Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My Classroom Revealed

I have been waiting for the right conditions to share my classroom with the blogosphere.  Especially since I have learned that there are a number of other teachers who pop into AGT from time to time.  Many teachers put photos of their classrooms online to share and get feedback etc.  Many teachers don't put photos of their messy or incomplete classroom.  Back to the point.... My classroom is not quite as perfect as I would like it to be but it is fairly close.  I came to the conclusion last week that the likelihood of my room ever being "perfect" is practically nonexistent.  I am constantly shuffling, reorganising, adding and taking from it.  So, with that in mind, here it is.

Left: the beginnings of a "Trade Poster" display that our year 8 classes constructed.  My teaching partner modelled the poster project and helped them through the process of researching and producing a factfile for their chosen occupation.  Students listed literacy and numeracy skills and personal qualities required for the job. 
Below: These photos are from opposite corners of our "staffroom" which doubles as a "small group room" when we are blessed with teacher aide support.  You can see the table in the middle is supposed to be clear and ready for when a group arrives (it rarely is).

Left: My Numeracy Wall (only in its developing stages) displaying four operation symbols.  Underneath each symbol is a poster created by students in small groups.  The poster has the operation language, symbol/s an example maths problem and an algorithm. 

Right: My Literacy Wall.  We have a reading section, that extends to the right of the photo.  Directly under the LITERACY title there are posters explaining parts of speech.  We also have "spelling help" posters with the months of the year.  The experienced teachers with a good eye, will be wondering why there is a Number 1-100 poster on the Literacy wall.  It includes the numbers 1-100 as well as each number written in words.  The poster was also "permanently" attached to the wall last year and I have not been brave enough to remove it yet.  At this point I can justify its presence there, so it will do. 

Left: the "behaviour/ management reminder" wall.  Aim High is the name of our School Wide Positive Behaviour Management Program.  I will tell you more about that another day, but basically we have three prinicples and they are displayed in our room.  We have a "little monster" displaying some good listening tips and the behaviour plan for our room.  We also have four rules that are specific to our classroom and at the beginning of the year/ semester we discuss these as a class and how they fit with our Aim High principles. 

Right: The work-in-progress of our "Test Talk" wall.  The white title says "Good Readers make Good Test Takers" and our goal with this display is to remind the kids to use their "Good Reader" strategies.  More on that later. 
Back to the Left: (do you feel like you are at a tennis match?) The shelves that bridge the space between my desk and my teaching partner's.  It is easy to guess which side of the shelves belong to me... the messy and overloaded side. 

So there you go.  Now you have seen it.  Most of it.  We also have a kitchen area (don't get jealous it doesn't actually work) that I am working on.  We have some shelves that will be moved soon.  We have decided to add some large, brightly coloured, cushions to the area.  The books will go on the bench (the kitchen bench) and we will cover the windows with reading/book posters.  I purchased a rug last year and this is in the middle of the kitchen area so we have a great 'meeting area' away from our desks. 

So, you haven't seen how my desks are organised, or the student supply shelves.  I am getting there.  After I took these photos I finished the Habits of Mind bulletin board and added to the "Test Talk" wall and beside it we are beginning a writing display. 

I want my classroom to be an inviting place at the beginning of the semester.  But I also want it to grow with my students as the year progresses.  I try to get student work up as soon as possible.  While I like to decorate and accent, I think it is very important to consider the purpose of every single thing I display.  If it doesn't fit with the learning in my room then it has no place on the wall in my room. 

I hope you enjoyed visiting my room.  I doubt you got that many ideas, but I have taken the first step to sharing my teaching space with you.  Hopefully this will make it easier to share more next time. 

:) M

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