I would really rather feel bad in Maine than feel good anywhere else.
Last January I visited Keri Archer’s kindergarten classroom in the teeth of flu season. Almost half the children were absent, and Keri and the weary remainder were all coughing and sniffling. It was one of those days when as a class visitor I would casually wander over to the sink and do a whole body spritz with the hand sanitizer every five minutes.
And yet, I looked around at the bright hand-painted tables, the cozy pillows, the charmingly mismatched but oh-so-carefully selected chairs that seemed to whisper “come and sit a spell.” I realized Keri had created one of those places where you’d rather be there feeling a mite poorly than almost anywhere else feeling well. The classroom felt like home, no small feat for any teacher trying to navigate draconian fire codes, lice-resistant seating, and the requirements to post sterile standards prominently.
What are you planning for your classroom this fall to make it feel more like home for your students? Favorite family photographs they bring in for you to frame and scatter among the shelves? Self-portrait craft projects or sketches of favorite fiction characters from years past? What will give a sense of welcome, warm as a hearth, when children return to school?
This week we look at classroom design. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
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Here are two features from the archives to help you make classroom design changes to support literacy.
Ann Marie Corgill writes about the beginning point for classroom design in Starting with Why:
Katie Doherty finds out a lot about her middle school students as readers when she spends the first week letting them define and design her classroom library:
Katherine Sokolowski does a video blog post on how design possibilities opened up in her classroom once she got rid of her teacher desk:
The Choice Literacy Pinterest board Take a Seat highlights creative classroom seating options from our contributors:
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Ruth Ayres has tips for Effective Organization of desks, tables, chairs and materials to support literacy learning:
Andrea Smith shares her best advice for library design that celebrates nonfiction as much as fiction in Helping Allison Reorganize Her Classroom Nonfiction Library:
In this week’s video, Stella Villalba gives a tour of her classroom library and publishing corner designed to support the grades 1-5 English language learners she works with daily:
Maria Caplin uses a getting to know you activity in the first days of school to jumpstart research reading and writing with her fifth-grade students:
In an encore video, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (“The Sisters”) redesign the lighting in their colleague Ahnsaly’s literacy meeting area. In the process, they talk about the challenges of “black hole” media mounted on walls, dealing with cords and codes, and creating banks of lights:
That’s all for this week!