How to Create a Beautiful, Student-Centered Space that Builds Classroom Community AND Makes You HAPPY Inside
(This is an excerpt from a blog post you can read HERE
1 . First, please stop comparing your classroom and your teaching ability to everyone else. You are who the district hired and who they wanted to be in this position. You are who you are and who your students want to get to know. Be you.
2. Now, look critically around your room. Determine which classroom wall displays must be in the classroom beginning Day 1. For me, this includes: alphabet wall cards, 1-10 number chart, and...that's it. I will introduce other things later, but for now, I want my students to only see and learn to use these two tools. Too many other things hanging up around the room will blur these important tools into the background and cause kids to tune out and ignore these items. "It's just another decoration, right?" If there's not a reason for it right now, remove it temporarily. It can always be added later after your students have become acclimated to the classroom.
3. Determine where large pieces of furniture (considering traffic flow, electrical outlets, etc) will go or where specific areas of your classroom (large group area near smartboard, etc) will be located. These are things that can't be changed very easily and will probably stay put all year.
4. Label resources, baskets, supplies, etc. Make classroom supplies easily accessible and manageable for the kids to be able to use correctly and clean up easily when done.
5. Decide if you will have a teacher desk or table. This desk/table and area around it is going to be your little slice of heaven. Decorate it to your hearts content! Show off your style without allowing it to take over the entire classroom. The kids will also understand this is your space and will respect this area knowing it may or may not be a place they can utilize.
6. Cover your bulletin boards with paper or material and add any borders you would like to use. Then hang up these KIDS AT WORK
or UNDER KIDSTRUCTION
signs so everyone knows more is coming later!
7. If you have pocket charts that need to be hung up, hang them up, but leave them empty until you are ready to introduce it to your students.
Also, remove any other teacher tools such as:
◼️Pre-made anchor charts (make these with your students when the time comes)
◼️Pre-made sets of rules (make these with your students during the first few weeks),
◼️Helper charts (your students can help you determine the needed jobs in the classroom and then build the method for display with your students)
◼️Inspirational quotes purchased or teacher-made (kids will probably not notice these nor do they really inspire our kids...You plays a much bigger role in this :)
7. Now, take a deep breath, relax, and try to enjoy the beginning of a new school year. Even though the amount of things hanging in your classroom will be less, the To-Do List still manages to grow! As teachers, we are lucky that our professional is cyclical and is constantly giving us a 'do-over.' This is the time to re-connect with colleagues, meet new faces, and get excited for your best year in teaching so far. Read the entire blog post HERE :)
• Back to School Activity Book - Perfect for the First Day of 2nd Grade!
• Back to School Activity Book - Perfect for the First Day of School - 1st Grade
• Build School and Classroom Community by Creating a Teacher Name Wall
• Colors and Color Words - Make Every Minute Count Idea #2
• ENGAGING Sight Word Practice - Make Every Minute Count Idea #1
• Months of the Year and Class Birthday Board
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you have.