One of the biggest decisions faced by teachers when planning the classroom layout is to consider use of bulletin board space. With great teaching stores throughout the city, there are endless options for posters and decorations that encourage character education, reading strategies, writing tips, and more. But what about creating such displays of information, in the words of the children?
At the beginning of every school year, there are lessons that likely take place in each classroom regardless of the grade being taught. For example, we have discussions about the use of numbers, the purpose of reading, and the necessity of writing. The key point to remember is the notion of discussion, as it should be a conversation between students and the teacher about such topics. We ask children to tell us “in your own words” so that it is meaningful in the context of their learning. Often times, teachers will record these ideas on chart paper, which encourages student voice through the sharing of their opinions. I have recently started adding student names with their responses on our classroom charts. This exemplifies student ownership, as each student is recognized for the sharing of their own opinions and ideas. It also encourages student participation, as children like to be appreciated for their thoughts. Creating such charts is a simple and meaningful solution to empty bulletin board space, and the fact that they are student-generated is priceless!
Check out the photo to see some of our charts about reading. The following is posted right beside the charts to highlight the connection to children’s rights:
All children have the right to share their opinion, and for adults to listen and take it seriously. – United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 12