Monday, August 19, 2013

What does your room say about you?

So I had an idea this evening and this post is an attempt to think it through...

I went to school today to start setting stuff up in my room and work on a couple things.  Kids don't come until 3 weeks from today but if I start now I can work on things at a leisurely pace...a couple hours here, a couple hours there.  I have to lead some PD on the second teacher day too so I'd rather not have to worry about working on my room then.

So back to my idea...

One of the sessions I'm really bummed about missing at #TMC13 was Dan Goldner's on Problem Based Learning.  From talking to people though I got that they talked about the idea that all of the decisions we make reflect our values.  I like this idea a lot.  Then a couple days ago someone (I'm sorry-completely forget who) tweeted a picture of their classroom and asked what it said about them.

So I'm very curious to know what my classroom says about me to someone that doesn't know me.  My room doesn't really look like a typical high school classroom...or at least not like most classrooms in any of the schools that I've been in.

So my idea is to have students do a quick little activity immediately upon entering my room on the first day of school-before I say anything to them at all.  I will prompt them to just take a look around at things, take it all in and I want to ask the following:
  • What are some things you notice in the classroom/about this class?
  • What are some things you wonder about this class?
  • Tell me what you think this class is going to be like.
I think this could be an easy way to introduce noticing and wondering in a way that has an extremely low entry point.

I also think it will be funny because towards the middle of the year my kids always tell me that their first impressions of my class were completely wrong.  They frequently tell me that they they thought the room was too elementary and that it would be a really easy class.  They've said that they thought it was going to be a really annoying class because of all the procedures I have for doing things and stuff like that.  Within a couple months though they feel like my room is home. So I think that having them jot down some first impressions could be funny to look back at later.

Does anyone have any ideas about this? Ways to make it better perhaps? Or do you do anything similar? I'd love to hear.

On another note, I got an e-mail this week from a student that will be a junior that said in regards to school starting, "I'm excited, I'm sure you're excited about school." I laughed, but it made me think and I'm actually really glad that he thinks that about me.  I'm happy that I come across as someone that enjoys my job and isn't just counting down until the last day of school.  That's all.


  1. I think the idea is great! Based on this post, I am thinking of having the students come in and look around and give me their impressions of what they think class will be like. (I like to decorate my room too!) Then, follow it up with my normal "get to know the room" activity. When I decorate, I put up many different reference posters and then have them, using only the walls, go on a scavenger hunt for information. It helps them become familiar with what is around them and learn that what is around them is helpful to them.

  2. I've been wanting to incorporate more of noticing and wondering in my teaching as well; this is a great way to start! I'll try it this week and blog about it too.

  3. We have the same clock! Your room looks really welcoming and organized. It's cool that you work directly with their impressions right away--because students definitely form them and notice the effort it takes to organize and make those procedures.


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