Classroom Posters Can Improve Students' Behavior, Attitude and Motivation
edited: Wednesday, September 10, 2008
By Ruth Herman Wells
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2008
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New behavior management strategies for teachers
When you think of interventions to use with problem
and challenging students, normally you probably think
of active approaches. But, there is a whole world
of powerful, passive approaches that are frequently
forgotten or completely overlooked.
With that in mind, we ask you to look around your
classroom or office. What do you see on your walls? The
items on your wall can have on-going, major impact--
all without you doing anything at all. We tend
to forget that young people may spend hours
each day just staring at what surrounds them.
If you surround them with nothing, they may
get nothing. If you surround them with something
powerful and persuasive, you may change lives.
Our unusual, startling posters
have been drawing an awful lot of comment lately,
and that's what made us realize how easy it is to
underestimate the power of passive interventions
like simple posters. People have been
commenting that our posters can sometimes
accomplish what conventional approaches couldn't.
The range of posters that you can use is
unlimited, from thought-provoking to haunting,
from inspirational to motivational, from troubling
to sarcastic, from silly to calming. Let us show you
how to maximize your impact beyond
conventional, active interventions. Put your walls
work for you, and you will be surprised how
much more you can achieve when you surround
your students with powerful agents of change.
You may end up being pleasantly surprised
how passive interventions can underscore, enhance
and even "hammer home" the points you are
trying to make with your young people.
We will look at passive interventions in two ways.
First, we'll cover the surprising range of passive
intervention posters. Second, we'll show
you free, fast and low-cost ways to make your
own posters if you have more time than budget.
These ideas will not require you to have a lot of
time, art skills or computer expertise.
We'll even show you how to get customized
posters without you having to make anything
or invest much time yourself.
TYPES OF POSTERS
Everyone has seen the motivational and
inspirational posters that have become commonplace,
but there are so many more options than that.
Here are some other often overlooked ways to
make your walls work for you all day:
* Shocking Posters
Shocking posters are jarring and unexpected.
See an example (Poster #15) here.
. (You will want to view each poster
as examples to get full value from this article.)
It's hard to just shake off the comment of "I'm
looking for the lowest paying job I can find ."
If you have to look at that comment for hours
per day, it could stick with you.
* Posters That Can Teach
It's hard to believe that a piece of paper
tacked to the wall can teach, but look
at this silly poster (Poster #22).
It does convey important information to
students about how to get help from teachers.
It's silly but effective to
call teachers "lousy mind readers."
* Posters That Reinforce What Has Been Taught
Poster #22 (from the example used directly above)
can also reinforce and remind students of
what they already know. It's better that a
poster provides an on-going reminder
than you have to stop the class to
provide a verbal reminder. See how
passive interventions can work better
than active ones.
* Posters Deliver Messages When
Words Don't Work
Words sometimes fail to deliver the
message, but pictures and colors may do
the job when words fail. Take a look at
Poster #28. A counselor might
work hard to let a
vulnerable youngster know that the
counselor is a helping resource, and
the child may not act on the message.
This poster-- a passive intervention--
perhaps placed on the outside of the
counselor's office door, can actually be
more effective and lasting lure than
* Posters Haunt
A poster can look down on students for
months or years at a time. Some posters
can end up being down-right haunting.
Well-executed pictures and text can gnaw
at a youngster in ways that words can't
accomplish. Look at Poster #7
to see how bothersome a poster can be.
Obviously, the headline of "Dropouts
Needed for High Paying Jobs" could linger.
* Other Jobs for Posters
Posters are obvious candidates for
inspiration and motivation. See Poster #34
as an example. Sarcasm that might
seem harsh when spoken,
can become more acceptable on paper.
Sarcasm can be a powerful tool when used very
carefully. The next examples,
Posters #31 and #33,
definitely approach that limit-- although they
do so for a good cause (drug abuse prevention.)
Posters can also heal and soothe. Look at
Posters #29 and #30 at
to see how posters can even be reassuring.
HOW TO MAKE POSTERS
You may be surprised to learn how easy it is to
make posters that fit your students' issues. The
internet has made it so easy. You can find
endless clip art and photos all over the net.
Before you use any art or photos, be sure that
the site grants you use of their resources. A
popular source of clip art is at Discovery.com
Free photos are tougher to find because many
photos are protected by copyright, but a site
that has completely free pictures that you can
use is Geek Philosopher.com
Word, Paint, Adobe Photoshop and many other
programs can be easily used to create quick
but powerful posters that can work all day
every day on your wall. To grab a picture or
piece of clip art, simply put your
cursor over the item, right click "Save Picture
As" and voila, the item is all your's. It's
Posters can be of any size. To easily make
posters without a printer that produces
large-size pages, print the poster using
the largest size paper you can, then enlarge
the poster on your copier. Printing shops
can also enlarge and print full color posters
for you, often for a cost of under $2 per
poster. If you use a common computer program
to make your posters, you can even send in the
poster file via the internet, and not even
have to leave your office or classroom.
You don't even have to make your posters
yourself. Instead of traditional consequences
for misbehavior, have students make posters.
You can even have the students use their
misbehavior as the focus of the poster. For
example, if students get in trouble for
bullying peers, perhaps they craft a poster
on bullying. Another idea: hold contests for
students to make posters. Yet another idea:
have poster construction become part of your
instruction. For example, making posters could
legitimately become an activity for language
arts if substantial text is used. Making
posters could be a far better activity
than staring at the walls during study hall,
detention or in school suspension. You can
transform those unstructured, often
unproductive times into the source of endless
posters that make your walls work for you.
I wish I could have included thumbnails of all the
the example posters. Words don't convey their
lively, unexpected contents very well. But do take
the time to check out the referenced posters
and the recommended resources sites,
and the article will make more sense. Plus, viewing
the two resource sites and the unusual example
posters may spark some great ideas for you to make
for your walls.