For the last week, I've been at a 5 day EL conference. Yes, I said 5 days! I was by myself, so I had a lot of the think time. Anyway, the presenter talked about some great things, and I'm going to share some of those as time goes on. The one I want to start with today made me think about my classroom themes. Obviously, with EL students, we want to make sure we are culturally responsive and think about the things we do and say that reflect these cultures.
The presenter talked about an ENL teacher that had a Colts theme. She said it was beautiful! Blue and white, coordinating name tags on desks, a behavior plan that was centered around it, stationary for newsletters, word wall letters that reflected a football theme, etc. Everything we dream of when thinking about creating an environment that is cohesive and "matchy matchy". However, all of her students are spanish speaking students. What sport would they really relate to? Football? Or futbol?
So I thought back about my own themes. Who created them? I did. Who thought of the colors? I did. Who decorated everything? I did.
Who is the room for? The students.
It's a lot easier for me to think about this since I'm not setting up a room this year, but if I were, I might have to rethink some things. I had started creating a Pinterest board on a Pirate theme, had purchased some clearance items in April, and had already designed my postcard to introduce students to the room. However, what type of environment would my students really relate to? What would they want? As I rethink this, I might have a fairly dull and boring room to begin with and let the students do the creation of the theme. Yes, I would want to assist and make things neat, but shouldn't they own the room?
Food for thought: As you all are setting up your rooms in the coming weeks are you going to go with football or futbol? Are you going to let your students take ownership? Is your theme culturally responsive?
That's all for now!