With the feeling of finally starting to feel comfortable in my teaching shoes comes with learning what is and isn't working for me in my classroom and my teaching.
Last year on that big colorful bulletin board you see below, I had a ton of vocab cards hanging that were really quite great. I got them from here on Teachers Pay Teachers. I referenced them maybe ONCE last year. So at the start of this year I pulled them all down and was going to try the working word wall approach (adding words as I talk about them). That is what the board is set up for in the picture.
As of a few week ago, almost a month into school, the board was still exactly like that. Even though, I had introduced a few vocabulary words that I had a card for and should have added. That was when it hit me. If I have not started this yet-- I'm probably never going to. So after some inspiration from the internet I decided to purchase a world map out of my budget. I found one from School Specialty that was already laminated and was beautiful!
My goal is to add any artist we talk about during the year, even if its a brief conversation, and connect a string from the artist to where they were from in the world.
I spent about a half hour at school last Sunday taking down the letters set up for the world wall and putting up the map. I also made 5x7 cards that have an artist's name, birth place, and a few examples of their work. I created them in a word doc and then made a blank one to be used as a template to keep them consistent all year.
Since having the map and artist cards up I used the map as a reference in EVERY class. Even kindergarten. It was great to see students already making connections in just one class!
I finished the week out adding the same map and cards to a huge board in my other building and have been using that with just as much success, leaving me feeling very accomplished.
You can't win every battle each week, but sometimes the little things are really big wins for yourself.