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Friday, January 13, 2012

Getting Started: Step One

Summer holidays are in full swing, but I know all the beginning teachers out there will be getting themselves organised and into their classrooms. So, in honor of this, my first posts of the year will be about getting your classroom environment up and running.

I believe that classroom environment is under-rated by many teachers. A welcoming, interactive classroom display hooks students, parents and other colleagues in before you even open your mouth- a big help if you are like me and suffer from repeated 'foot IN mouth' disease.

Its very intimidating when you first get those keys and walk in the door. Just take a deep breath, and segment it into steps and you will be fine! Most classes will have their furniture shifted into the middle, so the cleaners can clean around the walls. They then come back again once the furniture is in place (often the last weekend before school starts) to clean again.

While your class is all packed up like this, its a great idea to get stuck into the walls. I can't highlight this enough- prep the walls well. Remove everything that might have been left up- including stray staples, scraps of paper, etc. Lonely staples may seem pointless to remove- but they shine and sparkle in the light and can ruin the look of an otherwise well-thought out display. A pair of needle nose pliers and a pair of wire cutters will be your best friends at this stage- pliers to pull out staples. Wire cutters for the ones that jam and snap, leaving sharp ends. Just snip them off as close to the wall as you can get.

You may think that you will remove the staples later in the year- don't kid yourself. You won't have time. Do it now and do it right, and create the right look from the word 'go'.

While you prep the walls, take a good look at what condition they are in. If they are paint splattered and tatty you may want to cover them with material. Otherwise, I recommend that you leave them blank (cheaper, faster, cheaper, easier) and just put up those borders that you can get from the teacher supply store. Otherwise, measure your display areas and round up your wallet, because you are ready for step two!

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