I saw a post on Twitter this week that intrigued me. A teacher spoke about the importance of keeping your classroom walls empty at the beginning of the school year, and work to fill the space with student work.
In theory, it sounds cool, but in my experience, students do not like it when a teacher keeps a boring classroom, even if there is a promise of their work being put up. Students want to see you on those walls. They want to see that you care enough about the learning space that you engage it as much as you engage them. Blank walls, to me, indicate a teacher that is not engaging on multiple levels.
Yes, I have space in my room to post student work. I even have my students create origami and write poems on it and hang it from the celling. Colorful hats and butterflies with their words adorn my celling, and it looks awesome! But most of my walls and table tops are filled by the end of the first week of school because I want to show who I am, and that I care about the space that we live in for the semester/year. And yes, YOU live there. The students visit for an hour each day (if you teach middle or high school), but you are there, if you are like me, on average of nine-ten hours a day during the school year; heck yeah I’m going to make it mine!
Here is a glimpse of a couple sections of my room. It’s crazy, and it takes time and effort (just bought a new chair for the “lounge” section), but I have the most engaging/engaged room in the school.
I know I have the luxury of my own room, and I understand that some of you do not. I’d suggest taking part of the room if you can (possibly one wall?) or even having the most decked-out roller-cart in the building!
My room speaks about me. It tells my story. And parts of what I put up tells the story of the students that came before: pictures, artwork, awards, etc. Students love becoming part of that history by adding photos or drawings. Find space in the room for them, but make it “you.”
Not much else today. I will have more to say about this as the year progresses. Just remember to use your space to say something about you. The tone and mood of your room speak to your students; engage!
And if you are looking for ways to acquire decor on the cheap, hit me up; I’m a hustler.
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