On the Walls: What to look for in a classroom where learning happens

In his The Schools our Children Deserve Alfie Kohn has a quick and easy chart for what to look for in the classroom. It includes this chart about the walls.

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Give it a try next time you are in Gilkeson.

In the last couple of weeks I have captured a fraction of the learning as reflected on the walls .

Sometimes it’s a work in progress – reflecting a project underway like the statistical chart of favorite activities.  Or a stage along the way of a much longer project as with the Market Street photos of 3-d recreations of local businesses and buildings.

Sometimes it’s finished work showcased together with an explanation of the process as with many art displays.

And sometimes it’s learning made visible as   or a math word problem with an invitation to come up with a solution.

There are dream houses described and drawn and artifacts made with older buddies.

There are reflections on books, survey results,

poems and sayings and art. Lots of art.  The youngest children shared their families in detail. The oldest in the lower school made their learning visible with the detailed labelled drawing of the human body and invited participation with their word problems in math.

So – admire the life and learning of the classroom as reflected on the walls and then take a glance at Kohn’s list. And  you can check them off. No sterile commercial motivational posters on these walls and nothing that sets children up to race to nowhere.

Rather there’s a riot of learning in all its wonderful and sometimes messy glory – charts, posters, photographs, diagrams, signs, models – and alongside that the proud displays of finished work. And art. Everywhere.

It’s all testimony to some very creative and industrious kids. And also to their dedicated and equally industrious and creative teachers. Thank you for all the insights into the life of learning in your classrooms.

See for yourself:

1 Comment

  1. Wow! Great video! Huge fan of Alfie Kohn’s.

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