Open House, Classroom Set Up, and Miscellaneous

Well, one more Open House has come and gone! Catholic Schools Week is always a really fun, but really busy (and slightly stressful) time of the year. The week leading up to Open House (which is always on a Sunday morning) is all about beautifying your classroom and hiding the piles of clutter that inevitably make their way onto your desk.  Everything needs to be clean, neat, and beautiful for that three-hour window of time that students and parents, as well as prospective students and parents come waltzing through the door. 

If you teach at a public school, the purpose of Open House is to showcase to the parents everything the students have been learning and creating.  However, at a Catholic school, Open House is actually for marketing to prospective parents. While it's true that the majority of my students come with their parents to show them around our classroom, I actually spend more time talking with and answering questions from parents who are considering enrolling their child in my first grade class next year. 

I found these adorable bunting flag banners in the Dollar Spot section of Target!  At $3 apiece, they were "expensive" for the dollar section (it feels like all the good stuff for teachers is three dollars now instead of one dollar), but how cute do they look hanging from my ugly window blinds?!  Totally worth the purchase.  Well done, Target.  

All the students have their writing journals and math journals on top of their desk to show their parents when they come to visit.  I have students do the majority of their writing and the majority of their math in their respective journals.  (While the downside of frequently using journals is that there is less work to send home each week to parents, the plus side is that at the end of the year, students have a great compilation of their best work, and a record of their learning progression from the beginning of the year to the end.) 

When I first moved into this classroom three years ago, I felt panicky that there was so much bulletin board space (at least twice as much bulletin board as my last classroom).  But the longer I'm here, the more I feel the opposite: I don't have enough bulletin board space!  I use so much of the bulletin board for interactive learning (such as our weather/calendar/days of school components, CAFE reading strategies, and anchor charts), there's little room left over for students' work!  I may need to start hanging student work from the ceiling.  The ceilings are extremely high in my classroom, so I'd need to track down a huge ladder to help me reach.  (Speaking of which, does anyone have any great strategies for hanging things from the ceiling?)

So that's my classroom, folks!  Overflowing with (useful!) clutter, but at least I know where everything is!  Unless I'm looking for where I set my Starbucks down.  Or my iPad.  That's when I recruit my sharp-eyed students to help me. :)