Math = Love: What's On My Classroom Walls

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What's On My Classroom Walls

So, we're supposed to write a blog post about what's on the walls of our classrooms.  And when someone tells me to do something, I usually do it.  Except when I don't.  Like when Kate asked us to post about why we blog.  I meant to do that, but I never got around to it.  Sorry Kate!  And, I never did my Day In The Life post either.  I wrote down everything I did for a day, but I'm pretty sure those notes are long gone...  Or, back circa 2009, I got tagged in one of those 25 Random Things About Me posts on facebook.  I was supposed to write my own list of random things.  I put it on my to do list, but it's 2014 and still undone.  Oops...  Maybe I should write a list of random things about myself to put on my About Me page.  Adding to my to do list right now.  Maybe it'll get done within the decade.  :)      

Seeing as my summer has already started, my decorations are all taken down for the summer.  I know some of you are still in school.  Don't hate me!  I counted today, and I have 86 days left until school starts back up again on August 14th.  And, I have so, so, so much to get done before then!

Classroom Decorations In Preparation To Be Packed Away


Though my decorations have been packed away, I did manage to find photos of most of my wall decorations to share.

The northwest corner of my classroom had two posters - Nelson Mandela and an aerial shot of a field that was cut/plowed/I don't know what you call it to look like a vase of flowers.  I picked up the aerial photograph poster at a garage sale for a quarter.  The Nelson Mandela Poster was in a set of three free posters that I received from The Foundation For A Better Life.  You can request your own set of three free posters and a dvd here.  

Posters in NW Corner of Classroom

On my cabinet, I posted Truth Signs and various mathematical posters that I printed off the Internet.  You can download the Truth Signs here.  

Posters on Storage Cabinet

Along the top of my dry erase board, I posted the 8 Standards of Mathematical Practice in kid-friendly language.  I downloaded these from Everybody Is A Genius.  Above those are posters I downloaded from NCCTM.  

Posters on Dry Erase Board

This year, I made one of my bulletin boards into a wall of pride.  I wanted to create a place for students to post things they were proud of.  I guess I didn't do a very good job of explaining this because hardly anything got hung up there all year.  It soon became more of a place to hang lunch menus and fliers.  I did hang up a few things that students colored or made for me.  And, during the last month of school, I did have a student make a snowflake and hang it up on the wall of pride.  Yes, a snowflake in May.

I also have two flags in my classroom from my alma mater, The University of Tulsa!  Go Golden Hurricane!

Wall of Pride Bulletin Board

Snowflake

One of the first things students look at when they walk in my classroom is the daily and monthly celebrations that are posted below the date.  I look up the crazy holiday celebrations here.  The date is always written as a math problem.  This drives my students insane.  Some will ask me the date in an effort to get out of solving the problem on the board.  When they do this, I will read the problem directly off the board in response to their question.

Date and Daily Celebration on Dry Erase Board

Below the date and holidays, I post a quote of the week.  These consist of posters I have downloaded off the Internet and posters of math quotes I have created myself.  You can download the posters I created here.

Quote of the Week


One of my bulletin boards is rather unfortunately placed behind two lovely pipes.  It's certainly not ideal, but you have to learn to live with things like this when you teach in a building that's been around since 1919.  This was a new addition for this year.  Students earn their name on a star by scoring at least an 85% on a unit test.  Since I've started dipping my toes into the waters of SBG, I'm not sure how to modify this or if I should even continue this.  My students loved it.  They love seeing their names up on the board.  My students from my first year of teaching were really mad at me for introducing this because they never got to have their name up on a star when they were in my class.

Star Students Bulletin Board

Above my SMART Board, I have a banner that reads, "Welcome to Class."  I picked it up at Wal-Mart in their $0.88 bin two years ago.  This past year, I added left/right posters.  I was shocked at how many of my high school students have trouble differentiating between left and right.  Next year, I want to add cardinal direction posters as well.  Our school likes to make announcements such as, "There will be a senior picture at 11:30 on the south steps."


Welcome to Class!  (And, Left and Right Reminders)

This year I took one of my bulletin boards and used it to post some free Texas Instrument calculator posters that I received at a workshop.  Since my district doesn't have TI Smart View, and I can't use my Smart Board and my document camera at the same time, these come in handy to show students where various calculator buttons are.    
Calculator Posters


As the year progressed, I added friendly reminders for frequently used calculator buttons.  

Adding Helpful Reminders to Calculator Posters

Behind my desk, I have several free posters that I received from the AMS.  You can request free posters here.
Math Posters Behind Desk

I also have a Mona Lisa poster behind my desk with a reminder to smile.  Somedays, I really need this reminder!

