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unique rooms
monday, january 24, 2005



i think one of the things i like about working in different classrooms right now, other than the different ways they manage the kids, is how uniquely each teacher decorates the classroom. you don't see this so much in the high schools, which is kind of sad, but the elementary and middle school hallways and rooms are filled with bright, colorful banners, posters, and wall displays. even when teachers use the same things (i can't count how many language arts teachers have the same posters on the rules of writing), they use them differently, and each room ends up being quite personal and unique.

i was told that beyond student desks, anything metal in a given classroom is probably from the school district (with the obvious exceptions - microwaves, mini fridges, etc). so, in addition to a desk, most teachers also get 2-3 tables, 2 file cabinets, 2-4 bookshelves, and 2 storage cabinets. a lot of teachers add additional bookshelves, i've seen a podium or two, a number of bar stools or bar height chairs, and stacking storage units of all sizes, shapes, and colors. so, even though the district gives quite a bit, it's apparently not enough for most teachers and they add their own stuff to the pile.

most the rooms have pretty similar floor plans and space, but they all tend to be arranged quite differently. i have yet to see a classroom with the standard desks all in lines or evenly spaced out in a big block in the middle of the room like i was used to as a kid. (wait, i take that back - there have been a couple, but very few.) some have lines of 3 or 4 desks down the middle of the room with the remaining desks forming diagonal wings on either side. some have the desks grouped with 4-6 forming a table. others have them broken up in twos. still others have them all around the outer edge of the room in a big rectangle, or in a 'u' with half a dozen desks in the center. most of them have a desk or two set aside for "isolation" - a place to put students who are having a bad day and who need to be separated from the group.

as for the walls, few teachers go to the extremes of the teacher i wrote about a bit back. most have a border around their dry erase board, two neatly organized and decorated bulletin boards, the use of some portable wall dividers, and the rest is concrete walls. everything is nicely spaced and thematic. even the messiest teachers rarely have walls that are too busy or overdone.

then there are the teachers who manage to do neat and unique things with their rooms. the teacher who made a reading corner with a soft light and beanbag chairs. the special ed teacher who divided her room up and provided a cubical work space for each individual child. one teacher lights her room with half a dozen tall lamps with soft light bulbs across the back of her room and strings of christmas lights around her dry erase board. in today's room, cloth banners hung in the windows. sometimes the unique decor is quite functional. the room i was in friday had a pocket wall hanging with a card in each pocket with a kids name. she uses it to take homeroom attendance.

in general, teachers manage to do all this personalizing without making the rooms seem crowded or overdone. many of the rooms have a very homey feel.

which is nothing like the classrooms from my memories! lol

its all got me thinking about what i want to do in my classroom and how. i already know it's going to take a little time to do much of anything for my room - there are just higher priorities for us right now. but i do look forward to evolving my room over time into something as neat as some of these rooms i've gotten to visit. i can only hope to do half as well as some of these teachers. it's really nice to have the inspiration in the mean time.


word of the moment: soul

the immaterial essence or substance, animating principle, or actuating cause of life or of the individual life; the psychical or spiritual principle in general shared by or embodied in individual human beings or all beings having a rational and spiritual nature; the psychical or spiritual nature of the universe related to the physical world as the human soul to the human body; the immortal part of man having permanent individual existence; a person's total self in its living unity and wholeness; a seat of real life, vitality, or action; an animating or essential part; a vital principle actuating something; man's moral and emotional nature as distinguished from his mind or intellect; the quality of expression that effectively presents or arouses emotion and sentiment; a manifestation (as affection, generosity, charity, sympathy) of the moral nature; spiritual or moral force; human being; one having a good or noble quality in the highest degree

 
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