Focus walls are becoming a big classroom trend, and for good reason. They create a positive learning environment for students by laying out clear goals. They share a collective vision for everyone in the classroom.
What exactly is a focus wall? It’s an intentional area of the classroom that displays learning targets, as well as the curriculum for the week. If you’ve ever made a vision board for yourself, then you already have the right idea. Think vision board—but for your classroom (and more targeted—for a shorter period of time).
It’s best to place your vision board at the front of the classroom for everyone to clearly see and reference when needed. Don’t have wall space to give? A trifold works great, too!
What do we put on our focus walls?
That depends on the subject, grade level, and more, but here are a few ideas:
Whether we teach English or Math or anything in-between, there are always weekly vocabulary terms we’re using with our students. Here’s a great example from Simply Creative Teaching using a focus wall to highlight vocabulary terms:
Source: Simply Creative Teaching
Focus walls can be simple, like the one pictured above, for elementary-aged children. Of course, color and imagery work wonders for these! You’ll want to create a space that’s fun to focus on.
2. Questions of the week, target skills, or inspirational quotes!
Focus walls can also be as complex as you want them to be.Here’s a great example of a more detailed focus wall from @LearninginWonderland.
Source: Learning in Wonderland
3. Make sure it’s easily interchangeable!
Whichever type of wall you choose, make sure that it’s easily interchangeable week-to-week. For some, that looks like a bulletin board with removable pieces, like the board above. For others, that may look like an even simpler option such as a chalkboard or wipe-off board for a quick-and-easy switch each Monday morning.
Take a look at this wipe-off board turned focus wall from @PurelyPrimary for some multi-subject inspiration:
Source: Purely Primary
This type of focus wall is for the teachers who teach more than one subject; it takes a few elements from each subject to focus on, providing a “big picture” goal for the week. As shown, focus walls can display objectives in a creative way that involves the students with “I can” statements. The idea of inclusiveness is key when making these! We WANT to catch and hold our students’ attention with our focus wall without overloading them with too much information.
Benefits of Having a Focus Wall in Your Classroom
In case you’re not completely sold on the idea of the focus wall with these great examples, here are a few benefits that may not jump out at first.
- Focus walls are just as much for the teacher as the student! We are responsible for remembering so much information that sometimes the key things slip our minds. It’s nice to have a sort of “cheat sheet” always present in the classroom to glance at throughout the day and make sure the class is staying on track.
- When a visitor or parent enters the classroom, they can easily see what the class is working on—no need for any explanation from the teacher.
- It creates an independence in students. The focus wall can answer general questions they may have about what they should be doing. Over time, they can grow accustomed to referencing the focus wall instead of asking general questions repeatedly.
These are just a few of the many benefits of incorporating focus walls in the classroom; they’re an eye-catching, fun, and truly resourceful addition to any classroom! There is no limit to how these walls can be used in the classroom, and we know that teachers will be using their creativity to knock these out of the park this school year.