There are many ways I could go with that title; in fact, I’d like to re-use that for another post sometime focused on professionalism and being a mentor in kids’ lives! (Someone remind me of that, okay?) In a more literal way, though, today I wanted to write about what is important for me to display in my classroom.
I change many things around in my room as time passes and units come and go. There are times whenever my students need certain things, and other times that they just don’t. Recently, I made some updates to one side of my white board, and I thought I’d share some parts I thought every classroom should have on display.
- Resource Area- I never used to post papers I passed out to students, but, this year I put “mistakes happen” into perspective. Just today, I forgot a box of student projects at my house that I wish I would have brought with me for grading purposes. I can’t expect my 11 year old’s to never lose a paper I give them. (Not even the ones I print on card stock and tell them they need all year!) While I post extra copies on my online website for student use, not all students are self-aware enough to realize they misplaced it and to print it out for class. Thus, I believe that those important papers that you expect your students to reference should have a permanent area in your room. For this year, I made a little section where kids can come up and browse. Some of these papers include novel calendars, how to appropriately transition into evidence, how to write beginning sentences for essays, and how to annotate texts they read. In my dream classroom (cough cough next year), I will have a big organizer with plenty of extra copies of all of these. Money might not grow on trees, but maybe my papers do… well, in fact, they do!
- “What Do I Need?” and “What Are We Doing?” Sections- You might define these in different ways, but as I teach 5 different classes in a day, it is very overwhelming to have kids come in and say “Mrs. W, do we need our packets today?” “Hey, should we have our books?” “Do you know what we’re doing today?” It’s always flattering because you know that the kids are just excited about what is happening, but it also gets to be a little much. When I first started implementing this, I’d sometimes have to point to the board and smile, to remind the students that it was up there. Now, the kids come in and look at it in order to be best prepared. It does take a little bit of time to prepare each morning, but on the plus side, these check lists also help keep me as the teacher organized and confident that we’ve covered everything we need to.
- Fun Decorations- This might be a silly one to you, but you can see that I have banners made of fabric, banners drawn with marker, gold ribbon, lights, bright colored papers, etc. While it happens to be my personal style (and the fact that your classroom pretty much turns into your second home makes me happy), it also makes students feel very welcome. No student wants to be in a place that feels like a sterile hospital. I always keep my window shades wide open, fun lights on, and lots of bright colors flying! My utmost goal everyday is to make sure that every student feels safe, happy, and welcomed in my room. While managing behaviors, having a no-bullying policy, and a big smile can go a long way, displaying a welcoming vibe can truly make a big difference, too.
I’d love to know other ideas that you all have on display in your classrooms! Stay warm today!