Back to school: Jessica Shumway

September 5th, 2012

We close our back to school series with thoughts from Jessica Shumway (Number Sense Routines). We hope that you had a chance to ease back into your classroom and into the community of your school by now and that your teaching year will hold many triumphs, special moments, and real learning and exploration with your students. Today is your last day to leave a comment to be entered to win a free Stenhouse book. Happy teaching!

Jessica Shumway

One of my favorite beginning-of-the-year rituals is arranging classroom furniture, spaces, and materials (both before students arrive on the first day as well as along with students as we begin to inhabit the space together). On the surface, this sounds like a typical, mindless endeavor that has to be done. However, as any teacher knows, the arrangement of classroom furniture, spaces, and materials reflects the teacher’s and students’ vision for the school year.

Although I know that the room will change and transform with our collective vision, there’s something exciting about dusting off the writing table, getting the books out in a visible place waiting to be organized by curious students, “hiding” math tools that will be explored through guided discovery, and making the space a welcoming place for students as they enter their new classroom. The process of arranging the furniture, spaces, and materials brings together my summer reflections on my new hopes and dreams for the coming school year. It guides me to reflect on my beliefs about teaching and learning and how to implement my yearly-revised vision.

(Practical note: In the last few years, I reread my favorite excerpts from Debbie Miller’s book Teaching with Intention for inspiration during this process!)

Entry Filed under: Leadership & Mentoring

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mrs. V  |  September 5th, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Yes, this is also one of my favorite aspect of the new school year – both getting my room ready and seeing all of the blog posts with others talking about setting up their physical space. I don’t have Debbie Miller’s Teaching with Intention, but I like Debbie Diller’s Spaces and Places.

  • 2. Tracy  |  September 9th, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    I had to chuckle that organizing the space is a favorite; it is one of the things I stress most about! I’m continually in awe of those who just set up “right” on their first try. Mine is a constant work-in-progress. Another great read for set-up is “Classroom Spaces That Work” published by the Responsive Classroom folks.

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