The calendar says spring, and even though our own weather doesn't reflect it, we are getting the spring-cleaning itch and long to have a beautiful classroom space. We have lived with our current layout for eight months, and we know what is working and what is not. In addition, we (our students included) are simply ready for a fresh look. Where do we begin? A fresh look begins with the green test.
- Bring in a few green, almost impossible to kill (but not poisonous) plants. Or if you are like us, a few beautiful silk plants will work wonderfully! Place them on tables in the classroom, your desk, a file cabinet, or cabinet top.
- Step back. Do you notice the plants and the simple beauty they bring to the room, or are they eclipsed by all the other stuff? If you have a difficult time noticing the plants, we suggest you begin your classroom spring cleaning by "ousting." Ousting is the act of getting rid of things you no longer need or have a use for, or that have lost their aesthetic value. Ousting can be the hardest part of beautifying your classroom, but it is the most critical. All rooms look more organized, more functional, and more beautiful with a few perfectly fitting items rather than many ill-fitting ones.
How to Oust.
Think critically about each item in your room. Start in one corner and actually touch each item up for consideration. Use the following questions to determine what stays, what goes, and what should be given away.
- When is the last time we used this?
- Realistically, will we use the item again?
- What value does it bring to the class?
- Could someone else get more use from it than we are?
- If it is in a cupboard or in a box, will I dig through the box to get this item or will I even remember that I have it?
- Is it in good enough shape to keep?
- Is this item worth the valuable space it takes up?
- Does this item enhance the look of our room?
Starting with one corner or one counter and strategically moving around your room is the first step to transforming your classroom into the beautiful space you and your students deserve to spend every day in. Then the process of redesigning can begin. Let the spring cleaning begin.