Classroom wall space is used in so many ways – for some, a wall space’s purpose is to display student work and to show anyone walking in what their students have been learning about, from projects to artwork, etc. For others who are on a mission to have the most ‘Pinterest-worthy’ classroom, wall displays are created for the “wow” factor and to impress. And for yet others wall space is simply a dreaded space one needs to fill, another element in the long list of items teachers are required to do – and so a few posters are hung up that relate to units being taught or that have inspirational quotes for students to look at and be motivated to try their best.
But what if, as educators, we could do better? What if wall space actually became part of the learning environment – an interactive area where students can extend their learning? Imagine walking into a classroom where every wall serves a clear educational purpose – what would that look like? Perhaps a wall space’s purpose could be to extend learning on topics covered in class by encouraging students to read one another’s projects and comment and/or ask questions about them. Perhaps there could be a question and answer wall where students would be free to ask questions about units being covered and anyone could answer. What if walls were used for brainstorming sessions, if learners could help each other solve math problems using the space, if articles were hanging up that students were free to read and comment on, or if students could make connections to their foreign language classes and write translations on a wall … imagine how that would impact a students’ learning journey!
Walls shouldn’t be seen as spaces to fill, but rather as a means to extend and fuel what is already taking place in your classroom. Have a look at your teaching space – what changes can you make to turn your wall decorations into engaging and meaningful learning opportunities? Extending beyond your classroom walls, what changes could you make to displays in your school’s hallways? We’d love to hear any inspirational ideas you may have!