My summer ended with intense jet lag in which I seemingly woke up with a glue gun in my hand, muttering “Let’s do this!” It was just days before Open House and it was time to get the room set up. I’m a firm believer that a classroom does not have to be expensive to set up. Rather, it’s about using what you have, repurposing what other’s are throwing out, and putting your heart (and creativity!) into creating a unqiue space that will say to your students “Learning happens here!”
This year, I really wanted a classroom theme that was all about learning. I also wanted it to be all about creativity! I thought of the movie “Wizard of Oz” and realized how Dorothy’s journey is *just* like the journey we take as we learn. There are struggles, collaboration, successes, challenges, and in the end, you discover something about yourself. Here is a tour of our classroom this year. This is our 3rd and 4th grade class. I’ll be sharing my 5th and 6th grade class next week!
The door to learning…
Our movie poster, just for fun.
“Creativity is contagious… pass it on.” I love picking up these little unfinished wood items at Hobby Lobby when they are 50% off. A quick paint and then you can print out any quote to decoupage on. Cheap and easy!
A view from the door….
A kid’s eye view…. I recently moved my desk to the new spot you see. I don’t really use it, so it will be a recording station when kids are creating audio. I have created a large cardboard “cubby” to make a “studio” to cover the sides when we need it. Kids *love* to sit in the “big chair”.
Our forest of technology… remember how Dorothy struggled to navigate her way through the forest? My goal is for students to learn to choose their tech tools. The apples contain the names of various tools we’ll explore first quarter. [NOTE: I realize there's some irony that the tech tools are on Apples hanging over PC's.]
These cans are now in their 6th year of use. Every year, I recover them. They are metal auto-paint cans and super sturdy. The plates are from the summer clearance so students can easily clear the tables when needed.
Your brain… there is no app for that!
All the “signposts” to learning in our classroom.
Dream big! The Emerald City is made of cardboard, wrapping paper, and Christmas lights. The poppies are scrapbook paper! The letters were just printed out on my laser printer onto colored cardstock.
A view from “Collaboration Corner”.
“Somewhere over the rainbow…”
I laminated large sheets of yellow paper to make giant BRICKs. [Brainstorm, Reflect, Imagine, Collaborate, KeepLearning] A theme that is going to carry over into our notebooks, too.
A free table got a fresh coat of red paint for our phone area. I’m searching thrift stores for the perfect stuffed chair to sit by this table. Haven’t found it yet… but I will.
I almost threw this file folder organizer out… until I realized it holds are tablets perfectly for charging. Please excuse the Keeper of Technology Monkey posing nearby.
Our SMARTBoard area.
I’m going to have students add quotes to our canvases once the year gets underway. For now, they are just colorful rainbows for the wall.
This is Collaboration Corner. This low ‘coffee table’ is perfect to gather around, the back of the grey shelves are magnetic to post chart paper, ideas, and more. I also have clipboard kids can use to move around the room. Sitting in a desk is never the only option. I’m going to add a few floor pillows and stools to this corner, too.
We love to work with the lights off. The lamps and extra lighting make it cozy. If you read my blog last year, you may have noticed I repurposed the tornado from “Brainstorm!”
There’s no place like learning! But, there is one MAJOR thing missing in this classroom…. KIDS! Next Monday will be my first day of class and I will meet a new group of third graders that I will be lucky enough to work with for the next four years. Can’t wait for Monday to get here!
A few more photos and downloadable versions of the posters are available on Flickr. You are welcomed to use the posters in your classroom if you get the urge to go to Oz!