1. Bulletin Boards
As summer begins to wind down, I have a twinge of eager anticipation inside me. It’s time to get back into my gym and prepare for the upcoming year! Don’t get me wrong, I love my summers as much as the next person, but there’s just something exciting about gearing up for a new school year. One of the areas I love to focus on while prepping my gym space is its overall visual appeal. I want kids, parents, teachers, and administrators to walk into the gym and be “wowed” with its appearance. A visually stimulating surrounding pulls you in and adds to the overall effect of the space.
I have 4’x8’ bulletin boards hanging in my gym. I use these spaces to showcase my program in a variety of ways. If you don’t have a bulletin board in your gym area, you can still create a similar display on the wall. Here’s a picture of a wall display before and after I got the bulletin boards that showcases 4th & 5th graders that have completed various skill challenges and reached different levels of the PE Central Challenge:
One great tip that I’ll share is to paint your bulletin boards! This saves on paper and all you’ll have to do is add a boarder and you’re ready to go!
2. Projector/TV Area
I am fortunate enough to have both a TV on a cart and a projector in my gym. I don’t have a screen, so I made one using a frosted shower curtain and setting my projector to “rear projection” so that I can keep the projector up against the wall and the picture shines through the screen!
This way I don’t take up valuable floor space in the gym. Check out my YouTube video for more details on how you can make a rear projection screen for your gym. I use the projector/TV for assessment, to teach content, to show videos/gifs and a bunch of other visual displays with students. Research tells us that 65% of people are visual learners, so having content available in a visual format is imperative!
TV used for assessment area as a station or for whole group questions/responses:
Here’s some examples I may display on the projector to show students how I want them set up or what they need to do:
I also display pictures, videos or GIFs of certain skills we are working on for students to have the visual representation:
I know some of you may not have bulletin boards or technology in your program yet, but you can really add to the visual appeal of your space by creating or using pre-made signs in your gym. I use posters and signs all around my gym to designate certain areas, highlight procedures, or as station signs.
There are lots of great ideas to dress up your plain whiteboard too. I have a small whiteboard on wheels which is typically set up just inside the gym doors and I use that to post my entry directions for the day. The large whiteboard on my wall I use to display the SHAPE America Grade Level Outcomes and have discussions about the “WHAT, WHY, HOW” of a lesson.
My small whiteboard used as an “entry easel” to display starting directions for the day:
My large whiteboard used for GLOs and class discussion times:
So, there you have it…4 ways to “up” the visual appeal of your gym. There’s always room for improvement and each year we should strive to make our gym that one special place in the school that gets kids excited about learning. Using more graphics and pictures helps to better connect students to the content. Use whatever you have, to its fullest potential and don’t be afraid to ask for things. Oftentimes, the squeaky wheel DOES get the grease. Even with limited funds, a simple sheet laminator and laminating sheets can help you transform your gym space. Don’t be afraid to reach out to me personally or leave a question or comment below. I’d love to collaborate on a project with you! Visit my site at www.pe4everykid.weebly.com