As I got ready to enter my third grade classroom for the 16th time, I had to figure out how to infuse these terms into the daily life of my students. Borrowing a poster shared on Twitter by Terry Stoufer (@Firstatbat) and her blog post on how she started her year, I started the change right at my classroom door:
Using a roll of caution tape from the custodians, I then went to work on my classroom library, putting all the books back in boxes.
When my students walked through the door on Thursday, they noticed the difference right away. They wanted to know why things weren't set up and when they'd get to read all those books. I told them that our classroom belongs to all of us. There were certain things I needed to my best work as their teacher:
A teacher desk.
A comfy reading chair.
A meeting area.
Then I asked them share with me their wants and needs for the classroom. Here are some of the things they said:
A less crowded closet space.
A peace place where they could do work if they felt bothered by others.
A comfy place to read.
A library with easy access to all of the books, with fiction and nonfiction together.
A place to keep books they are currently reading that is not at their desks.
A math center.
A science lab.
An iPad charging station.
Squares on the rug so they can have their own special spot.
And bean bag chairs. Everyone wanted bean bag chairs.
Once we made our list of wants and needs, I asked the students to plan out their ideal classroom. Here are two of their designs:
Unfortunately they don't fully understand space at this age, so many of their desk suggestions won't fit, but we were able to get started on changing the classroom around to fit their needs. As they walked back in from Music and noticed the new Peace Place and the Lunch Box area, their eyes lit up and they whispered proud things like, "That was my idea."
I can't wait to see the final design. Now I'm off to find some bean bag chairs.