What’s your favorite color scheme?

Today I was chatting with one of my teacher friends about the way we set up our classrooms.  She asked me if there was a particular color scheme that I liked. Here is my response.

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My response made me think about why I choose these colors.  I “decorate” my room with colors I like.  I think it makes my classroom fun and inviting.  I’ve been commended for the my classroom environment and I think the colors I choose adds to it.

So after running through these thoughts today, how funny is  it that I stumble across this article before bed?!

Jan Hoffman wrote the article, Rethinking the Colorful Kindergarten Classroom. In it she references a study by Fisher, Godwin & Seltman: Visual Environment, Attention Allocation, and Learning in Young Children, When Too Much of a Good Thing May Be Bad. 

This study examined the affects of decorations on classroom walls. Research showed that student in classrooms with many decorations were distracted more often.  Click on the link to read the article. It had a lot of good points. It definitely made me further reflect on the way I set up my classroom.

Earlier in this post I put decorate in quotation marks.  I did this because I really dislike saying that I decorate my room.  It sounds unprofessional to me.  I also don’t think the word speaks to the amount of time and energy I put into the presentation of my classroom.  The items I chose to put up may seem decorate in nature but I assure you that everything on the walls of my classroom serves a purpose.

  • The work on the walls reflect student progress.
  • The charts on the board are reminders of learning objectives.
  • The number line and alphabet above my board is for reference.
  • The word wall is for reading and spelling.

When I see my students looking around while they are working, it makes me happy.  It tells me they are engaged in the room itself.  I tell my kids, “Use the information around you to help you.”  Sometimes it’s a spelling word, reading word, math pattern, a step, or a definition that they are looking for.  I’m glad I know they can find it.

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Look behind these cuties to see two charts hanging on the wall. One is for the spelling sound of the week and the other has the reading words for the week.

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10 Ways to Ensure Parents Won’t Need to Ask ‘What Did You Do at School Today?’

I always tell the parents of my students that one of the main reasons I keep a blog is to let the parents know what we do at school. All you parents out there, how many times have you asked the question, “What did you do at school today?” Only to be answered with, “Ummm I dunno.”  I don’t have kids, but I was a kid once and clearly remember driving my dad crazy with my “I dunno,” answer.

In this Alison Anderson lists 10 ways to help keep parents in the know. I feel inspired by a few of the ideas. She suggests starting a classroom instagram account. She suggested assigning a student to be the “instagramer” for the day. I really like this idea and know that students would enjoy this role. I have thought about doing this before but will definitely do this next year. For any teacher considering this, be sure to obtain the proper permission for photographing and sharing images of students. At the beginning of every school year, my district sends out permission slips for students to be photographed. In addition to the permission slip, I also tell parents about where I use the photos and give parents the option of opting out (so far no one has).

Anderson also suggests setting up a classroom youtube channel. Students can make videos and post them to the web. I really like the idea of having a weekly round up. Doing something like this encompasses many learning standards (think listening and speaking and writing). I’m thinking this will also be on my to do list next year!

The last tip I’ll discuss is making iMovie trailers for upcoming school or classroom events. I really love this idea. For those of you that don’t have an Apple computer or simply want to try something else, I’d like to introduce you to Animoto. Animoto is a website for creating videos. You can set up a free educator account. I think its very intuitive and easy to use. I created a video as a hook for a large project I was starting with my class. You can watch it by clicking here.

After reading her article, come back to this post and let me know what you think!