Graffiti walls are a simple, fun, and interactive way to get kids involved in their learning. All you need is a blank whiteboard or some sheets of butcher paper to get started. Kids can write, draw, and express themselves as they learn and review a variety of subjects. Here are some of our favorite graffiti walls for the classroom.
1. Have them tell all about themselves.
A perfect activity for the first week of class. Have each student make their own”All About Me” graffiti walls to help you and their classmates get to know them.
2. Take geography to a whole new level.
Whether kids are learning about colonies, states, countries, or continents, graffiti walls are a fun way to show off their knowledge. Have them draw or paint the geographic feature, then add fun facts all around.
Source: Teaching in Room 6
3. Pose a math teaser.
How many different ways can you answer the question? Math teaser graffiti walls have endless possibilities, and kids at all skill levels can get in on the action.
Source: SHOJ Elementary
4. Visualize your vocabulary lessons.
This example is for math, but you could do this for any subject. In English, try boards labelled “Alliterations” or “Irony.” For science, use concepts like “Physical Properties” or “Mammals.” Get the idea?
Source: Runde’s Room
5. Review for a test with graffiti walls.
Preparing for a big unit-end test? Review the concepts they’ve learned with graffiti walls. Pose a series of questions around the room, and have kids rotate from one sheet to the next to record their answers. When they’re done, take a “gallery walk” as a class to review all the knowledge (and correct anything that’s wrong).
Source: Runde’s Room
6. Capture their favorite reading quotes.
This is one of everyone’s favorite graffiti walls. Have kids post quotes from books they’re reading to inspire others. Use chalk markers on black paper for a striking look.
Source: Lessons With Laughter
7. Prepare for a discussion on a serious topic.
Ready to tackle a tough topic? First, give kids time to gather their thoughts by having them write answers on the wall. (This will especially benefit students who are hesitant to speak up in class.) Then, use their answers as a jumping off point to start the discussion.
Source: Facing History
8. Encourage critical thinking skills.
One of the neat things about graffiti walls is getting to see people interact with each other. One comment sparks another, and before you know it, kids are building on each other’s ideas at an amazing pace.
Source: Michelle Nyquist/Pinterest
9. Ask for reading recommendations.
This one would be especially fun in the school library. Ask kids to recommend their favorite books. They can include quotes or brief summaries to pique the interest of other students.
Source: I Run Read Teach
10. Make it motivational.
Pump up your students and send them out into the world with motivational messages to and from each other. We really love the idea of each child writing a special note to another student in the class.
Source: Teacher Idea Factory
11. Do a daily theme just for fun.
In addition to motivational activities, post themed questions each day (or every so often) that are just plain fun. It’s a wonderful way to fill a few minutes at the end of class, or get them in learning mode before the bell rings.
Source: Tonya’s Treats for Teachers
12. Show an image to spark discussion.
Prompts don’t always need to be questions or even words. Display an image and ask students to jot down their feelings or reactions to it. It’s an interesting way to talk about symbolism.
Source: Jillian Watto/Instagram
13. Use graffiti walls to share information during guided reading.
As kids read, have them jot down important points for others to note too. (Graffiti can be done on a table, too, as in this example. You can post them on the wall later if you like.)
14. Reflect on the week’s learning.
Before students fly out the door on Friday, ask them to jot down one important thing from the week behind them. Leave it up and have kids look it over on Monday to get them ready for the new week ahead.
Source: Melissa R/Instagram
15. Hold a drawing contest.
One teacher holds a robot drawing contest every year, and her students love it. Choose any topic your kids will enjoy, then have them mark off their place on the board and go crazy!
Source: Mrs. Iannuzzi
16. Find out how they feel about music.
Working on music appreciation? Ask kids to listen to a piece of music, then write down how it makes them feel. They can also draw pictures of what the music brings to mind, or suggest their own song title.
17. Introduce new concepts with open-ended questions.
Before starting a new unit or book, get kids to reflect on what they already know about a topic or idea. Ask them “What are clouds?” or “What do you know about the history of our state?” Save the graffiti walls and compare their answers after they’ve completed the unit to see what they’ve learned.
Source: Musings from the Middle School
18. Learn about graffiti as an art form.
Street artists like Banksy have shown that graffiti is a legitimate art form in many cases. Have a conversation in your class about the difference between graffiti and vandalism. Then have kids draw a brick wall and cover it with their own graffiti art.
Source: My Craftily Ever After
19. Build graffiti walls with LEGO bricks.
If your classroom has a good collection of LEGO bricks already, this project is easier than you might think. Buy bulk packages of flat base plates and attach them to the wall with double-sided tape. Then let kids build, build, build!
20. Just let them do whatever… really.
Don’t overthink it! Just throw up a blank piece of paper and allow kids to add to it throughout the semester or year. At the end, they can all snap a picture so they’ll have a record of some of their favorite memories.
How have you used graffiti walls? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.