I teach middle school science at a Title I school in an urban district. My 6th, 7th and 8th graders come from various backgrounds and have various home situations. I am lucky enough to teach the entire middle school and can confidently say that my students have created a warm and welcoming community all of their own.
My 8th graders can often be found mentoring the younger students in our school, 7th is boisterous and bright, and my 6th graders are always looking for a way to help someone.
You often see in middle and high school classrooms a movement away from bold decorations. Rooms are more sparsely decorated, sterile even. It has always been important to me that my classroom feel like home to my students- we spend many hours together in this shared space, we should all be able to enjoy it.
Part of the home-like feeling comes from organization.
A cohesive color based theme will help my students organize their materials at a glance. From notebooks (to help prevent lost hours of hard work) to completed assignments to lab materials. Students will know by color which materials are theirs and where others go.
Since I teach the entire middle school, I currently print about 130 copies of each page I need students to complete- even if it’s a quick exit ticket or a reference/worksheet they don’t need to hold on to past the class period. The dry-erase pockets will enable me to print over 100 pages less for many simple activities because I can reuse a class set multiple times. That’s countless reams of paper saved over time!
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