Since becoming a teacher I’ve always considered September to be the New Year. When you think about it, it really is. Fresh pencils and erasers, newly waxed floors (thanks custodial team!), new bulletin board displays, fresh classroom/grade level (in some instances), new strategies to try, technology to dabble in and most important a whole new bunch of young faces who are nervous and excited about what their year is going to be like. I’ve spent the past week at home and school preparing for those fresh faces. I want them the come into the room on September 3rd and feel like their classroom is a warm, friendly welcoming place.
I leave a lot wall space blank as I like to build it up with the children I am also big on things being organized and labelled. A place for everything 🙂 I feel like it makes the environment less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone. It also helps the children with materials management to have it well organized. I use to make up all the labels and signage for around the room but since teaching FDK for a few years I learned the value of letting the students do that so will be one of our first week projects.
This year I used brown kraft paper on the bulletin boards. I got the idea from an awesome Kindergarten colleague at my school @K5_RP. It looks fresh, calm and organic and I will probably use this for a long time instead of bright colours. Another colleague mentioned that they used the kraft paper because it’s great for many children with different visual/sensory concerns because it’s calm. I also think it will allow for the children’s work to stand out.
I also made a commitment this year to organize my classroom sign-out books. They are organized into levelled bins and then there is a shelf of just “for fun” books. I’m going to use http://classroom.booksource.com/ this year to catalogue the books and then students can sign out the books using a device (android or apple) or from the computer. It’s free to use which amazing and you can set up the restrictions. For example, I’m allowing students to sign out 2 books for a week at a time. Even better if you have parent email addresses an overdue alert is sent to them! In the book area I’ve put up a sheet of white paper and the kids can recommend books “graffiti style” which I think they will enjoy!
The centre/hub of our classroom is our technology station. The desks and carpet area are all centred around this key part. Unfortunately our LCD is not ceiling mounted but I have it set up on a table in the middle of the room in a way that works. Sadly I forgot to take a picture but I will later.
For student jobs I made an iHelp chart that is in the shape of an iPad. I found this on Pinterest and instantly I knew this was the perfect chart for me. The students, especially the ones I had last year in grade 2 will get a kick out of it as they know my love of apple 🙂 I also included a “Tweeter of the Day” sign which will name the student each day. You can actually follow our class @MsLYGrade3, the kids LOVE having new followers!
My other great Pinterest find is the “Be” board. It has the word Be in the centre and then it’s surrounded by great words like “unpredictable”, “punctual”, “organized”, “happy”, “yourself” etc. Instead of putting up all of the words it just says Be. We will add a new word each day which I think is going to be more powerful than just having the whole thing displayed.
I feel ready for this year and I’m super excited. No I did not get to organizing my filing cabinet but I figure a few planning times and some after school sessions I’ll get to it… or maybe I’ll have to put it on the list for next summer!