In preparation for the new school year, teachers are starting to plan and prepare their classrooms for another great year. For many educators that means purchasing supplies, decorations, and furniture. I believe a classroom should be inviting and a place where students feel comfortable and at ease. If every inch of the classroom is covered in something it can feel overwhelming and a bit obnoxious. I’m not saying have your classroom be bare and look like a hospital room. However, I think you have to find some middle ground for setting up your classroom. Students enjoy looking around the room. A bare room is going to feel cold, sad, and bland. A vibrant and over the top classroom is going to seem overwhelming, cluttered, and anxiety producing. Again I’m not saying it has to be extreme, but there is moderation that can be inviting, creative and inclusive to students.
While we’re on the topic of overstimulating, let’s discuss the neon/highlighter color paper. I think this paper is great for sending messages you want parents to see, and used in moderation. I think the neon paper is getting to be a bit overwhelming. My vision is -7 and after I stare at neon paper for a while I become frustrated and sometimes get headaches. I’m not saying this paper should never be used, but I think it needs to be used less. There are alternatives that can be used that stand out and are not overstimulating. Colored paper like pastels and lighter shades are able to stand out, are aesthetically pleasing and not as overwhelming. This may not seem like a big issue but as teachers we constantly have to be reflective on our practice.
From recent trips to various craft stores I noticed over the past few years a distinct font used in classrooms and decorations. Letters are overextended and disproportional. Oftentimes I’m squinting trying to depict and read what it says. I understand teachers want fun things and sometimes cute objects for their classroom. I just can’t help but wonder if I’m struggling depicting these letters, then how will students try to read it? This style of font is often used for products on TPT and if used in class I can’t help but think it's going to be challenging for students to read. I’m not saying teachers should only use Times New Roman, or write perfectly for their anchor charts. Again, I think there is some middle ground that can be found. There are fonts that are easy to read and still creative. I think as teachers we have to ask ourselves certain questions when preparing our lessons and classroom. I hope these questions help us reflect on our practice to have a great year that is inclusive for all students.
Questions to ask yourself:
-How will this product enhance my lesson?
-Is this for my students or for myself?
-Can students tell what this says without difficulty?
-Will students feel comfortable or overwhelmed?
-Is this inclusive to all students in my class?