Well, it's that time again. Time for all of those shiny new things we bring into our classrooms each August. Time to make our spaces look clean and crisp for the first day of school. Every bulletin board will be full of student names on apples and welcome messages. The bookshelves will be organized perfectly, our materials in order, desk tags with all kinds of colorful bit of information will be put in place. It will be perfect. But...perfect for who? You or them?
I propose you try something new thing year. something that might make you a little uncomfortable. Leave your bulletin boards at the ready, but empty of decoration besides a background and border. Give your students sentence strip pieces with their names written on them and let your kiddos decorate them on the first day. Ask them about the kinds of things they'd like to see in the room and do what you can. Have them bring a favorite t-shirt, share them, and then hang them up. In other words, make it their room. Not only will it save you time and money, it will also be a big step towards building a classroom where students are invested and involved.