Each new school year is an opportunity for my classroom to be a clean slate. I take things down and start all over again. This year, I took things down in Houston, packed up a truck full of my teaching and classroom supplies, and unloaded in a little district in North Texas.
Thinking about how to set things up depends so much on the layout of the room. During my ten years in the classroom, I’ve been in a portable with a few windows, in a newly refurbished room with tons of storage and a wall of
windows, a weather-safe room with zero windows and nothing but blank wall space, a corner room in a very old building with two walls of huge windows, and now I’m in a corner room with just one window overlooking a field. It’s actually pretty nice. Nice light and plenty of wall space.With no built in bulletin boards, we (my husband helper and I) created our own with trusty butcher paper and boarder. He’s a former teacher turned associate superintendent, but he actually went to a classroom decor training years ago and learned how to put up very cool bulletin boards.
I never actually knew that about him until a few weeks ago!
We made a trip to Ikea, another to the local teacher’s supply store, and everywhere in between (aka Walmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Kroger…) and got the whole thing put together in a few days.
Here’s my philosophy… I spend a ton of time in my classroom-5 days a week from 7:45-4:10, minimum. My students are in my room every single school day. This is an environment where I want to feel good. I want it to be inviting. And vibrant. And, of course, learning centered. I want my classroom to be a place where I want to spend time.
And I wanted color. Lots and lots of color. Because color makes me happy.
So this is what I created. Tell me what you think!
On each desk I have a MG/YA book character and the book s/he is from. I handed a matching card to each student as they entered and that told them where they were to sit. A lot of teachers let kids sit wherever they want to, but I like to have control from the first minute, then loosen up later on. I’ll move kids around as I get to know them, but at the beginning, they are at my seating mercy.
I found a set of patterned cardboard letters at the teacher’s store that were strung on a ribbon and said CREATE. Since I love cute and patterned things, this CREATE sign was something I had to have. But how to make it work in a Reading classroom. That was the conundrum. But as I debated buying it, I realized that CREATE has 3 of the necessary letters to spell READ. The C and T, I also realized, could be cut and repositioned to form a D.
And that was that. I bought it, created a D, restrung it on the ribbon, and…voila!
All in all, I’m really happy with my classroom. I even decorated the outside of my classroom door with an idea I saw on Pinterest. I’ve added more books since this picture, btw. Best of all, I’ve heard kids out in the hallway discussing the books posted there, saying which they’ve read, which they’ve never heard of, which covers look good. This engagement, of course, is whole point, so score!
A happy classroom makes for a happy teacher… and by default, happy kids. 🙂