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A Welcoming Classroom

September 13, 2012

I hope you have all had a successful start to the new school year. I have! You may have noticed that I have been so busy having fun at school that I have neglected my blog posts. I am still grading papers, which takes a while because I am committed to giving meaningful feedback and not just grades. (See our previous post on Feedback.) I am reminded of this quote every time I review or grade student work.

Feedback says to a student, “Somebody cared enough about my work to read it and think about it!” Brookhart (2008)

Though the last few weeks have been very busy with my adult learners, I do have a couple of ideas that you might find useful for your classroom.

My goal is always to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere in my classroom, even though my students are all adults in graduate programs. The first days of class I arrive early with flowers for each table, a box of supplies, post-its, Hershey’s kisses, relaxing music and sometimes a fresh scent for the room.I operate on the theory that chocolate makes everything better. (I don’t recommend this for younger students who have different nutritional needs.)

I discovered a few years ago that one bunch of daisies or chrysanthemums would provide 2-3 blooms for each table and last 10-14 days.  I think I get a good return on my investment. I bought nine small and colorful vases, and a handy crate for carrying. The crate sits on my desk when I am not in the classroom, so I always have fresh flowers on my desk as well.

During the first week I have students take each other’s pictures with a digital camera. I use these pictures  for the class roster, to learn names and for various class projects throughout the year. It is great for your sub folder. This year I used an idea I found on Pinterest to make a colorful picture frame for each student to hold. I added the date to it, so I will remember when the picture was taken.

Directions for Picture Frame

Materials: Foam poster board, cutting knife, hot glue gun or tacky glue, bulletin board border, colored card stock for date.

  • With a yardstick or straight edge, measure 4 inches from the edge of the board.
  • Mark and cut this out. This will be your picture frame. I didn’t want to worry about a perfect edge, so I let my bulletin board border lap over the edge and glued it on. I use masking tape to add the date, so that I can reuse my frame next year.

I enjoy the color and flowers and I think my students do too.

If you have ideas to create a welcoming classroom, please share those with us here.

Have a great day!

Linda

Resources:

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Tara Noah permalink
    September 16, 2012 12:24 pm

    As a former student of yours, I can say that I really loved the vase with flowers that you put on our tables each class period! It made our “sterile” classroom much more lovely and enjoyable! =) Thanks!!!

    • September 16, 2012 1:04 pm

      Thank you Tara! It made the classroom more enjoyable for me too. Thanks for the feedback! Linda

  2. Bob Reese permalink
    September 13, 2012 11:00 pm

    I am Rich Reese’s brother, I have followed for a short time. You are an inspiration. Tech Ed 12 yrs. Sixth grade science for eight days. I really enjoy your topics. I like the flowers! Keep it coming. Have a great year! Bob Reese

    • September 14, 2012 8:39 am

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate feedback myself. I am glad you find the blog useful. Good luck with those 6th graders. I’m confident they will be an inspiration to you.

      Best regards,
      Linda

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