The Walls of an Exemplary Second Grade Classroom

The walls of a Kristen Hyde’s exemplary second grade classroom reflect a learning classroom environment.

Kristen’s lessons are collaboration and instruction. She writes their thinking on a large sheet of chart paper. When they’ve finished the lesson, that paper goes up on the wall for reference, continued learning and reflection.

I randomly stopped by – nothing pre-planned – and took pictures of her walls. You’ll see evidence of higher level thinking, group collaboration, strategy instruction, and more. Here’s what I saw.

Remember, much of the time the language is exactly what a student said. Kristen writes it down. When a student said “not loud”, Kristen wrote that down and added “quiet”.

Also, I cropped the photos to keep them a consistent size. Some of the charts got cut off.

Look at all this on the wall. Can you tell what Kristen is teaching? Can you tell what the students know? Can you tell what the class is learning?

Amazing stuff, isn’t it?


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  • Barney Saltzberg

    I want to take the 2nd grade over! What an amazing teacher. LOTS of Childrens Book ideas. How Many Pockets Are We Wearing Today? Or, I Notice, I Wonder, I Think.

    Inspiring to see what love this teacher clearly has for her students.
    Thanks for posting!!!!

  • Suzanne

    Love those verbs-wonder, think, learned, picture, connect–YEA!!

  • Sarah holdeman

    I will use one of the charts with students tomorrow (building stamina vs. Breaking stamina). fantastic teacher!

    • Kristen

      I can’t actually take credit for the idea of building vs. breaking down stamina. A PEBC teacher, Troy Rushmore, revolved a lot of his classroom community around this theme, and I have too, ever since I got the idea. A great book to go along with the theme of stamina is High as a Hawk by T.A. Barron.

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  • Rosanne Arnspiger

    Hey, after reading this, it makes me seriously want to move to Parker, Colorado and enroll all my kids in Kristen’s school. I’ve got one that will be in 2nd grade next year, and I would be willing to move all the way from Ohio to have Kristen teach my daughter! I think a lot of teachers could learn a lot from Kristen–and maybe even from her school district! (…I wonder if Douglas County is faced with the same type of budget cuts that Ohio’s experiencing…) Email me if you know, seriously! From the advice of a mother of seven (ages 5-19), I strongly recommend we get more teachers like Kristen in our US Education System.

  • Christie

    Do you have more photos that you can post of your classroom? Thanks!

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  • Subversive Reader

    Looks like my old classroom used to look like – I bought chart paper in bulk!

    It’s nice when the students get older to get them to contribute some of the charts too

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