As summer comes to a close, teachers around America begin to make their way back to their classrooms, well before they are required. The reason for this is that the one or two days that is typically given to teachers in their contracts for classroom prep is not enough time to get your classroom "just right". I typically play music or videos while I work.
I love movies as "background noise". The ones I have played the most over the year while preparing have been The Sandlot for the laughs and getting me in the middle school mindset and Dead Poets Society for the inspiration.
Here a few tips when it is time to set up your classroom...
1) If you were the age of your students, would YOU want to be in your classroom?
Most of my posters ARE NOT educational themed. They are there to make it a comfortable learning environment (For example, I have a Beatles Yellow Submarine poster on my wall, the kids like it. I will NEVER tack a Justin Bieber poster to my wall no matter how many students beg me, I have to be comfortable too)
2) Does your room look appropriate for the corporate world or a kid's world?
3) Can your students freely flow or are there too many barriers discouraging wanted movement?
4) Can you move around freely? (remember you may be bigger than your kids, rows might be wide enough for a 10 year old, but too narrow for a person in their 20's)
5) Are desks (tables, bean bags, etc) arranged in a way that encourages or discourages interaction? Think about it, in the traditional row set up, most kids will see the back of their classmates heads, how does that encourage discussion?
6) Is there a small corner set up for YOU?
Yes, I know it is about the kids, but remember, you are going to spend a lot of your waking hours for the next 10 months in that room, you need a space in it FOR YOU. I always tell me kids, my desk area is MY HOUSE. They cannot come in (behind the desk) without permission. They often want to "come in" to see the pictures I have posted on my back wall. I have a line marked with duck tape that they cannot go past. If they do, I yell "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE" continuously until they step out. (It's good for a few laughs)
But hey, what do I know...I'm just an old man working in a child's world.