Education Technology

Designing Your Classroom With Purpose

Posted 08/23/2021 by Emily Kraus (@krausmath) (in partnership with @TICalculators)

Our first borderline “normal” summer is already coming to an end, and teachers are heading back to school. Can you believe it? Just as we started to settle into vacation mode, it’s time to start thinking about another new school year. I don’t know about you, but this is an exciting time for me because I can tap back into my creative brain after it’s been sitting on standby for a couple of months.

Add educational visuals to complement your curriculum
Add educational visuals to complement your curriculum.

As I prepare for a new year, the first thing that always pops into my mind is my classroom: the setup, the layout, the functionality, the organization … and, of course, the aesthetic. I want every square inch to serve as a resource or reference for my students. And if it looks cute while doing it, well, that’s a bonus. After all, the vibe sets the tone for the entire year.

Intentional decor

Our classrooms become our home away from home, right? We want them to feel inviting, comfortable and organized. After my first year of teaching, I shifted my mindset to consider mine to be a home for my students and me. This is when the word “intentional” became a key focus in my classroom. The layout and organization should suit all my students’ needs, as well as what covers the four walls surrounding us day in and day out.

Posters of inspirational quotes are fun and can reflect the motto or atmosphere you create in your classroom, but do these visuals serve a dual purpose? Are they a resource your students will utilize throughout the school year to enhance their learning? It depends. I challenge myself and other teachers to ask themselves this question when considering how to use that precious wall space in their classroom.

However, how can we do this without being dull? How can we imprint our tools and lessons into our students’ brains in a way that sticks? I love to use educational visuals that complement my curriculum in a unique way. Especially when it helps my students retain, retain, retain!

That one poster you wish you had all year

You know, that one that never disappoints? Every year I have the same thought: “I need a poster of this one thing I am always referencing.” I bet yours changes every year, too, just like mine.

As a secondary math teacher, part of my curriculum entails teaching my students the different functions and commands of graphing calculators, which they may use for something as simple as converting a decimal into fraction form to finding the point of intersection of two functions. Unfortunately, this often includes several steps that can quickly cause confusion when demonstrating on my calculator at the front of the room.

Because of this, I always wish I had a giant poster of a graphing calculator to reference on a grander scale when performing these demonstrations. Oral instructions with a visual reference never fail to be a game-changer. Students can not only pick up what you are putting down, but also want to. It’s more fun!

So, this summer, I created one with the help of @TICalculators. And guess what? It’s FREE!

TI-84 Plus CE Python graphing calculator poster
TI-84 Plus CE Python graphing calculator poster.

And even better, this classroom poster mimics the new TI-84 Plus CE Python edition for coding. So, if your curriculum requires the use of this excellent tool, your students will have a much easier time learning how to use it if they can actually see what you are referring to as you are teaching.

Want to learn more? Check out this blog post on how you can incorporate coding with the new TI-84 Plus CE Python graphing calculator with your students. Plus, download the free TI-84 Plus CE Python posters here.

About the author: Emily Kraus has taught math in grades three through eight in Austin, Texas. She is the creator of Kraus Math®, which provides teachers with TEKS-aligned and STAAR® test-prep resources. Check out her website at , or follow her on Instagram @krausmath.

Kraus Math is a registered trademark of its owner. STAAR is a registered trademark of the Texas Education Agency.