More Classroom Thoughts

Back in June and early July I started getting my classroom ready for the fall and I wrote about my thoughts. A couple of posts were about flexible seating (a passion of mine) and there were posts about our classroom library and about my space in the classroom. At the most basic level these posts were all about furniture placement in our room. I think there is a lot more there, but that’s the basic gist of what I was doing at that point.

A month later, I’m back in that space beginning to unpack a lot and planning how to make the space work for me and for the kids. Both matter. I spend more time in that space than anyone else so it needs to work for me. The kids need it to be a place they are comfortable and safe and can learn. The space matters to all of us.

Some things I do because it makes me feel at home in the space, to bring me joy.

One wall of our classroom is windows. The only space that isn’t windows on that side is this small column. These branches and birds make me smile there, surrounded by windows in which we’ll see real live birds.

Near our whole-group gathering area is this corner. It’s somewhat hidden behind our easel and the stool on which I’ll sit for whole-group lessons (and kids will sit at other times). So this is clearly more for me than for anyone else in the room.

The basket on the shelf above has these hearts in it. I bought them at a cute little shop in Fredericksburg, Virginia a few years ago when I was there on a ‘writing day’ with a friend. (Recognize them, Michelle? They still make me smile!)

Another friend gave me this Hamilton picture for my birthday a couple of years ago. I love it. Seriously love it.

This table is designed for kids who want to stand while they work. It’s also a great place to store all of the science materials my district provides (a wonderful gift but also a serious amount of space). The table skirt hides the boxes under there and keeps me from being annoyed by them all the time. If you look closely you’ll also see a strip of Lego tape. It’ll be fun during indoor recess when we get out Legos but will also serve as a little kinetic tool for kids who need something to touch while they work.

Finally, these are a few plaques I like to have on display. Third graders don’t care at all that I am National Board Certified, that I was nominated for Teacher of the Year, or that I won the Kay L. Bitter Award from ISTE. Those have no meaning to them. Most of the families I serve don’t care either. But I like seeing them sometimes. Especially on a tough day. It’s a nice reminder that I have done some things right and I’ll be able to do them right in the future.

If I can walk into this space every morning, smile, and feel good, that’s important. If the students can do the same, we have created the space we need.

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