And just like that, the school year is upon us yet again. This time of year often brings a heady mix of emotions. There is the trepidation. The anxiety. The slight melancholy at the passing of yet another summer so quickly. But of course, there is also the joyful anticipation, the fresh resolve, and the new hope. We enter our schools with armloads of new knowledge from our summer reading and writing and new energy from our just-as-important downtime.
We are so lucky in the profession to be gifted the tabula rasa of a new school year each and every year. Whether you will be meeting a new class or returning to a familiar group, you have the opportunity to start fresh. Nowhere is this fresh start quite so visible as in the classroom environment. In this blog series, we’ll give you tips and ideas to set up your classroom so that learning is optimized right from the start.
- Later today, I will write about ways to use your classroom environment to get strong partnerships going quickly.
- On Sunday, Betsy will teach us about classroom charts at the start of the year.
- On Monday, Dana will show us how to launch writer’s notebooks with just the right amount of fanfare.
- On Tuesday, Beth will help us think through setting up writing folders and introducing paper choices.
- On Wednesday, Stacey will share best practices for displaying student writing.
- On Thursday, Kathleen will discuss writing spaces around the room.
- On Friday, Deb will show us how to get the tech up and running.
- On Saturday, Tara will teach us how to set up for the middle school writing workshop.
- I’ll recap the week on Sunday.
We are quite excited about this blog series. We hope our posts will help you think about ways to optimize your classroom environment to support student independence, choice, and engagement.
We also hope you will join us on Monday evening, August 10th when we wrap up our series with a twitter chat about setting up classroom environments at the start of the year. The chat will begin at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Just search and tag #TWTBlog to participate.
Anna is a staff developer, literacy coach, and writer, based in New York City. She taught internationally in places such as Sydney, Australia; San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Auckland, New Zealand in addition to New York before becoming a staff developer for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University (TCRWP). She has been an adjunct instructor in the Literacy Specialist Program at Teachers College, and teaches at TCRWP where she helps participants bring strong literacy instruction into their classrooms. Anna recently co-wrote Bringing History to Life with Lucy Calkins, part of the 2013 series Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing (Heinemann). She has been a researcher for Lucy Calkins, contributing especially to Pathways to the Common Core (Heinemann, 2012) and Navigating Nonfiction (Heinemann, 2010).