The new school year is definitely in full swing. Your classroom is set up, your spreadsheets and grade books are updated and calendars are synced and ready to go.
Even if you are a few weeks (or a month) into the school year, I'd like to propose a small change to your room that will impact how students feel (and if we're being honest how you feel as well). It's no secret that I love making my classroom as calming, colorful, and creative as possible. I think creating a space that students feel safe in but also inspired is one of the most important preparations I make for the year ahead.
This year I added a piece of decor that I believe sends a bigger message about the type of teacher I am and classroom I run than any syllabus could have. I added a welcome mat next to my door. It's simple and was inexpensive. In the larger picture it's not that big of a deal. However, I really love the idea that each day as students cross the threshold from the hallway to the classroom, the first greeting they have is a "welcome."
The first day of school many students commented on it, it was something different. While the novelty is wearing off, the message is not. My students are welcome in my classroom. We place welcome mats outside of our homes. I want students to feel at home in class.
In a way it has also changed how I view my class. When I walk in the door each day and tread over the mat, it reminds me that this room is a happy place, a welcoming space.
Consider adding a welcome mat, you'll be surprised at the difference it makes!