Literature Graffiti

One of my main reasons for wanting to start a blog (of about 408.6 million "main reasons") was to become a Pinterest sensation.

Wellllll, maybe not (I'm totally lying, I want to be a Pinterest sensation.) No, but really....I was majorly inspired by stalking Pinterest like it was my second job this school year.

I teach 4th grade special education.  For this particular school year, that means I co-teach a 4th grade "general education" (the more P.C. term for "regular education") classroom.  I'm in there for homeroom, then I pull 4 students to a resource room for math.  Back to the "general education" room for snack/special/Social Studies.  Back out for Language Arts (11 kids this time).  Lunch/recess...boom.  Language Arts again.  Back in gen. ed. for Science.  I really do love it.

My Language Arts group I call (in my head, mostly) "The Breakfast Club."  If you don't get the John Hughes reference......The Breakfast Club is one of the greatest 80's movies ever made, and it speaks volumes on how a small group of individuals can represent an entire cosmopolitan of society.  Or in the words of Brian Johnson......

"Saturday, March 24,1984. 
Shermer High School
 Shermer, Illinois, 60062.

Dear Mr. Vernon, 

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed."

I love it.  And it sums up my room in my own, simplest terms.  

So, I started trolling Pinterest for some fresh ideas to keep my students interested in learning and I came across this awesome idea and spun it into.....Literature Graffiti.

It's as simple as.......

- put a giant piece of black bulletin-board paper on your wall
- label it "Literature Graffiti" (or whatever you want, okay?)
- leave several silver (ooooh!) Sharpies available for students

I explained to them what "Literature" and "Graffiti" mean separately.  Then we talked about what would be "worthy" of inspiration/laughter/motivation/etc. to put up on our board.  We read several poems from our current unit and came across a Langston Hughes poem...

I read to them with as much passion as I could.  When the poem ended with "I reach out my you."  I showed them how I had "chill bumps" on my arm.  How THAT'S Literature Graffiti worthy.  I challenged them to read, and bring in/write down what they think would be worthy to put on our board.  Here's our first page....

Some of it's from our curriculum, some of it's from their own books.  And yes....some of it came from the little poems published next to the obituaries in the paper.  Whatever inspires you, man!

So try it.......  How can this fit in your classroom?  

When each page gets filled up.....move it around the classroom to inspire you the rest of the school year.  

Oh.....and never eat an apple with a hole in it.  


  1. I love this idea! I teach 7th grade ELA and have had my students post "sidewalk graffiti" after reading "The Outsiders", but this could be ongoing all year. Not sure how to hang on to the silver sharpies, though. I keep those in my desk drawer and they still vanish.

    1. Thanks! Maybe you could add them to your supply list and then the kids would be responsible for keeping track of their own marker? Or velcro it to the wall near the paper? I hear you with supplies disappearing!


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