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Instructional Practice

What to Do With All Those White Walls? 5 Must Haves to Improve the Physical Environment in Your Classroom

Research conducted over the past 30 years has shown that the quality of the classroom environment is a significant determinant of student learning (Fraser, 1994, 1998). Students perform better and have more positive attitudes toward the subject taught when they perceive the classroom environment positively. So what do you need as a teacher to make a positive and productive physical environment in your class? Below are 5 must haves to fill up that white wall space.


Word Walls

Word walls teach students to use academic language in the classroom. Make sure your word wall is some where students can easily see it and can refer to it throughout class. We love word walls that contain a definition AND picture.



Current Anchor Chart


What are students learning in class? Keep anchor charts up throughout the unit so you can reference what students are learning and access prior knowledge when reviewing or teaching new material. These can capture key points from a lesson or step by step processes that students will have to repeat.



Current Student Work


Even if they don’t say it, students love to be recognized for good work. Having a 100% club or hanging up model work motivates students to do their best and celebrates their achievements.



Goals and Trackers


Every student should know what the goal is for your class, and they should be able to see it every day. Trackers are a way for students to see their progress towards that goal. Goals and trackers should be referenced frequently to help motivate students to work hard.



Sentence Stems


No matter what your subject sentence stems are a great way to prompt student discussion and writing.



What else do you post on your white walls? Share your ideas below!



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