I have recently moved into a brand new classroom.
I like having a new class, I like having new challenges but changing classrooms? I am not a fan.
I seem to accumulate so much ‘STUFF‘. When you move classrooms you don’t feel that you can take it and dump it without sorting through it first. So I have sorted through it.
Next I faced the challenge of converting a blank canvas into a room of learning. I feel strongly that classrooms are there for the children and they should have ownership over it. Now yes, I can decorate it and provide prompts to support their learning but it is their room.
Somewhere they belong.
Somewhere they feel empowered.
Somewhere they feel comfortable enough to tackle challenges.
When I first opened my door of my new classroom and faced the tables and chairs stored in the corner, my resources piled high and all surrounded by the gloomy walls I was overwhelmed.
Where do you start?
I am ashamed to admit that on the first day I looked at it, I closed the door and went home. The second day I went in I was stronger. Bolder. More willing. And bit by bit my new classroom took shape.
So although a classroom takes a lot of organising here are my 5 top priorities:-
1. Book corner
Not every class has a book corner. They appear to come in and out of fashion. I have a book corner because I was shocked to learn that not every parent has the time to read to their children. A book corner should provide children with a variety of books and a comfortable space to relax and read. It enables children to enjoy reading and experience new genres and authors. I try and make sure that children have the opportunity to have time in there throughout the week – whether individually or within a small group.There is nothing better than gathering the children by the book corner at the end of the day and reading a book – capturing an imaginary world together.
2. Resources labelled
It sounds simple I know. However, labelling trays and resources means that children can be confident about finding all the differing resources they need. This enables them to access equipment to assist with their learning as well as giving them ownership on their space.
It is, after all, their classroom.
3. Learning prompts
I like putting learning prompts around the classroom. You cannot always remember everything and giving those prompts around the room eventually becomes second nature to children. Gradually, the more confident they become the less the prompts are needed.
4. Engaging displays
I try and make sure that my displays have both information and students work. It is good to have achievements on display. Children can feel proud about what they have achieved. Having their work displayed acts as a prompt itself – they remember what they have already achieved. Having information displayed can also arouse the interest of students. Before we start a new topic, I will create a display and I will find students wanting to soak up the information. They are then prepared for the topic.
5. Clutter free
Easier said than done. We all aim to be clutter free and to have the classroom looking immaculate. What I find is that when I have an expectation of less clutter then I find that the pride we take in our surroundings translates to the presentation of their work and how we look after the school around us.
We hope that you are enjoying your new classrooms at the start of this academic year! We would welcome comments about what you believe makes a classroom unique.