Do you ever have those moments when you take a second to stop and scan your classroom and you think,” Oofta! This place is a disaster!” If you haven’t…. Please tell me your secret to keeping seven year olds tidy! But if you’re like me, this scene is more of a daily occurrence. :)
From the very beginning of my career I have always believed that if the kids are the ones doing the work, they are the ones learning. Now, I will tell you, that way of thinking does not always lend itself to Pinterest worthy bulletin boards and Facebook posts. I started teaching in kindergarten...need I say more? But what it does leave you with is a classroom full of students proud of their work, students who are 100 times more sure of their work's purpose and students who are gaining more understanding of the learning.
Just last week, my classroom, to one passing by, may have looked like a scene of utter chaos. But to me and my students, we were in the learning zone! Paper scapes were everywhere. Glue and popsicle sticks and construction paper scattered the floor. Students' discussion filled the room (along with a little music..because why not?). It was a messy, loud, beautiful sight. I overhear a table of students talking. One student said, “Look at this mess! We have stuff everywhere.” The other student turned and said, “That’s okay! We are getting a little messy, but we are learning and having fun! Right, Mrs. Rigsby!?” Music to my ears!
If you are wanting Pinterest worthy, I can understand that. There is a lot of pressure and eyes on us as educators that make us feel we need to live up to certain expectations. But I would encourage you to examine the ‘Why” of you needing that picture perfect project. Is the student at the center of that project and the learning?
So, will my classroom look like a tornado went through it on a daily basis… probably. But there is beauty in that mess. You just might have to dig down past all the construction paper and glue to see it. :)
Megan and Kara are educational leaders, professional development experts, and current classroom teachers who are improving the way instruction is being delivered in the standard classroom.