Common Core Standards and Anchor Charts
by Melanie Ralbusky, Monthly Columnist
Hello, to all of my sweet friends! This is Melanie from Schoolgirl Style. This month, I’ve been asked to blog about Common Core. Although I know quite a bit about Common Core from being a classroom teacher, my blog is about DECORATING! But, believe it or not, Common Core and classroom decorating DO go hand in hand!
I’ve had a ton of people email me and ask how I display anchor charts and tie curriculum into my beautiful classroom designs. From your end, I am sure that some of you are wondering if I only think about form rather than function. Well, you will probably be surprised to find out that I actually do think about function when creating a space for children!
When I stage classrooms in my home, these are for inspiration purposes only, so you aren’t really seeing the spaces that I reserved for the curriculum! When I decorate a “real” classroom, I take a lot of care to ensure that I’ve allowed space to display student work and also take into consideration how children learn.
We all know that a classroom should be filled with children’s work, as well as anchor charts that you’ve created with your students. The environment should be print-rich and display evidence of student learning.
If you take a look at my classroom from last year, you will notice that I purposely left my bulletin boards open for this reason. I also hung decorative frames on the plain cinderblock walls to display student work as opposed to leaving it empty. In addition, I hung two clotheslines in my classroom to hang my children’s masterpieces – this allows for quick changes of displayed work from month to month. Lastly, I had several large spaces outside of my classroom that I used to show off my student’s writing and themed projects for the entire school to see!
As for anchor charts, my classroom didn’t lend itself to large open spaces at the children’s eye level to display. This was quite a problem since we had a ton of anchor charts that we needed to review regularly. I had to be a little inventive when it came to displaying these. I came up with the idea to attach them with clothes hangers (the kind that had a clip on each end) and hang them from a portable metal clothes rack. This allowed me to find them quickly and the children could also have easy access to them as well. I have also been known to hang them from my bookcases when it was a necessity to review over and over for a period of time.
I like to think of my decorating/theme as the backdrop of the classroom – almost like the first layer. After school starts, the room belongs to my students. It should be filled with work, projects, and evidence of student learning. This is where you begin to layer the room with curriculum! The decorating and color combinations should take a backseat to what the children are learning. I don’t worry that my Halloween or Christmas decorations don’t really match my décor! The room should look FUN, child friendly, and that you are teaching!
About the Author
Melanie is currently the owner/designer behind the classroom decorating blog, Schoolgirl Style. She stages classroom themes, while also creating stylish printable classroom decor to coordinate with her designs. Melanie is currently partnering with Creative Teaching Press to bring creative tips, ideas, and projects for teaching and learning into classrooms around the world.