I think the classroom environment is very important to learning. One aspect of it, classroom design/decoration, can be handled frugally if you utilize many resources.
I have a turning book display and wire shelves I got behind a store that was closing. It pays to drive behind stores to see what hardware they are throwing out.
Let’s face it, part of the battle of education is being efficient. That’s why classroom design is so important. If you can’t find the handout for science until your allotted time is over—it’s a big problem.
I recommend looking at other teacher’s rooms. Teaching Heart has pictures of classrooms from around the world.
Most of my office supply containers are from thrift stores and yardsales. They are very kitschy and the kids love that they are unique. This room is, in fact, their home away from home so it’s important they feel comfortable there. I have a comfortable seat for a V.I.P student to sit and relish in their specialness. These seats include a bean bag, a garden bench with pillows and a wire dorm chair—some gleaned from my own kids!
When you buy your office supplies for pennies at yardsales, you are not bothered when (not if!) a child drops and breaks something. Remember, we are creating a place that is child-accessible.
I’d love to hear your ideas for classroom set up and display!