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.
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.
Katherine Sokolowski considers how classroom design says a lot about the relationship between students and teachers.
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 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.
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.
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.
Mandy Robek realizes her classroom library isn't working for her second graders, in part because many of the books are still too difficult for students early in the year. She explains her process of sorting and stowing books for later use.
Gigi McAllister reorganizes her classroom library checkout system, and finds that a little upfront investment in time pays big dividends all year long.
Katie DiCesare thinks about the needs of her first-grade students, and spends some time reorganizing primary information texts, considering both physical texts for the library and online resources.
Melanie Swider believes access to supplies is crucial for student independence, and she even has students in charge of monitoring and replenishing materials. This is the final installment in Melanie's classroom environment series.
Shari Frost cautions against overly stylized text in wall displays.
Melanie Swider shares her favorite bulletin boards, another installment in her classroom design series.
Melanie Swider shares how classroom design is linked to community building.
Katherine Sokolowski explains why it is important to sort and weed out books carefully before the new year begins.
Melanie Swider looks at classroom library design as part of her classroom environment series.
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