Before we get too excited for vacation plans in the future, I want us to take a moment to pause, look around our classrooms and schools… and really take a close look.
Our halls are filled with great artistic masterpieces from the students. The classroom has become a rich community with evidence of students’ learning and growth throughout. The space has come a long way since students walked into the class on the first day with their name tag on the desk being the only artifact reflecting their sense of belonging; and now, their identity is everywhere! Soak up every moment of the students’, families’, teachers’, and staffs’ hard work and commitment to learning!
Now, as we take an even closer look, you’ll see the smears on the white board that won’t erase, the sharpie lines along the walls, a few crayons on the floor, and the stacks of paper overflowing. This is the reality of our classrooms as we are nearing the end of the school year and often something we don’t see anymore in the day to day grind of math lessons, SBAC tests, and social skills lessons, to name a few.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with The KonMari Method, it is a practice created by Marie Kondo who is considered a tidying expert. She has outlined an entire process in how to simplify and organize your life. It isn’t just about tidying and effectiveness, it is about being mindful and reflective; essentially, it is about “choosing joy.”
You may be wondering what does spring cleaning have to do with Unconditional Education? Great question! Well, I recently came across an article in neaToday that applies this concept to our classrooms and it resonated with me since one of our core values is joy. As I did a bit more research, it turns out that educators across the States are applying these concepts into the classroom and reflecting upon the following questions:
- Does this spark joy for my students?
- Does this spark engagement?
- Does this spark curiosity?
Now this blog is not intended to tell you to ‘clean up’ your classroom. And I’m not trying to add more stress to what I know is a never ending to do list but I do urge you to take a moment to look around your learning space and consider if this space fosters joy and engagement. We often spend the weeks and days leading up to the start of the school year decorating our classrooms, office spaces, and hallway bulletin boards with such love, creativity, and intention. We may have a second surge of energy in doing so again at Winter break but with summer approaching, it is natural for us to think it may not be worth it; let’s remind ourselves what our students, families and staff deserve each day…an engaging, lively space up to the final hours of the school year.
So I encourage you as we approach summer holidays (9 weeks, but who’s counting?!) and we may be finding time in our personal lives for a ‘spring cleaning,’ can we also take time in our classrooms and schools? As we wrap up lessons for the year and think about preparing for next year, consider applying the KonMari Method to the classroom! And this isn’t a job for you alone. Engage you students in this process. Ask them these same questions about what sparks engagement and work together as a community to ensure the classroom and school continues to be a place overflowing with joy!
If you’re interested in learning more, check out these articles: