Looking for a new, “cool” way to allow students to review? Try a graffiti wall in the classroom! Graffiti as review is about as engaged as I’ve ever seen my students. You can truly use this for any topic or subject! I’ve tried it with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students – but I could see it working from about 2nd grade all the way through high school seniors.
I always start this project by having a brief graffiti discussion. The students all know what it is, but I explain that we are only going to graffiti appropriately in the school! This means I shouldn’t hear or see anything on their desks, in their lockers, in the bathroom, etc. While this extra step might seem like a waste of time, I haven’t had any issues – so I found it worthwhile for me. 🙂
Next the students and I briefly brainstorm the topic at hand. The graffiti wall below is based on the story King George that was in our reading series.
There are a few different ways the graffiti can go, and I was always pretty lenient with mine. You can require only pictures, ask for just words, allow only one color, give a time limit for each drawing, require a certain amount of participation from each student, or a multitude of other factors.
I always told the students they needed at least one idea on the board.
When each student was given one chance to come up to the board, I then allowed them to come up a second time if they had an idea that did not already appear to be represented.
After our graffiti board is done, I always go around the room and ask each student to explain their contribution. (This part could certainly be omitted if time were a factor, but I don’t think the end purpose would be as strong then.)
It never ceased to amaze me the comments like, “Oh, I forgot about that part!”, “Oh yea…”, or “That reminds me of…” The students really listened to one another, and very rarely did I have to add any major events from the story to their graffiti wall. It was a great graffiti review! Honestly, I was able to take a back seat and act as more of a spectator than teacher during this time — YES! =)
One of the best parts with the graffiti review is that you can leave them up for the test/quiz if you want, or simply erase them and take them down. Many different students told me they pictured the graffiti walls in their heads while taking their quizzes, so I know these stuck with many of them!
There are other variations of the graffiti wall that can be done in your classroom as well. Allow students to work on these individually at their desks. When they are done, the class can circle around to look at everyone’s OR you can do a brief sharing out loud.
These could also be done quite easily on an Activboard to allow them to be saved for reference before semester tests. Another option is for students to be grouped up, with each group sharing their project with the entire class at the end. A final option would be to allow students to create their graffiti walls right on their desks using Expo markers (but test to make sure these erase well before you go this route!).
I’d love to hear how you currently use (or plan to use) graffiti walls in your classroom! Shout it out in the comments below.