This year, I decided, was going to be the year that I add some more color to my classroom. Being in a middle school math classroom, I was afraid this wouldn’t be very easy, not like in those cute elementary school classrooms anyway.
Luckily I found these two super cute decorations at Hobby Lobby. For the Welcome to Math Class Sign, I used Command Hooks and some cute sticker letters to write Math on the chalkboard middle and hung it outside my door. The other one I put on the inside above the pencil sharpener so the kids could see it. I loved the extra color, the cute designs and… the 40% off coupons from Hobby Lobby!
While looking through Pinterest and other sites, I came across this math blog by Sarah Hagan, a high school math teacher, Math = Love and she had some amazing ideas. On her site, I found this little gem which she had already typed using the super cute font and had it ready to download. All I had to do was print, cut, glue and laminate. If you would like a copy of this, you can access her site from here. This went up outside my classroom door above My Welcome to Math Class Sign.
Like me, Sarah Hagan had read a great book called Mindset, The New Psychology of Success. Over the last couple of years, I had begun teaching the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. This I believe is especially important in math as I have heard from numerous students and parents, “I’m not good at math” and “I can’t do math.” I’m thinking she may have heard things like that also as she had a neat board called “Change your Mindset, Change your Words.” On this board, she had several sayings both in a fixed mindset and growth mindset. What’s even better, is that she had these ready to download free of charge. You can access her site here. Using her site, I was able to download the posters and create a board of my own called “Help!!” In my classroom (and others around the building,) my students aren’t allowed to say “I don’t get it” without saying the word “yet”. Also sayings like “This is too hard” and “I give up” or “I quit” aren’t allowed. If this is heard, my other students usually quickly jump in to correct them and help is given but they must keep trying.
Using the growth mindset has really changed the way the students learn. They are looking at something challenging in a more positive way without giving up. As the year progresses, I’m looking forward to adding more great anchor charts, more additions to the growth vs fixed mindset theme, and additional math decorations to the walls throughout the new school year.