As you may have heard, I am starting a brand new blog series called Sunday Strategy Share. I believe so many times, we are just surviving as teachers. Running copies, teaching our best, and basically living life as an exhausted human being. Teaching is rewarding and fun but dang, it is hard. Am I right?
I wanted to start a series that you could rely on weekly to help you build your strategies as a teacher. Almost like a professional development system except free and in your pjs? Each week I will be sharing new (free) content and ideas with you.
If you don’t want to miss these weekly updates…make sure you subscribe to my newsletter. Each week I will send the blog link out in my newsletter! It is an easy way to stay in the loop and grab some free resources!
On to this week’s Strategy Share. I have wanted to talk about this strategy for a while. I believe it could be one of the most important things to include in your classroom. Even more so, it is one of the most important strategies to diversify in your classroom.
Using visual content in the classroom may not be a new concept to you as a teacher…or maybe it is? I know not all children are visual learners, however–even when doing hands-on assignments, students are using their visualization skills. As a teacher, it is our responsibility to diversify visual content in the classroom. Our students need different visual experiences. So, how can we do this?
1. Visual Content in the Classroom
Your classroom does not have to be a Pinterest classroom to include great visual content on the walls and other areas of your classroom. Asking yourself, “What can my students learn from the content on my walls and on their desks?” will help you think about the visual displays in your classroom. In fact, cute bulletin boards that have no meaning are a waste of space. Sure, they look great but are the students gaining anything from them? No. Some great visual content to include on the walls and on the students’ desks might include:
- Anchor Charts
- Rule and Procedures
- Character Responsibilities
- Book Recommendations
- Math Facts
- Question Stems
2. Photographs Incorporated in Assignments
Photographs help students connect their learning to real-world experiences. Many students never see things outside of their homes or school. They may not get to have the experiences other children get to have.
Pixabay is a fabulous website for finding amazing (free) stock photos. Using these photos each morning when the students come in the classroom is a great engagement tool. Put a photo up on the screen and have the students discuss inferences they can make about the picture. The students can even just discuss what is happening in the picture.
Brief Teaching Story: I had this on my screen one morning with my 3rd graders. We discussed inferences, problem-solving, feelings, and so much more. I actually had a student not understand why there was a man running toward the little boy. The student thought the boy was trying to ride away from the stranger and that is why he fell.
I think the dad is running to help the child. If a student doesn’t have a dad though, maybe they see something different? It was such an interesting conversation and the students were all so understanding to this boy’s vision of the photograph. I will never forget it.
Real photographs can be added to so many different assignments. It costs nothing and can teach the children so much!
3. Video Clips
Here is a screenshot of a video of MLK that we love! It comes with a quiz, the students can make a video like the one they saw, there is a transcript of the video that we have used as reader’s theatre too! It is a great website!
4. Classroom Experiments
Worried you aren’t meeting the needs of those hands-on learners too? Use classroom experiments! The students are getting awesome exposure to visual content while doing hands-on experiments. These can even be integrated into reading and writing!
Check out this experiment on The Science Behind an Apple (just click to download!) Great visual content but also hands-on! Visual content needs to be engaging no matter what–experiments are a great way to accomplish this goal!
5. Real and Virtual Field Trips
Lastly, field trips. You probably (hopefully) get to go on a field trip each year. Could you manage to do another? It never hurts to ask! If you cannot though, take your students on virtual field trips!
Also, never ever underestimate the value in just getting outdoors with your students. Work on life skills, explore, and have fun.
You could even set aside a time with the cafeteria to take your students to watch them prepare the food or have the students work on table manners together. It costs nothing and you would be surprised how many children need visual content like this in their lives.
I really hope these free tips and tricks have helped you see how easy (and important) visual content is in the classroom! Remember, a Pinterest classroom is much less valuable to students than these visual tools.
I am certain I left out some wonderful ideas. I would love to hear from you in the comment section! What kind of things do you do to support visual content in your classroom?
Thank you for reading this week and I hope you will check out next Sunday’s Strategy Share!
Have a wonderful week!