - have a great day!