Friday, March 16, 2012

Lighting the Way

The view from outside my portable at 6:30 am.  The windows are full of
figurative language flowers created by my students.  Instead of a word wall,
we have a windows full of words, which I actually have caught them using.
Thank you Kira for showing me how to do this!

I love eavesdropping on teens, especially when they don't think I am listening!  Granted this listening goes with the territory in my field, but I even do a little eavesdropping when they aren't in my class.  With spring forward this week, my portable literally illuminates the sidewalk. Every student who walks to school goes by my classroom and every teacher who parks in the back walks by this bay of windows. I had an opportunity to overhear three girls complementing the windows saying, "That looks like a fun class."  "I wish my classroom looked like that."  I hope all teachers make a classroom inviting for their students.

For the past seven years I have kept the blinds down in this portable. Now the first thing that I do in the morning is turn on the lights and open the blinds.  Initially I kept them closed to keep the sun from hitting us the wrong way and also to keep my students from being distracted.  Besides if I kept my blinds open all the time while I was teaching, what would people see?

Two weeks ago after reading an article about sleep and light, we (my students and I) decided that we should keep our blinds open each day to make sure we are getting enough "blue light."  I love the results.  Students seem awake and I admit sometimes we people watch. The same people come late to school during first period each day.  We wonder, what's their story?  People stop admire and smile at our window.  My students are proud of their work and they get to see the immediate joy it brings others.  I'm glad we made it visible.

I have decided that people should see the inside of my classroom. In this time of high-stakes testing, we need to render our work as visible as possible.  Let people peek into the windows and watch how we inspire students every day, by letting in the light.


  1. I am so glad you wrote this, and even more glad I read it. I am also a believer in opening the blinds first thing. It makes me a little crazy when classrooms windows remain closed by blinds all day every day.
    Thanks for writing this!

  2. I love your windows and having them open to the world. Let them see what you are teaching. Absolutely!

  3. Happy windows! That's what they are. Some of my happiest teaching years were in a portable, which we brazenly called a trailer. I love how you move from the "blue light" to the transparency of real teaching.

  4. This is such a great story to share. I'm so glad you open up the day to your students, to your classroom - and thanks for shining the light on your point of view for us.


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