As soon as you have your principal’s permission to go into your classroom, take advantage of the time. It may take longer to set up than you think. Make sure you have a plan before entering the classroom so you can maximize the time you’ll have to get everything in order:
- Consider a theme for your classroom. Perhaps your school has a school wide theme that everyone will participate in. Or, think of something that really interests you – sports, animals, favorite cartoon character – something that will be visually appealing but not distracting to your students.
- Consider the color scheme. Research shows that the choice of colors on the walls, bulletin boards, and furniture can effect the emotion and behavior of children at different stages in their schooling.
- Leave room to post student work. Posting student work with positive, constructive feedback is important so students can see what strong work looks like. It also gives them a sense of pride to see a sticker or high grade on their paper. In addition, administrators or other school personnel conducting observations want to see what is being done in the classroom.
- Leave room for a Word Wall or Concept Wall. Many classrooms have a space on the wall to post spelling and vocabulary words children are learning. Concept walls not only include words but charts, posters, and materials created by students and teachers to display concepts that the students are learning.
- Decide on your classroom feng shui. Choose how you will set up student desks and any large tables for small group instruction. Depending on the size of the room, you may wish to have cabinets for storing books and materials and a filing cabinet for storing files, worksheets, and student work. Some classrooms have small whiteboard easels on wheels and a bookshelf for a classroom library. And don’t forget to leave room for a teacher’s desk, too!
Classrooms become a second home for teachers and students. It’s important to make the learning environment a place where everyone feels comfortable and welcomed.