Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday Tip

Primary Teachers - We work so hard to perfect our rooms for our students.  We scour ProTeacher.net, Pinterest,  and other sites to find the most clever and cutest ideas to adapt for our classrooms.  It consumes hours of our time in planning and prep.  Finally, it all comes together just before the big day!

Before that first child enters your room, while everything is still neat and tidy, stop.  Sit down in a child's seat at the back of the room and take a "visual walk" all around your room.  Think what it will be like for a student in your class.

As you slowly survey your kingdom from a child's-eye view, what do you see?  Are dodads dangling from the ceiling?  Do you see a cacophony of colors and patterns?  Is every flat surface lovingly wallpapered with some important or decorative poster, picture or flashcard?

No, I'm not proposing we have a bland, sterile environment.  I've just been convicted lately about how many of our adorable primary classrooms are violating our cherubs with visual clutter.  Guilty as charged!!  I've determined to ask myself throughout the school year, "Do my kids have a place to rest their eyes?  Am I driving my kids who are highly visually distracted to distraction?"  The enlarged, bold-faced, italicized, underlined, colored text, and brightly-highlighted words above are too much.  Likewise, my room can be too much when I put up every decorative tidbit that goes with my garden theme, as well as the alphabet, the bulletin boards, the teaching posters, our room rules, etc., etc.

Yes, I know that many schools are very closely monitored and quite restricted in what can be displayed in their classrooms. Other areas aren't reined in as much.  Our fire marshals may be helping our students more than they know by limiting the amount of "stuff" we may hang.

I need to more carefully consider whether each thing I display contributes to or clutters up my students' learning.  What thoughts do you have on the matter?


  1. I had never thought of this before, but it is so true! Thinking back on my own experiences, some classrooms I have been in stand out to me as being home-y, comfortable, and peaceful. To me, that is the very best learning envirornment. I think it is really important to be able to see the room through the eyes of a student and change it to meet their needs. Thinking about this makes me so excited to decorate my classroom in about 3 years!! :)

  2. Laura,
    You'll want to start a computer file for all the ideas you'll run across in the next 3 years. Make files within that one to organize the hints so you'll be able to find one. For instance, this one could be filed under "room." Don't forget to take pictures of things you like as you have your practicums and internship. You can put them on a Word document and write an explanation or notes and file these too.

  3. Thanks for the tip! I will have to get going on that! :D