Behind the classroom door

Given the amount of time I’ve spent talking about all my classroom projects lately, I thought some of you might enjoy a quick peek at my handiwork. Apologies in advance for the image quality; I shot these with my cell phone because I keep forgetting to bring the Rebel to school.


First look into Ms. Priddy’s class. (Oh, dear … what have we gotten ourselves into?)


A glance at my desk. See the bouquet? Those are actually pens, tricked out with silk flowers and nylon butterflies to discourage inadvertent theft — an idea I swiped from our main office. The file cabinet to the left of the desk desperately needs to be sanded and repainted, but I don’t have the time or inclination to mess with it right now, so I’m just covering it with bumper stickers in honor of our road theme. Most of my stickers will be from places along Route 66, but I couldn’t resist including the “HOWL if you love City Lights Books” sticker. We’ll just let that one represent Sal Paradise….


Zaphod was very big on posting our daily objectives. I’m going him one better this year by drawing attention to them with these Route 66 party lights I picked up at the museum in Clinton. In keeping with our theme, I’m calling the PASS objectives our “road map” and the behavioral objectives — written in kid-friendly language — our “trip itinerary.” If the kids will look at the objectives when they come in, they’ll know exactly where we’re going and how we plan to get there each day.


It’s hard to tell from the low-res cell phone picture, but these used-car-lot-style pennants have literary terms and their definitions written on them. These serve a dual purpose: They’re a way for the kids to learn something while staring off into space (not that any of my kids would do that, of course), and they’re a reference point for lessons — when we’re discussing a particular term, I can say, “OK … somebody find the word ‘assonance’ on the flags and tell us what it means.” Some appear to be backwards because the pennants are translucent. I just wrote on one side of each pennant and alternated between front and back to make them accessible and easy to read from anywhere in the room.


Two posters about writing and a map of Route 66, all laminated and taped to the whiteboard .


Here’s how the classroom looks from the back of the room. The letters across that top bulletin board spell out the address for the class Web site. I want to get some wrapping paper or something a little more attractive to cover the board. The writing on the right-hand side of the board says “START YOUR ENGINES,” with the first activity for the day written below.


Here’s the view from where I sit. I’m still finishing up bulletin boards, but I think the room is starting to take shape pretty nicely.


Last but not least: This is a map I made for the kids to chart their grades. It’s kind of a parody of the old postcard that says “Here We Are on Route 66.” Instead of points, we are counting miles (1 mile = 1 point), with 2,448 miles available for the semester. The kids will keep the map in their portfolio, where they will use it to track their progress.

Hope you’re as excited about the new school year as I am.