Post a picture of your classroom, and describe what you see – and what you don’t see that you’d like to.
I love decorating my classroom. It’s one of my favorite parts of the school year. My goal is to make my classroom as comfortable and home-like as possible. I want my kids to love coming to school, and part of the way I try to achieve that is by providing them with an environment that feels warm and safe.
I also like for my students to be as productive as possible, as any teacher would. I know that what motivates one person might be completely different than what motivates another, but I believe that clutter makes it much more difficult for children to focus and learn. My first year as a teacher, I went wild when it came to decorating. When one of my students randomly said to me, “Ms. Dixon, you have forty-four posters on the walls,” I realized that maybe I’d overdone it a bit. Since then, I try to cut down on the clutter and keep the room from being too distracting.
These pictures were taken before school started. I wasn’t quite finished decorating, and obviously the kids’ belongings weren’t there yet, so my room looked much cleaner at that point.
This table at the front of the room is my small group table. It’s where I work from a large part of the time, as I pull students together to reteach certain concepts or do targeted interventions.
I typically try to put my students in groups of four to six. It makes it easy for me to pop in and out from group to group and check in with them while they’re working, and it encourages collaboration and peer-learning. I move around often as I teach, so usually sight-lines aren’t a problem.
The table just to the right of the door is where students turn in homework and agendas, and sharpen pencils. Routine is so important in elementary school; my students know that every day, the first thing they should do is turn in any necessary work or papers, copy homework or notes into their agendas, and sharpen their pencils to prepare for the day.
In this picture, my bookshelf is only about halfway organized. The baskets aren’t completely labeled yet. My library is one of my favorite parts of my classroom; the baskets are, for the most part, organized by genre, although there are a few that are grouped by author or series. Each label names a genre, gives a brief overview of exactly what that genre is, and has a code – for example, realistic fiction is coded with RF. Those codes are written on the top right on the back of each book for easy reshelving.
So clean. So organized. The desk on the right is a writing work station, and the bulletin board later became a “Tweet all about it!” board, where the students “tweeted” about books they’d read.
Something that I would like to see in my classroom? Alternative seating. Last year, I brought in some bean bags, a video game chair, and some pillows and carpet squares, and stools that I found discounted at Target. My students loved them. It was obvious that they had only ever sat in traditional desks and chairs. In the future, I’d love to explore that idea more.