Flexible Learning Spaces: Instructional Boards

Poetry tiles add another interactive feature.

When we think of flexible learning spaces, furniture pops into our heads. True, awesome furniture is a dream many teachers have for their spaces, but cost can be prohibitive. A cheaper option is to look up off the floor and consider how our walls can flex to fit instructional needs.

I painted my previously hideous brown chalkboards with black chalkboard paint. Then I drilled into the board to hang picture ledges (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40291766/). I use the chalk tray already there, as well.

As a Language Arts teacher, I’m responsible for growing my students’ literacy and the best way to do that is to provide time and materials for them to read everyday. I make personal and whole class recommendations, conference with readers, and I rely on my boards to do some recommending too. I change out the chalk designs once a month. Themes include holidays, seasons, topics from texts we’ve studied, and whatever else I can think of. As students grab books and check them out from me, I replace them to keep the display plump.

We’ve been reading the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”. A student added the Hebrew translation.

Another approach is to check out books from the school library to promote that also tie into what you’re teaching at the moment. Kids can take them to the library and return them for you, then check them out for themselves. Often students are overwhelmed by the large school library collection and can’t find something they like on their own. This makes books more accessible to them. No matter what subject you teach, if you have a room with a chalk tray, this is an option at no cost to you.

School library books.

For my next display, I will invite some students to make a personally curated collection of books to recommend and write a note about why people should read it. Just in case you’re looking for some good books…