Rebecca Vyduna's Portfolio | |

An elementary classroom should be colorful and inviting. The learning environment I create is deliberate and the classroom layout carefully planned.

On the last week of school, we dramatically turn our classroom into "Camp Learned-A-Lot" and the great outdoors. Students brought in sleeping bags, we built a faux-fire and read ghost stories inside the tent.
Before the first day of school, I deliberately leave parts of the room undecorated. We spend the first few weeks building community and deciding as a class how we will "enhance" parts of our room. Here, students are decorating a large piece of fabric which will be used to create a quiet reading nook.
At the beginning of each theme, I try in some way to "transform" the classroom. The new changes pique the students' interest. In this example, I have converted a table into a "bus" for a theme on transportation. I placed a basket with relevant books to read inside it.
Many themes include one or more learning centers with items to touch and explore. This was the science learning center for Transportation. Students examined the different types of wheels and balls and added drawings of their own.
When students are working on a project that we plan to display inside or outside the classroom, I use it as an opportunity to practice good "editing" skills. Encouraging students to create their "best work" helps them understand how their writing and drawing is viewed by others.
Children are very much a part of classroom appearance and displays. When hanging work both inside and out, students are involved in the process. In this picture, the class decided together on an appropriate title (100 Things That Roll) for the display and divided the tasks amongst themselves.
An important element in my classroom is the theme board. It begins as a means of introducing the new theme and then later becomes a collaborative and artistic representation of what we are learning. In this picture, the students illustrate their "Dream Moving Machine" for a theme entitled "Let's Go."
On this theme board, we are giving meaning to the word "explore." Through classroom discussion, children decided to bring in pictures of other countries that they or their families have visited. We shared the pictures during circle time and decided how to label them.
As much as possible, I strive for open spaces with defined areas. Different centers are separate from main teaching space, but are not closed off from view of the teacher. This large carpeted area worked well for class meetings, music & movement, and circle time.g
This "Learning" tree shown here is a constant in my classroom throughout the year. When students are particularly interested in a topic or have a burning question in an area not related to our theme, they write it on an apple of "leaf" so that we may revisit it.