By Teachers, For Teachers
In my recent blog My Classroom Design & Seating Chart Tips, I shared how the end of the school year is a great opportunity to reflect on the current year and make changes in the classroom for the upcoming school year.
While I shared some of my personal classroom preferences, I'd like to also share some of my co-workers brilliant classroom design strategies.
Mrs. L teaches first grade. When she sets up her room, she tries to get the students excited and kind of anxious wondering what it is all about. She doesn't tell them what everything is about or what it is to be used for, as she wants them to use their own curiosity and creativity to explore.
Her personal touches are her live specimens, her turtles and plants. She believes it is important to have natural things around to teach the children to respect first all living things and then even the non-living things. Through this respect, organization and thinking skills are developed.
Mrs H teaches kindergarten. Her room is colorful, open, and engaging. She has taken the back space of the room to decorate for each season- from flowers in spring, to miniature snowman in the winter. The best part, each part of the decorative area is interactive!
The students add to the decor through behavior charts, learned lessons, and special activities. I asked Mrs. H if the students tend to “touch” and mess with the decorations and she shared with me how they actually get involved in taking care of the decorated area.
Her little touch of personalization is her bear. Mrs. H brings in her special bear every day. He even wears roller blades because he is such an active member of the classroom!
Mrs. J also teaches kindergarten. She has a large classroom- one of the biggest in the school. While she is an excellent teacher whose students and parents absolutely adore her, she admittedly has a problem keeping things organized and spaced out. She believes everything from shoe boxes to milk caps can be used in one way or another.
Posters, cut outs, bulletin board materials, letters, and pictures fill the empty spaces on the walls. Tables are piled high with papers for students to work, papers to grade, and papers from meetings. Every nook and cranny is filled with some sort of manipulative, book, puzzle, or learning tool.
While all of these posters, pictures, and materials are useful in learning, unfortunately having all them displayed at one time leads to clutter and overcrowding. Her students are often distracted by the many objects in the room. She has also found with having so many tables, book shelves, chart stands, her rocking chair, computer space , and all other items, students are often squeezing to get by.
Each of these women are remarkable teachers. Having the opportunity to see their classroom and talk with them about the set-up has given me many insights.
I love the decorating and organizing aspect of the preparing for a new school year, but by the end of that year I come to the realization that I have materials I did not use, I did not really need, and forgot I even had! Taking time to reflect and plan could save a lot of time and money!
I would love to hear your ideas and plans for setting up your classroom. Share in the comments section!
Image source: The Daily Telegraph