At the beginning of each and every school year, excitement mounts, nervousness ensures, and our blood begins to flow. We all know the feeling. Well, there are many reasons for that. However, one of the most important aspects of the beginning of the school year is classroom setup. It speaks volumes to your personality and should be a reflection of you. A classroom with exceptional flow and organization will be noticed by your incoming students. Think about setting up your classroom is a systematic way to ensure transitions can be made smoothly and successfully. Below are some examples of how my classroom is organized and “bare.”
I prefer to look at my classroom as a blank slate. Besides having my bulletin board banners laminated and hung, our classroom library organized, a student objective corner, and “lockers” ready for students to encounter, my classroom is bare. Sounds non-engaging, right?
Think about it. Students should own their work. Charts should be co-created with students. Why? Because it enables students to become stakeholders in their own learning and encourages buy-in. As my new eager fourth graders enter my classroom, they are fully aware how bare the walls are. I always ask them why they think that is. It leads to a powerful discussion about building our classroom together, in a systematic way throughout the year. If students walked in and there were is a word wall filled with words, charts created, and other helpful “second teachers” hanging, would they utilize it? Past experience says I’m not so sure.
However, involving them in the creation can promote a culture of pride as well because students recognize their voice is heard and valued. It’s also powerful to hear student’s input on how the little nooks around the classroom could be organized. Between the shag rugs, couch, camping chairs, and other comfortable spots for reading, students are given a chance to stretch their imagination and provide input about classroom design. Empower our young minds and watch the magic happen.