by Sandra Jacoby
From the very beginning of the school year, students are watching your every move and your classroom’s every changing detail. Here are a few ideas that will make your classroom zip and make kids want to zap into learning.
Instead of decorating your classroom’s walls in August and leaving them primarily untouched until May, add new pictures or posters on a regular basis. Students love to play the “What’s Different?” game, and you might be a little surprised as to which of your students notices the changes first!
Add a strand of white twinkle lights to the darkest part of your classroom. This will look warm and inviting from the doorway, and the kids will think that it adds an awesome effect to the classroom. Add a cool lamp or two, as well; there is something magical about light. Make your classroom the one that every child in the hallway peers into with envy!
Center Switch Up
We all get bored looking at and doing the same things, so you can imagine that a few weeks into school, students are beginning to tire of your centers. It’s time to switch things up! Add different types of blocks to the block center. Put watercolors in the art center and take out the markers, or take out the scissors and tell the children they have to find a new way to “cut.” Rotate out the dramatic play center’s clothes to give a new and exciting role to play. Add different objects to the sand in your science center: sea shells, rocks, fossils, and then show your students how to use magnifying glasses and a balance to see and weigh the things in the center.
We all strive to make our lessons student-focused (and not entirely teacher-directed), and this same conviction applies to classroom decor. Look at your room from the students’ perspective. If you teach 4-year-olds, decorations and supplies should be at a 4-year-old’s height as much as possible. If you notice that the class is not enjoying something for as long as you would have liked, find something to replace it and introduce it again later when interests have changed.
Another focus for classroom decor is organization. Where do students hang their coats and bags? Where do they sit as a class in the morning? How can they tell who is the leader or the caboose? How do they order their lunch? What are the classroom helper roles? The more that is displayed for the child, the more efficient the teacher’s job becomes, and–most importantly–the more the child understands his important role in the classroom.
Sandra Jacoby graduated from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in December, 2008, with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies. She currently teaches pre-kindergarten in Fredericksburg, Texas.