I don't decorate my classroom before school starts.
I stopped making elaborate bulletin boards for the first day of school. I stopped spending hours creating cute spaceships or race cars, each personalized with a student name and picture. I don't buy pre-made education posters to adorn my walls. I've even stopped making job charts, weather charts, calendar charts, behavior charts, editing checklist charts, how to write a paragraph charts, you name it charts. Yes, my students walk into a classroom where the walls are bare, the bulletin boards cry out, "Cover me!" and the absence of pictures and print in the room would leave enriched classroom environment enthusiasts shuddering.
- I spend time getting to know my students before I even meet them.
- I set up my class and student accounts in VoiceThread, KidsBlog, Voki, Animoto, Wikispaces, and Glogster
- I go through my books and pull out the ones that I think my students will be interested in. I display those books with the covers showing and I put many of the other books away to be revealed as the year goes on.
- I organize and add to my collection of classroom and online math games.
- I compose my welcome back blog entry.
- I clean up my class wiki, archiving last year's contributions, and making room for the new.
- I collect pictures of all the parts of my life so that my students can get to know me.
- I fold and glue together lots of blank Foldables; empty bound books for our beginning of the year class books, top pockets to hold our learning during our science units, 2-tabs and 8-tabs for side by side word study books, and pocket books for our life timelines.
- I plan and prepare for a fun science lesson, a math game, and a team challenge on the first day of school.
- I make bubble letter name tags for each student to personalize on the very first day.
- I carefully choose the books I'll use for my beginning of the year book hooks and read alouds.
- I work on my Writer's Notebook.
My room will get decorated.
I have no idea what it will look like, but I do know that over time the walls and spaces will be filled with things that matter to my students. Over time, my room will be a celebration of the personalities, talents, and gifts of the group of unique individuals that inhabit it.
Do you decorate your classroom?
What do you do instead?
What do you do instead?
How does what you do or don't do reflect what you believe about kids and learning?