Kids love a classroom that’s personalized with photos of themselves and name banners, but in the Language Arts classroom, you can take it a step further and really uses those beginning of the year days to help kids make your classroom their own personal reading and writing space.
As kids complete personal writings, list ideas, and track items they’ve learned, simple displays on the the classroom walls will tell everyone who enters that this is their Language Arts Classroom. Here are a few possibilities:
Take those beginning of the year snapshots a step further by having each kid create a page to introduce themselves. It’s a great, early chance to introduce text features as each kid designs a page highlighting their hobbies, skills, likes, and so forth. With a number of short items on one page, it’s the perfect time to work in the use of simple text features like bold print, color print, headings, illustrations, and bulleted lists. The finished pages will make a great display for back to school night, and the kids will love reading the details on each other’s pages too.
Writing Topics List
Sometimes kids have trouble thinking of something to write about, but a posted list of journal topics can help. An easy way to turn this type of list into a personalized classroom feature to would be to begin a running list with the class in the fall, and then periodically have the kids add new topics of their choice as they read about new topics or cover new ground.
Word Wall Update
Kids can write and draw entries for each word on your word wall. Start with a few simple guidelines for the format so that the appearance will be somewhat uniform, and then just provide the words one at a time. A group of new words can be done as a whole class activity, and additional words can be kept on hand for kids who finish an assignment early. In fact, a store of word wall words is a great thing to have on hand for spare moments. Their word wall may not end up picture perfect, but the kids will have ownership.
Whether you read lots of novels in your class or focus mainly on short stories or informational texts (or all of the above!), kids will have their opinions about what they’ve read. So as they express their likes ad dislikes, why not make it part of their room. An ongoing bulletin board display about novels read as a whole class could include features like a ratings chart that shows how many students gave a particular title four stars, three stars, and so on. A binder of book reviews could be available for students to check out what their classmates think about free reading titles.
All of these little ideas for classroom displays will help to personalize your ELA classroom and really make it their classroom too. And another thing that I like about most of the ideas above is that they are ongoing. The writing topics list, the updated word wall, and the reviews can all be ongoing activities. That means you will continually have new material to post that will keep your displays timely as long as you feel like keeping them up.
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