Living Walls

Making the learning process visual and alive, even when that might look messy. How I use my classroom displays to encourage collaboration.

Photo of Becka Nathan

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Sometimes I wonder why we display the things we do on our classroom walls. Do the students really engage with what we put up there? Is it all about things looking neat and tidy? I think it is wonderful to display artwork as a way of giving it value and because in the 'real world' that is how we treat precious artifacts. But, publishing for the sake or publishing or solely teacher made/selected posters doesn't feel purposeful or student centered. 

This year, I decided that we'd use our walls in part to display information and art work, but also as a giant inspiration or pinboard. I thought that if I made the whole thinking and learning process visual, like a designer might do in their office, it would generate conversation that led to collaboration and innovation. It took a bit of prompting to make this part of our classroom practice and not just adding to it when it was teacher directed. But we're getting there! So far our wall has taken many shapes, and will likely continue as the year progresses as we as a class have decided that our inquiry is going to last all year! This process has really helped us as a class think about learning not as a start and end point but as a meaningful and authentic ongoing process of problem solving, designing, sharing, etc.

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The Blank Plan


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Photo of Ellen Deutscher

Thank you for sharing your "living wall." It is great how the students can continue to interact with this space so that it continues to grow and change to reflect their learning.

Photo of Becka Nathan

I think reflecting their learning is key here. How can we know where things are going to go until we're in it? My hope is that walls like this signal to students that teaching and learning is about them and not just a teacher wanting a pretty display, ha!

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