In Medias Res:
Last year, I covered a whole wall in salmon roll paper. And then I took white roll paper and crumpled it up as a trim. It was cute for approximately 9 days. (And then someone told me it looked like toilet paper).
It just didn’t feel right.
As I look to this new year and a whole new class (World Literature), I thought I would spice it up (literally, my students should be introduced to both Mexican food and Asian fusion, maybe even sushi). Which is why I was compiling pictures from Instagram’s around the world at 2 am. I scrolled through @humansofny and their current 10-country trip through most of the Middle East and parts of THE CONTINENT of Africa. There are so many people, ya’ll. There are “humans of” in a lot of countries, cities, and places of interest. I found quotes from people that mapped worlds in their ideas. With world literature on the horizon, a grade level up, and a first-time EOC (not a common exam), I needed a way to immediately introduce the world to my students. And that’s what this classroom is. It’s the world into focus:
Party in the front AND the back.
The class motto this year is, “A tiger does not lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.” My students are always worried about the haters, but in this class, AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. The only plant I’ve ever been able to grow indoors is on that desk. As you can see, she’s Rapunzeling. Her name is Laverne. Shirley is the cactus with the flower bow in her hair.
Guys…I made these bulletin boards with dollar tablecloths from Walmart and Duct tape. Because no one ever said you had to spend a million dollars to make your classroom cute. Use what you have, and believe it can be pretty.
On my desk, I keep an assortment of unwashed mugs, dried out dry erase markers, a math standards lesson manual (because I like the way she puts emphasis on standards), a recommendation mug from my coworker, a hand-colored mug from said coworker’s child, and there are probably at least four dried-yogurt-remnant spoons in my desk that I still need to bring home. Pictures of my parents are on my filing cabinet, not taped to my desk folder holder.
Because I get really overwhelmed, really quickly, I only jot things down by the week. If I do anything more than that I will be the train, the tracks, and the person trying to be smashed at the station.
My favorite thing about my classroom update is my HUMANS OF THE WORLD WALL. I stole this idea straight from @humansony and found pictures of real people from all over the world and real things that they said. I want my students to know that other people are struggling, or other people are shining and just because you’re in a place, doesn’t mean you have to be that place.
My mom made the HUMANS OF THE WORLD wall. She’s quite blurry, but my Mom has told me from diapers that the most important thing a person can carry is kindness.
A bit of a detailed look at the mapping and the taping, and the pinning.
Anne Frank made the wall along with a few other famous people, Mark Twain, Aung San Suu Kyi, Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Marley, and Nelson Mandela. I still need a few people from South America if anyone can point me in the direction of a wonderful story/quote/phrase and the person behind that profoundness.
This used to be the poetry corner, until it became the corner where my students stuck all their notes to me. And what can I say, I love them and I love the love. It also has a great poem by Dorianne Laux called “Savages.” I got that chair at Habitat for Humanity and it has always been a winner, winner, chicken dinner in my classroom.
I hoard all the tissue paper quotes that I could possibly find. This one says, “Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.” Alice Walker said that because she’s a child of hard work. The map next to the tissue paper poster is the literary map of North Carolina.
That is my classroom this year. I hope it breeds an understanding of the world, and in it breathes children who try to understand and try to cultivate a personhood where they don’t look down on other people for their cultures, their belongings, or their patch of land. I know, officially, that I will be reading The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (YES YES YES) and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Send good vibes our way.