The classroom. The place teachers and students are for 40 hours a week. The classroom is the place where ideas, imagination, and important topics are explored. The climate of your classroom is important as the way your room invites students into the den of learning. In this post, I thought I would explore the classroom as a place that is just more than a room.
Every teacher has a certain way they like to set up their classroom. Most of the time its set up for the teacher. I would like to challenge you to change that mindset. Set up your classroom in a student centered fashion. I have desks in my room, but they are moveable. We move them to form different groups, we combine desks to make large tables to do experiments.
Invite high school students into your primary or middle school classroom. These students don’t get out of the bubble of the high school classroom much during the day. I have a student, Grady Brown, coming to my classroom from the high school to teach my 3 graders how to build websites. He is a senior this year and doing a great job at bring down material that is taught in high school and college so that my 3rd graders can handle it. (That’s him on the right teaching some of my students how computers work.) He brought in digital cameras, video cameras, and a computer to show students how they work, and how they are built. He then began to show us his projects that he has completed in high school in the Multi-media class. Then we began to have my students begin to build websites using Dream Weaver. It’s a program that our high school uses to build websites. I will be blogging about this later this and next week.
My room isn’t always the best organized room, but I do have supplies down where my students can have easy access to them. By doing that you are giving some control of your classroom to the students. I do a lot of projects, and so I have tubs of glue, paint, colored pencils, and markers that they can use. After using the supplies I require them to clean up after themselves. I am their teacher…not their maid.
I love walking into classrooms that are colorful and inviting. I want to hope that my classroom is that way. So I change my classroom bulletin board often. By doing that you make your room that ever-changing canvas that makes your room unique. I have several posters I have hung on my walls. Some are informative, inspiring, and some are personal likes of my own. for example, I have posters that have my blooms taxonomy, I have some posters with quotes from famous people, and I have some Pirates of the Caribbean posters hung just because that’s my favorite movie. Be creative with and where you place your posters. Just make sure your students can read them.
I am a proponent of having your personality in the things that make your classroom unique to you. I have some NASCAR memorabilia of my favorite driver out, I have some of favorite cartoon comic strips that I cut out of the paper. I think the students need to see some of your own personality in your classroom. I believe it allows them build a relationship with you.
I have never been big on decor in the classrooms. I love how my wife’s classroom has curtains on the windows, and live plants on the sills. I go back and forth between 2 buildings right now, so I don’t think I could take care of plants and animals like some teachers can. If you are into decor, do it! Liven up your classroom. You might as well, you are there 40 plus hours a week. You might as well make it like home.
To conclude, enjoy your classroom. When your working space is in order and makes you happy, you are more likely to have a great attitude towards your students and staff that come into your room. Remember, you’re the teacher of children who need to discover the love of math, science, literature, social sciences, and the arts in your room. Make your room the room that is full of good memories for them. That’s what a classroom is for.