Sunday, August 2, 2009

Close Your Eyes

If you were to close your eyes and envision what the perfect classroom scene would be, what would it look, sound and feel like to you? Debbie Miller asks this question in her book, Teaching with Intention. She talks about the excitement in the air, the tracks of learning on the walls, and the engagement of the students.

Miller also talks about what the room may look like before your students arrive. She advocates for empty wall space! It may seem a bit counter-intuitive, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. When your new students walk into your room a few short days from now, you want them to feel that they can contribute; that they belong. You want them to notice right away that you thought their work was so important that you left space for it.

With a day less to prepare for your new students this year, it is the perfect opportunity to adhere to the adage that "less is more". It is not necessary to fight the traffic to get to the school supply store to get those new, pre-made bulletin board displays. Save the money and the time. Prepare your bulletin boards with fabric and border and place a note in the middle that tells your students that the space is reserved for the amazing work that will be done by the new students in your room.

If you want to learn more about Debbie Miller and this "less is more" philosophy, here are a few links:

Two Writing Teachers Always a source of inspiration and creativity, one of these fabulous teachers has posted photos of some of her displays before students arrive.

Google Books Google Books has a preview of Teaching with Intention.