Every student teacher’s dream is to have his/her own classroom and spend hours…days…weeks during the summer setting it up. Desk arrangements, putting names on almost EVERYTHING, and making those cute bulletin boards sound like a blast! The day before the students enter, the room is perfect, spotless, silent. Then……they come.
This board was actually next to my desk and because I lacked bulletin or white board space, was posters were taped to the wall. I included some posters about the Civil War with the Essential Understanding questions above them. We referred to these Essential Understandings throughout the unit and related each lesson to one of them. This board stayed up for the whole unit. Students would constantly take yellow post-its with questions they had and put it on the left side of the wall. I would try my best to find the answers to these questions and covered them in upcoming lessons. The students also used blue post-its to record information they learned and found interesting.
This next picture is of a closet I converted to a white board…because again….no useable space. The white board is actually from Really Good Stuff and came in a large roll with an adhesive back. It was actually really easy to put up and I was surprised that it didn’t leave me with any bubbles underneath. With this board, I used it as a review to reinforce the equation for finding the size of interior angles in regular polygons. After learning how and why this formula works, I created this chart on my closet. I started off by writing down the names of polygons and number of sides they had. Every day I would add a couple more. When students finished something up early, they were allowed to go over and fill in the rest of the information for a polygon. I continued doing this throughout the year with various other math problems or brain busters.
The last example I have for you goes back to the Civil War. During the unit, I dedicated half of my main white board to this word wall. As we heard a significant word that related to the Civil War, students wrote it down under the corresponding letter. At the end of the unit, I had the students create ABCs of the Civil War books. They were able to reference this board to help them. On each page, they were required to write the word, describe why it is significant, and draw a picture.
Well, you can clearly see that my room was probably not the most attractive that year because when you walked in, you saw messy student handwriting in various colors. Although it makes me feel better when everything is neatly written or printed on the computer, I definitely feel the value of students creating their own bulletin boards and I am proud at how my fifth graders took responsibility of their own learning.
Do you use interactive boards in your classroom? What have you found to be successful?