There's been a remarkable amount of brain research demonstrating how crucial environments are for learning. Cozy, well-lit and well-organized spaces are essential for literacy learners of any age. The constraints teachers face in designing and organizing their classrooms are enormous -- from irritated fire marshals to fear of lice infestations, with limited budgets always at the forefront. You'll be inspired by these beautiful classrooms, created by teachers who manage to design spaces any reader or writer would love.
When Julie Cox moves into a smaller classroom, she realizes that to make it a room where students learn and thrive, she needs to shift her mindset. Rather than simply putting things where they fit, she asks three questions to make intentional decisions that will support learning.
Jodie Bailey approaches setting up her math classroom as a blank space with an invitation for students to engage in establishing identity, creativity, and collaboration.
Tammy Mulligan leads us through the process of giving primary students the reins for building and organizing the classroom library . . . and offers tips for navigating the tricky parts.
Melissa Quimby advises leaving space for students to personalize the classroom when they arrive to start the new school year.
Dana Murphy guides reading specialists in setting up intervention rooms to welcome readers.
Christy Rush-Levine shares her system for streamlining passing papers and offering a place for private feedback.
Christy Rush-Levine shares her simple system for organizing her massive classroom library.
Mandy Robek adjusts her mindset of preparing her classroom according to COVID guidelines and discovers an open heart and mind as she prepares a “minimalist classroom.”
Leigh Anne Eck personifies her classroom library by sharing the lessons it whispers when we take the time to listen. This is a practical guide to keeping your classroom library timely and relevant.
Inspired by a closet clean-out, Leigh Anne Eck considers the way a seasonal rotation is also good for classroom libraries.
Dana Murphy develops a love-hate relationship with the faded anchor charts peeling away from her classroom walls. She finds a move to anchor charts in a sketchbook and a website for chart images improves the quality of her charts and their usefulness.
Sending books home with young readers is essential. Cathy Mere gives lots of practical tips for designing a take-home books program and communicating with families about what young readers need.
Jennifer Schwanke shares some quick tips for spring cleaning of classrooms and literacy supplies.
Franki Sibberson explains how she watches students closely and adjusts her library based on what she sees all year long.
Bitsy Parks has a simple seven-step process for a hard day’s work of weeding out her first-grade classroom library.
Shari Frost and a teacher she is assisting notice some bins collecting dust in the classroom library. When the teacher resists removing the books, they work together to find creative ways to help students develop enthusiasm for neglected series and authors.
Have you revisited your classroom design since September? Andrea Smith and her fourth graders get over the midwinter blahs by refreshing classroom seating together.
Mary Lee Hahn finds some of her fifth-grade readers are stuck in ruts by early winter. Her solution involves some radical changes to her classroom library over winter break.
Heather Fisher finds the key to independence for many first graders is lots of visual reminders in classrooms.
Katherine Sokolowski describes a wall display with guidelines to ensure students are respectful and aware of the pitfalls of posting online.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills give three principles they use to help avoid the “charts as wallpaper” syndrome in their fourth-grade classroom.
Andrea Smith shares a sequence of lessons she uses to introduce the classroom library to her fourth-grade students.
Christy Rush-Levine explains how she gradually stocked her middle school classroom library, as well as how she uses student librarians to ensure books aren’t lost.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe how they set up their meeting area with the right supplies to build community and student independence.
Katherine Sokolowski considers how classroom design says a lot about the relationship between students and teachers.
At a time of escalating violence throughout the world, children need peaceful spaces. Katie DiCesare creates a "peace table" in her first-grade classroom as a safe place for working through everything from playground squabbles to emotional distress.
Tara Barnett and Kate Mills describe the principles they use to design a student-centered classroom.
Katherine Sokolowski shares a wall display from her fifth graders that students build to celebrate who they are and people they love from home.
Are you contemplating the removal of your teacher desk this year? Shari Frost has suggestions for how to manage and house teaching materials you will need without a teacher desk.
Bitsy Parks explains how she designs her first-grade classroom library for “gradual release” throughout the school year in a way that allows students to build book-browsing skills.
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