“This room is under construction because it will be ‘home’ for all of us this school year. It is important that the children help me decorate it with their artwork and personalities. Please come visit us in a week and see what we have created!”
Clare Ashford has a great idea to take “under construction” one step further.
“Before Meet the Teacher night (before school starts), I wrap all my bookcases, computers, etc. in butcher paper and then put an ‘under construction’ sign on them. It serves 2 purposes. 1- that way kids don't get into things while I'm busy talking to people! and 2- we ‘unwrap’ the items together as a class when we're ready to use whatever it is. It is very helpful and makes for an organized start to the year!”
How about some crafts your students can make to decorate the room?
Welcome to the Neighborhood
Make a house from construction paper for each child. Fold the paper in half vertically. Open. Fold in the top corners to the middle. Fold up the bottom. Let children write their name on the front of the house. They can open the house and draw their family. You could also ask child to bring in a photograph of their family. Add some trees and a school and you have a great bulletin board.Class Quilt
Use group art to create a visual representation of the “community” in your classroom. Give each child a 9” square and have them decorate it with pictures of themselves, drawings of their families or favorite things, collage materials, etc. Punch holes in the corner of each square and tie together with yarn to make a quilt to display in the classroom or hallway.
Give each child a strip of construction paper to decorate with their name, symbols of favorite things, or designs. Staple the strips together to make a chain. Remind the children that your classroom is just like that chain. Everyone must work together to keep it connected and strong. Drape the chain over the doorway.
Fit Like a Puzzle
Take a large sheet of poster board and cut it into puzzle shapes. (You will need one puzzle piece for each child in the room. Mark the back of the piece with an “X” so they will know which side to decorate.) After the children have decorated their piece, challenge them to put their pieces together to make a puzzle. Glue pieces to another sheet of poster board to create a picture puzzle for your classroom.
Collect clear, plastic bottles (from water or soda) and give one to each child when they come to register or on the first day of school. Ask them to fill the bottle with cut out photographs of family members and other small trinkets and mementos. Have children bring their bottles to school the first day and use them for “show and tell.” Store the bottles in a basket and when children are a little sad or homesick, tell them to get their family bottle and it will make them feel better.
What’s Your Bag?
Give each child a lunch sack at registration or the first day of school and ask them to put the wrapper from their favorite candy, something their favorite color, a picture of their family, the title of their favorite book, etc. in the bag. After sharing these objects with classmates, they can use them to decorate journals, make banners about themselves, etc.