Teacher Feature: First Grade Blue SKies ~and a Freebie!~

Hello there!  I am Jennifer, from First Grade Blue SKies!
I was thinking the other day about how cluttered my classroom seems to be, wishing I had more space and realizing that even if I did, I would probably fill it with stuff.  During this minor crisis, I realized as I looked around my room, that my "clutter" serves a purpose (well, most of it =).  
When you look around my room, the first thing you notice (other than the polka dots everywhere) is the written word. It is everywhere.  I have charts, posters, letters, names, poems, chants, all of which are coming down, going up, being added to, etc.  It is an ever-evolving place where the needs of my class are addressed along with the things I want them to focus on for the coming weeks or days.  
Personally, I think your classroom reflects you as a teacher.  And what works for you, works for who?  YOU, of course!  You shouldn't try and create an environment where you don't feel comfortable and at home.  I have read other teachers write about not liking clutter, or not wanting to have too much on the walls--I get it.  But that is what works for them.  What works for me? Lots of print, lots of materials and opportunities for kids to read and know that words carry meaning.

Whenever we are writing, and someone asks how to spell something, someone else is always ready to point out, "remember, you see that word over there!"  And it isn't just like it is on a word wall (sometimes it is) but most of the time it is somewhere in the room, where the word is being used in context.  

Of course, I am not claiming all of these things in my room are my own ideas or creations--some are, some aren't--what I am showing you is how what some may call "clutter,"
I call a "print-rich learning environment"!

I love my stations; not too long after the beginning of the year they run themselves (most of the time) and there is very little that is changed out each week. I may add to or change things here and there, but there is enough to keep my students more than busy. They keep any work they complete in their station folder and my station groups are made up of very selectively picked groups where I know the kids will not only work well together, but are also with people that will fit well as leaders and folks who need a leader. =)

Naturally, there are a ton more things in my stations than I was able to photograph or describe.  What I hope you take from this is that there is a lot of research out there that shows a print rich environment can be beneficial for young learners, and if it works for you, then perhaps you can take some of these ideas I have shared and make them your own!
(print-rich research articles: Early Childhood News, SchoolBox, K8Access Center)

I would like to thank you for making it to the bottom of this lengthy post and also to thank
the fabulous folks at TBA for allowing me to share!
Here is a little labeling freebie, in case you missed it before, just click here or on the picture =)

Don't forget to stop by my blog and follow me!

Have a great Sunday!!

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