The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

A New Addition to the Classroom

About a week ago, I ordered something special for my classroom. The expected delivery date was 10 business days, though, so I was hoping it would come by tomorrow, so I could have it ready before Spring Break. As it turned out, though, this special something arrived either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. (I’m not sure when, but it was in my room when I arrived yesterday.)

Rather than take it out of its packaging and get it set up before the students arrived, I decided to wait. I briefly considered doing it while the class was at Dance, but I had other pressing matters which took up my time. Instead, it sat in its packaging along the back of the room. Several students saw it and commented, but I insisted I had no idea what they were talking about. By the end of the day, many of them were giving me funny looks, as if to say, “Yup, it’s finally happened: Mr. Valencic has lost his mind.”

After all of the students left yesterday, and after our evening custodian had swept the floor, I pulled this special delivery out of its packaging, unrolled it, and got it situated in the back corner of my room. It fit perfectly.

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I have wanted a carpet for my classroom since I started working at Wiley almost two years ago. There are some pretty strict requirements for school carpets, though, which makes them difficult to buy. Not just any area rug from any store will do. After saving up and planning, I finally found the carpet I wanted. It is dark blue, which complements my classroom colour scheme fairly well, and measures nine feet wide by twelve feet long.

The students were very excited when they saw it this morning! In their journals, I had them write down the expectations we needed to establish as a class for using the carpet. Some of the suggestions that were made included:

  • No food or drink
  • No mud or dirty shoes
  • Use quiet voices
  • Pick up trash
  • Don’t pull at the carpet fibers
  • Use the carpet for reading, writing, and other work

I wanted the class to test drive the carpet, so to speak. In the morning, before a Risk Watch safety assembly, the students were given time to do independent, silent reading. When we read, I turn off some of the lights (but not all, since we do need light in order to read!) and played some soft classical music.

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Nearly everyone in the class wanted to try out the carpet! They were so excited to have a soft, warm surface to sit or lay on while reading! So much better than the cold, hard floor or the chairs at their desks that they spend so many hours every day in.

We’ve been working on building up our reading stamina in our room. The goal is forty-five minutes of sustained, independent reading. Today we read for 35 minutes before it was time for the assembly. I was very pleased! As I wrote yesterday, we are a classroom of readers. Now it is easier to show that to everyone who walks in and sees it!

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