Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Something New is Brewing

This summer I helped my friend Stephanie set up for the first day of kindergarten registration.  In three hours, we used glitter, a hot glue gun, a paper cutter, a rainbow of construction paper, labels, twirly straws, ribbon, and stickers.  Since my decorating skills are limited to affixing posters to walls with magnets, my awe of the artistic work that she does to make kindergarten special bubbled over. Phew!  I thought. I'm glad eighth-grade teachers don't do this stuff. 

Enter my friend Crys. The best way I can describe her would be Einstein meets Macgyver Meets Nordstrom. She is a genius who can solve nearly any problem, and she does so with style and aplomb. In July, she decided to have a Harry Potter-themed classroom. It's so magical. So darling.And she teaches 7th gradeHmmm. I thought. That's middle school. Do I *gasp* need a theme?

This thought caused some anxiety because I have been teaching for over twenty years, and I have never have had a theme.  My Illinois certificate reads grades 6-12, which I believe - in fact - makes me professionally unqualified to hang construction paper on a bulletin board.  If you have ever visited my classroom and had been forced to guess a potential theme, the closest correct guess would be something along the lines of "Book Hoaders Anonymous." Nevertheless, I decided to get my decorating game on for the Class of 2017.

Thanks to some binging on Pinterest (and help from the aforementioned superwoman Crys), my classroom theme is a coffeehouse.  And by coffeehouse -- I mean sort-of-a-coffeehouse.  As in, there's no actual coffee nor a hipster barista brewing up a delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte for me.  However, attempts have been made.  There's an awning outside my window and some nearly-matching curtains have been hung (with magnets) (and tied back with binder clips).  I have a cute chalkboard easel and a ginormous butcher- paper coffee cup exploding with books on my wall.  To be clear: my 10-year old painfully- honest daughter gave it a mediocre review.

However, the best component of my theme is definitely not the decorations - nor my caffeine addiction.  My favorite part of this theme is that I absolutely adore goofy wordplay, as in:

We read a latte!  
Expresso yourself!
Try these grande authors!  
The Daily Grind
Have a "Brew"-tiful Day!

Furthermore, as it turns out, I'm a little late to the educational coffeehouse party. Some educators have even started a movement called #starbucksmyroom. Fortunately, I have long been a proponent of choice and comfort, and so this coffeehouse philosophy and my new attempt at style easily converged. Without intention, my theme became educationally ground(s)breaking.

My students have been challenged to name our cafe of reading and writing. Right now, it is "Starbooks Cafe" but I expect they can come up with something more clever.

Hope you will stop by Room 205 for a cuppa minutes and enjoy the new decor! oxo

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