Mona Lisa Poster

At the back of my room, I have a bulletin board that I planned on changing out monthly.  Well, I put up Pascal's Triangle in August, and I took it down in May.  So, that plan failed.  Maybe next year...

Pascal's Triangle Bulletin Board

One of the best things I hung up in my classroom this year was a number line.  It was a great help to me in my teaching and my students while they were working.  For example, I taught slope as change in y over change in x.  If the y value began as 3 and ended as -5, students could locate 3 and -5 on the number line and visually see that there was a decrease of 8.  My students do not come to me in Algebra 1 with strong integer skills, so this number line is a lifesaver.  My students have requested that I make them individual number lines next year to keep in their notebooks.  My special education students especially need this because there is no number line available to them if they go and work in the resource room.  Though, I guess I could print off another copy of the number line and gift it to our special education teacher.  I may just do that!  If you want to print your own number line poster, I wrote a post about it here.

Printable Number Line Pieces 

Here's my number line up in action.  With more free posters above it.  Can you tell I love free posters?  :)

South Wall of Classroom with Number Line

On my door is one of my favorite classroom decorations.  I found this on pinterest, and I modified it to be about math instead of science.  I have posted the file to make this here.

Door Decoration

Below my SMART Board, I have various problem solving strategy posters displayed.  I didn't emphasize these as much as I should have this year.  Problem solving strategies are going to be a major area of emphasis for me next year with the transition to Common Core, though.  You can download these problem solving strategy posters here.

Problem Solving Strategy Posters Below Smart Board

Outside my classroom door, my parents built me a bulletin board to hang stuff on.  They also built all the other bulletin boards in my classroom.  Let's just say my parents are super crafty, do-it-yourself people!  Here, I post my name, room number, and subject taught.  I also added math comics and a poster I picked up at Target, I think.

Bulletin Board Outside Classroom Door

These posters are hung up on a wall that I amazingly never photographed in my classroom.  I got them for free from WeUseMath.org.

More Free Math Posters

Hanging from my ceiling, I have modular origami made from sonobe units.  By the end of the year, my students are always very excited to finally learn how to build their own origami projects.

Origami Hanging From Ceiling

I try to display student work to inspire other students, but I haven't done the best job of it.  This was one of my student's projects during my first year of teaching.  My students this year loved looking at it and using the handles to make the reporter move.  When students would ask where the pencil sharpener was, I would always explain that it was by the television.  "But, but, but there's not television in here!"

Student Projects On Display

My aim is to have a classroom decor that is bright, colorful, inviting, and inspiring.  My students notice what is on the walls.  They see things and ask questions.  Creating a beautiful classroom environment is just one way I can show my students how much I care.  Our students come to use from a middle school that is less than five years old.  When they come to our almost hundred year old building, the difference is evident.  By taking the time to make my classroom a home of sorts, I am communicating the effort I am willing to put out and the effort I expect my students to put out.  Plus, I spend 8-12 hours a day in this room.  It needs to be a place that makes me smile!

View of Classroom From My Desk

Over the course of the year, my students add their own touches to the decor.  They love to draw pictures on the dry erase boards and post them for the other classes to see.  Here are a few pictures of boards that have found a home in my classroom this year.  I usually leave them up for a few weeks before erasing them.  My students always get mad when I erase them, but if I didn't, we wouldn't have any boards left to solve problems on!

Student Artwork

Student Artwork

Student Artwork

Student Artwork

Since my classroom is small and has less wall space than I would like, I have also taken to hanging things on the wall outside my classroom.  Here are some posters that my students made to review the process of factoring polynomials.

Factoring Difference of Squares Poster

Factoring Difference of Squares Poster

I also hung up my statistics semester projects on the wall outside my classroom.

Statistics Poster Project

Statistics Poster Project

Statistics Poster Project

So, there you have it.  This is what adorned the walls of my classroom this year.  Could it be better?  Of course!  I'm already working on plans for next year's classroom decor.  I've bought some new posters.  I also picked up the cursive alphabet to hang up.  Hardly any of my students can write in cursive.  It's becoming a scary world out there!  I'm also thinking about posting the greek alphabet.  That would have come in super handy in statistics this past year.  But, I figure we can find a way to use it in trig next year, too.

5 comments:

  1. Sarah,

    What about the "Magic Hexagon" for trigonometry as a wall decoration? http://www.mathsisfun.com/algebra/trig-magic-hexagon.html

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    1. My mind is seriously blown by the amazingness of this hexagon! This is so going up on my wall next year! Thanks for the link!

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  2. Hi! I love your blog! I cannot download the math standards from Everybody is a Genius to print them. I will be starting my first year of teaching in September and I would love to put them in my classroom! Any suggestions/how did you print them? Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Have you tried this link? http://everybodyisageniusblog.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/kid-friendly-mathematical-practices.html

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  3. Thank you so much!

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