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First Impressions

by Maria Walther

Today is the first day of my summer break (Woo hoo!) and, like many of you, I’m reflecting on the past year and already rethinking things for fall. What do I want to change, tweak, or keep the same? If you find yourself in the same mindset, I thought I’d offer a few ideas to ponder as you set up your classroom and plan the first days with students.

Take a Peek

Even after 31 years of teaching, I still rearrange my classroom to create the most kid-friendly learning environment. A few years ago, I noticed that the first thing my kids saw when they walked into my classroom was the trash can. Hmmmm! What message does that send? How could I fix that? I did a little rearranging and was able to change the view. Now, the first thing children (and adults) see when they peek into my classroom is an A-frame shelf filled with books—covers facing out. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you know someone handy with a hammer and a saw, my husband drew up the plans for this easy-to-make shelf and you can access them here. 

I realize that not everyone has enough room in their teaching space for a bookshelf inside the door. If this is the case, here are some other ways to place books up front. Set up an easel or small shelf outside your door, or simply display book covers of your (or your students’ favorite books) on the door.  Read more