Saturday, August 15, 2009

Opening School - Welcome to Broadway!

My daughter got her first teaching job last week at Trinity Elementary in Florida! Woo Hoo! Teachers in her county, like mine, go back to school on Monday and she will have a week to decorate her first intermediate classroom. In trying to help her with ideas, I decided that I would go to the best source I know, the teachers of Chets Creek! Today, (even though school is not yet even opened) I took my camera to get some early pictures for inspiration. I was going to send them to her through e-mail but thought everyone else might like to get an early glimpse.

Our school theme is "Orchestrating a Symphony of Student Success" and each grade level was given a different genre of music. Second grade has the music of Broadway and below are some of the early decorations!

What I can say about these ideas:

We each have a bulletin board in the hallway and the first board to go up (by Orientation which is the first Friday before school starts) is a "Something I Know Good About You" board. It includes each child's name and something good about that child. It is a wonderful way to welcome new children and their families to their new classroom. Since teachers don't have a class list yet, the names are still to be added!

Each teacher has a place for each student to house a piece of their work. These spaces stay up all year although the work changes each month. Most of the teachers use a clothespin hot glued to the wall and a laminated piece of construction paper as a backdrop. These are also usually theme-related.

The outside door of each room has a welcoming theme-related sparkle. While each room may be different, this is not a competition. The teachers share what they find during the summer and try to have some conformity to the outside of their rooms. The last thing we want is for parents to come to Orientation and start judging and criticising teachers based on how they decorate the outside of their room!

Most teachers have some kind of comfy reading area. Many include a coach or comfy chair, benches, stools, bean bags, etc. and most include a lamp.

A Word Wall is a "must" in every room but teachers arrange them differently. Some use an alphabetical arrangement and others organize by word patterns or themes. In one of these pictures the teacher already has Velcro dots on laminated paper and will Velcro the words on as the class needs them.

No matter what your class comes with, you will need extra organizing bins and containers. Be on the lookout for these at discount stores and anywhere children's furniture is sold.

Each teacher needs a chair and each teacher knows what she likes. From a rocking chair to a stool to a cafe chair, to each his own!

Each classroom has a class library. Most have a genre library that is organized by topic. Most also have a chapter book library in the intermediate school. Each classroom also has a leveled library (organized by Fountas-Pinnell Reading Levels A-Z). Although over the years, we have used all sort of bins and baskets, most teachers have decided that its worth the investment to buy baskets all alike for the uniformity and organization. That's not to say that some teachers would rather have baskets in different shapes, sizes and colors, but many choose all one size because they like the neater appearance. No matter how many shelves come in your classroom, you'll need extra so look for bargains everywhere you go!

Never underestimate the value of creativity and repurposing something you have at home. All teachers earn a Masters in trash to treasure while they teach!

If you are a first year teacher, don't worry! You won't collect everything before the first day of class and you shouldn't. As the year unfolds, you'll find things that you want and need to make your classroom work for you and your children. During this first week of preparation, go to the veterans and let them help you with room arrangement. Let the vet help prioritize your time because before you are ready, the children will be at your door! Just know that no special effect will have the same power that you do! What parents really want to see that first day is that you are someone who will care about their child! You can't decorate that!

peek into another theme tomorrow!


Dorry Lopez said...

I love your last statement! How true is that! We decorate, decorate, decorate to make it inviting for our little ones and their parents, but all we want to do is to teach them and show them that we care about them.

Wanda Lankford said...

Great Job 2nd Grade! You Rock!Thanks for sharing.

Suzanne said...

Thank you for the early look inside CCE. It is evident that the teachers are passionate about their work with children and go the extra mile to make it a home away from home.

The Lipsky Team said...

My cozy reading area made the blog! I got that couch from Julia and Lori last year... It was old and gross but with a little spray paint and new pillows Mrs. Pat found, it was good as new!