September means a new leaf and a fresh start. How lucky am I to be a teacher, and get that fresh start every fall? I also appreciate the opportunity of having time over the summer to reflect and research the pieces I choose to reinvent for the school year ahead.
Moving into a new space over the summer has been my impetus to thinking carefully about classroom design. I want to ensure that the physical arrangement of the room will allow for flexibility and choice. I want it to be inviting, and have that Starbucks vibe – art on the walls, comfortable seating, cozy lighting, relaxed atmosphere…
I knew I wanted to create a gallery to display student work, and was intrigued by a tweet I saw earlier this summer.
— Michelle Hiebert (@MauiMickey) June 29, 2013
I thought I could recreate the same effect, and was excited to stumble upon wooden frames on clearance at Michael’s (At $1-$2 even cheaper than the white mats!)
Our school has been faced with rapidly rising enrolments over the past few years which means that all available space in the school is used for learning, and room for storage is at a premium. How could I create that Starbucks atmosphere with tons of plastic containers and supplies in the corner? Then I realized that I could set up my gallery to not only provide an eye catching display, but also camouflage the space for those teaching supplies. Hanging curtains in front of my numerous containers made a colourful backdrop for the frames.
I can’t wait to fill the frames with student art. I know that our projects for Dot Day are going to look amazing displayed here!
Now when visitors walk into the room, the gallery is the first thing they notice. They want to know how it’s been constructed, and move in for a closer look. It’s only as they come right up close that they realize there are the bins behind. And then they have to look behind the curtain to see that pile of stuff. Surprise!
So many things depend on where we stand. I can choose to stand at the edge and focus on that sometimes overwhelming pile of stuff, or I can shift my viewpoint slightly and see instead how all that space can provide a blank canvas of opportunity. Even as I took the pictures for this post, each change in my position revealed an interesting fresh perspective.
So as this new year begins, when confronted with those big problems I need to remember to stop and think. If I shift my viewpoint, can I find the opportunities in the situation? If I look hard enough, hopefully I will find that there is beauty staring me in the face.