Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bulletin Boards + Decor

I am such a sucker for pretty things.  Now, you KNOW that means my bulletin boards must match my pretty things mindset.  I know most Spanish teachers stick with the standard Spanish boards and I did too, for a while.  Then, a couple of years ago I started to make some changes.  I still like the content of my boards to be related to my subject matter (of course), but I don't like them looking traditional as I am anything but.  

In my old classroom, I had bulletin bulletin boards inside the room and also a nice wall outside of my classroom that I used.  I didn't make the best boards outside the room because I couldn't put up paper, borders, etc., but I still used the space like I did here with an extra credit project I did with my students asking them to portray why it's important to learn a second language.  I actually took this idea and am using it again as my start of the year bulletin boards for next year since I want to spark interest with my new students by featuring my old students.  In fact, I had a student make me the large Instagram poster (he drew and painted it) that I'm using again next year in a different purpose.

#WhyStudyLanguages bulletin board (outside of classroom) from 2012-2013 school year.
The inside of my old classroom from 2012-2013 that just showed the start of my Social Media board.  Ultimately the Pinterest side was decorated with real life pictures of vocabulary in the world and the Twitter side had different Tweets from students that were written up each day.  The Boggle board stayed looking like that and encouraged the students to make words from the letters shown in Spanish.
Now, in my new classroom (2013-2014), I embraced the idea of wrapping paper instead of bulletin board paper and even used some plastic tablecloths later in the year (sorry, no pic) along with tissue paper flowers and even some papel picado made by a student (cut up tissue paper used in many Day of the Dead celebrations).  Of course, I had a very "loud" room last year as my new room was desperate for some paint on the walls and I had to make due this year and cover up the disgusting leftover tape (that was practically glued to the wall) from moving in.  It took a year, but the room will be painted this summer so I don't need to cover anything up like you see I did below.

Zebra was the print of choice for 2013-2014 since I found a lot on clearance.  This isn't just my bulletin boards, but more the decor of my room.  You can see my pink bulletin board housed my contact info for the first day.  I left it up for a while, but wound up changing it to something else (below) later in the year.  The black board was intended to be a homeroom announcement board but I wound up not having a homeroom, so that changed pretty quickly.
This is an eclectic shot of my room.  I told you I had a lot going on.  But, I did love my shower curtain window with the map of the Spanish-speaking world used as the main focal point.  I also did a calendar on my side white board with washi tape.  I love how it looked, but I wound up ditching it about halfway through the year because I needed to use that space to put up daily objectives for the three levels I teach.
I wish I had a picture of both my bulletin boards with the directional maps my students painted onto butcher paper, but this is all I have.  We did a long lesson on giving and following directions and my students made several different maps, this being one of them.  I'm hoping I get some even better maps this coming year.  :)
Please forgive the yellow-y walls and trim, they're being painted this summer.  This is one of the two boards I've done for the 2014-2015 school year.  As I mentioned above, this is the extra credit project I had students do a couple of years ago.  I plan on switching out these pictures with my new students pictures once we complete this assignment as a project.  I also created the bottom border with different words used to explain why it's important to learn a second language.  Chevron is clearly the theme this year...actually, it's aqua and white chevron mixed with black and white polka dots that will be on my other two boards.
Though I'm re-using the Instagram sign a student created for me a few years back, this board is new all together.  I took inspiration from this Pin but realized I really couldn't do something like that on my door.  So, I took it inside my room and made a little bulletin board of snapshots of Spanish-speaking countries.  This was especially important to me because we'll be traveling to Spain for my FIRST trip abroad with students in 2016 and I wanted to make sure I had something to "sell" the trip to my incoming students.
I still have a lot of work to do in my classroom, but my hands are tied until everything is painted.  Hopefully this will help to inspire you.  What are your bulletin boards looking like??

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Revisiting Interactive Notebooks

I haven't been writing in the blog much as I just haven't had the time.  Between a full-time teaching job, a part-time home based business and a rambunctious two year old, I'm surprised I even found time to start the blog, let alone keep up with it.

Anyway, I wanted to take a bit of time to talk about the Interactive Notebooks I mentioned in my last post.  I knew I was onto something when I first starting seeing information all over the net about them, but I never knew they'd turn out to be something my students took seriously and some even cherished.  I've said before that I work in a very blue collar town and, unfortunately, education isn't necessarily the most important thing in many of my students's minds.  I had several students tell me these notebooks not only helped them in my class, but some even told me they liked them so much they plan on using them in the future...even in college!

Here is one of my Spanish II student's notebooks.  She took pride in this and it shows from her cover art.
I haven't worked out all the kinks yet and I know I could do so much more with them, but for the second half of the 2013-2014 school year, I used them and I have noticed a change in retention and an improvement in my students' grades.  I do think the Interactive Notebooks are the reason why.  Let's face it, not every high school student is a good note-taker and not every high school student cares enough to bring materials to class, learn from those materials and then succeed in class and outside of class.  To combat that, I began using the notebooks and I intend to use them next year as well because now my students know where to look for information, notes, vocabulary, etc. (in the Table of Contents).  

I still have one more day left of school this year, but over the summer I'll be working on revamping the notebooks and I'll be sure to post a lot more on this subject.  Let me know, are you using Interactive Notebooks in your classes?  If you are, what are you doing, what do you like, what don't you like?  If you're not, what would you like to know?

Until next time...