At the time of this blog entry, there are about thirty-two days until the next school year begins for me. Teachers take a great deal of time to prepare our rooms/environments for learning. I make my classroom feel like home since I spend so many hours there. I keep a microwave, mini refrigerator, and rocking chair in my room and use them fairly often. Here are a few items you may deem necessary for your classroom.
1. Lamp – this softens the lighting at my workstation and desk and is a design of my own choosing. I use the environmentally-friendly bulbs as requested. I call them the “twisty-wait-until-Gabriel-blows-his-horn-to-light” bulbs when I feel impatient. I turn them off when I’m out of the room for a long period of time. The kids seem to like the ambiance.
2. Rocking chair – this is used during reading time with my students during class since I am a language arts teacher; no one but admins and fellow teachers are allowed to sit in the chair since it is of sentimental value to me. Mama stained it for me to use with my son as an infant; he is now fourteen and entering high school this fall. I placed a burgundy cushion in the seat that matches my Texas A&M University decor.
3. Stuffed animals/bric-a-brac – this lends my room a homey air, and I love seeing my different pieces. It helps me connect with kids since I have a giant dog named Fido, a bouquet of artificial flowers, a replica of a Spanish mission, a baseball, a guitar I don’t play, a rather startling scarecrow who adorns my bookshelf, and some pompoms among other things.
4. Microwave/refrigerator/coffee maker – this keeps me fed with a hot lunch during my break, hydrated with cold water or soda, and human in that order of appliance. My first class of the day knows not to approach if the coffee mug is full. They must wait until I have at least sipped some of the elixir of life in order to avoid Mama Grizzly’s untimely appearance.
5. Windbreaker/light jacket – this keeps me from freezing when the air conditioning is too efficient and I am wearing a short-sleeved or sleeveless dress that day.
6. Houseshoes – these keep my feet warm and comfortable after school when I finally sit down to rest and grade papers or help a student with homework. I keep a pair of inexpensive flipflops in the warmer season and a pair of fuzzy slippers in the cooler season.
7. CDs of your favorite music – these help me to energize after school when I am hanging up student work or am cleaning up my whiteboards. I play classical music from composers like Bach, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, etc. for the students during writing time as a reward. I tell them that I own the radio station in my room, and it plays whatever I want to hear that day. One of my all-time favorite pieces is “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin. I am a huge U2 fan, but that is for my commute or on my own time.
I am pretty sure that I will add more items as I go along, and yes, you will hear more about Mama Grizzly one day. Take care, and God bless!