Classroom Beautiful - Daniel Hutton
First Grade Teacher, Takoma Park Elementary School, Takoma Park, Maryland
For the first couple of years, you have to collect, collect, collect. It’s like a house: The first year you own it, it doesn’t look like the seventh. With color printers, the Internet, and digital cameras, you can do a lot.
For your classroom library, go to book sales. Your collection will keep getting better till finally you have to give away books to make room.
I float. I have a desk, near the door, but I never sit at it.
I can see 95 percent of my kids all the time, in case I need to intervene. I don’t want any nooks and crannies—no hiding places.
My philosophy on materials is, don’t waste time passing stuff out. The tables get their own materials. The first couple of months, it’s not that smooth, but it gives them more independence, and it teaches them a lesson that‘s not in the curriculum.
The same with manipulatives: The kids know where go to get them.
Everything they need is low where they can reach it.
I want the first impression of my room to be brightness, colorfulness, open space so they don’t feel cluttered. I want it to look interesting.