Some dedicated, thoughtful, and busy math teachers have set up a structured challenge to support folks in blogging and connecting about math. I'm never certain I have much to add to the conversation about math as a first grade teacher (where basic counting and number sense are a big focus). But I'm highly intrigued and I learn a lot from these folks.
One option in their first mission is to write about something that makes your classroom distinctly yours. I've been thinking a lot about my classroom (the physical space and what is in it) quite a bit recently and writing about it is the next logical step.
I love my classroom space. I find it welcoming and comforting and a place I genuinely enjoy being. I hope my students feel the same way.
The most noticeable thing in my classroom is that we never have the overhead lights on. I find them jarring and overly bright. Instead, we have four different floor lamps, one in each corner, two small table lamps and Christmas lights strung along two walls. It's a lot to turn on every morning and off every afternoon but it's worth it.
The next thing folks notice is that there is a couch in my room. A regular, living room sofa. (It was my parents' sofa until my mom couldn't figure out why she bought a floral sofa.) It's not institutional or sharp, it's comfortable and welcoming.
I painted one wall of my classroom dark blue. It's another way to keep the room from feeling so sterile.
We also have a piano (it's an electric keyboard but a really nice one so it seems closer to actual piano than keyboard to me).
I only have one table that looks really like a first grade classroom table. I have another table just like that one, but it's only about 18" off the ground and one more big table that is extra tall. The rest of my tables are coffee tables or end tables scattered around. We've got big pillows and bean bags also. Lots of seating choices.
Often I forget that my room looks different from most classrooms. It's been such a gradual evolution to get here that it just feels like normal.
These two pictures were taken by students but they're the best ones I have to see different parts of our classroom. (My first graders do take some great pictures!)