Tag Archives: classroom

building a classroom

I’m going to skip right to the point, the following is just a (pinterest free) list of ideas/necessities for building a classroom. Comment and add, please!

  • Supplies area
  • Schedule (daily, monthly, yearly, modifiable)
  • Desks (table groups)
  • Subject “wallpaper” as follows:
  1. Math – big ideas, academic language, examples/problems
  2. Literacy – books/authors, genres
  3. Science – experiments, current science topics
  4. Social Studies – artifacts, current events
  • Discipline (how to solve problems, class motto, community, notes)
  • What to do when finished with work (activities either class/teacher generated)
  • Places to sit during silent reading (variable locations temporary)
  • Meeting area (rug?)
  • Attendance/behavior (slots, sticks, techno)
  • Books/library
  • Teacher supplies/desk
  • Technology – computers, laptops, etc.
  • Student work (art/written with clips to change it weekly/monthly)
  • Number line
  • Places for backpacks/instruments/lunch
  • Current objectives
  • Safety kit
  • Water/sink
  • Bathroom pass (rubber chicken??)
  • Multiple work areas (drafting table, low table)
  • Multiple chairs (bouncy, soft, solid, spinning)
  • Super Nintendo (The kids will have been born a decade after it was released…)
  • Music (pandora?)
  • Creative spaces to work

And other things too! It’s been good looking at a variety of classrooms to get some ideas.

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parent teacher student

The students aren’t just students. Though I reflected that education should be thought of as life itself, there’s still life outside of education.

The biggest part of that life outside of education is parents. I finally had a chance to meet with parents for the (somewhat intimidating) parent-teacher conferences. Fortunately, my master (cooperating, etc.) teacher had a great idea to include the students at these meetings. Unfortunately, few students came, but the parents were there with a list of questions.

I have no doubt in my mind that the parents want what’s best for the kids – and they want a great education for them. They also want great grades. And grades are something that needs to be very clear, else it becomes a match of lawyers.

Students, parents, and teachers need to have close communication and constant clear communication for education to go beyond what’s happening in the classroom.

A constant thing I hear from parents is that their children are the exact opposite of how they are in class. I’m not sure why that is, but I have some theories. Maybe if more parents observed or helped in the classroom they can see how their kids and other kids interact. After all, it takes a village to raise a child.

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finding the time

Somehow time really flies in schools. I was told “there’s always enough time for what’s important,” but I’m beginning to think there’s “there’s never enough time to scratch the surface.”


There’s a debate (somewhere) about whether we want to cover more ground (broad) or less but more solidly (depth). It appears that in schools, it’s often not that much content and not very in depth. There’s about four hours or real learning time in a school day, subtracting for lunch, recess and other specialists (there’s learning there).


Sometimes you want to explore a subject more deeply – but then time runs out. Math and reading/writing take an insurmountable amount of time – and they’re required for good reason, but even in those subjects, time is fleeting. With standards and test looming, it’s up to teachers to cover everything the best they can, but that can be to the detriment to real learning. Sometimes there are things that the students are on the cusp of learning, but need some real world hands on experience. Sometimes they get that – but usually at the expense of something else that would be invaluable.


So, maybe we can mix every subject at once. Math with social studies, science with art, technology with writing. But’s it’s never enough time. But that’s more down to the fate of being human. I don’t know if I’ll have time to learn five languages, live all over the world, become the world’s greatest teacher, chef, writer, husband – and someday father, and open an awesome sandwich shop. I’ll just have to make time for the important stuff. Sometimes that’s everything.

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A tale of two schools

There is a big difference in the number ten, more than I could have imagined.

Having ten more students in a place that feels a tenth the size (of my previous classroom) makes it all the more difficult. Thinking back to Ayers, I agree that a quiet classroom doesn’t equal a learning classroom, but it sure is hard to transition with the level of noise in the classroom at any given time. When you don’t have the physical space to create an environment for learning, you just sort of make-do. The classroom doesn’t even have enough space for students to sit around for a read aloud. There isn’t space to work on projects bigger than a desk. Clutter is an issue. It seems like everything is an issue.

The students are clever, very clever. I’m still trying to learn their names. The students seem to “feed” off the chaos. When it’s time to pick up off the ground, some students just hide under their desks. When it’s time for silent reading, a line forms up to use the restroom. The environment isn’t the best for them, so it’ll take something more. It’ll take engagement to a new level. That seems like the only way. The class is diverse – but using the diversity could be key to engaging the students. No one said this would be easy.

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