My Classroom

I wanted to create a classroom that was unique, inviting, and conducive to leadership development.  It is important to me that my students are not just audience members in my classrooms, but rather, active participants who take on leadership roles in our learning.  To achieve this, I designed a stage and large reading cubbies that I had built into my classroom.

The stage has revolutionized my instruction.  It has allowed me to elevate my teaching and provides me with a perfect view of all of my learners.   I am able to freely move around, walking down the runway or across stage, and connect with each of my students as I teach.  When the students take over the classroom and become the teacher during our “Teacher Time,” the students automatically demand the respect and attention of their audience because of their elevated position.  It also provides the opportunity for the students to present on a platform, preparing them for future public speaking activities where they will be the center of attention and need to be able to handle themselves with confidence.

The reading cubbies are one of the most beloved areas of the classroom.  Students can sit in the cubbies to read quietly or work with small groups.  This area provides comfort and easily offers an opportunity for students to practice independence as they escape into their own little space to explore and expand their knowledge.

White walls do little to inspire students.  When students feel proud of their classroom, they are more likely to want to be there and desire to learn.  Our classroom is the students’ home away from home and they spend many hours learning in this space.  I reached out to a talented street artist from Buffalo, Vincent Alejandro, and asked him to donate his time to create murals in my classroom.  He was so passionate about our class mission that he agreed to not only give of his time, but provide all of the supplies as well.  He painted 5 large murals on my wall to contribute to my travel themed room. 

After the school year started, my students researched the five locations that were displayed on the walls – The Great Wall of China, The Egyptian Pyramids, The Eiffel Tower and The Taj Mahal.  We invited Mr. Alejandro back to our classroom and the students presented their research reports to him.  This was my students’ first large public speaking project of the year. Additionally, Mr. Alejandro led an art history workshop for the whole 5th grade and completed a live painting of the Mars Rover in the science classroom.