Chatting in the Halls

Reagan posted about how little we teachers get to chat it up with a pal while we are working.

We were just talking about this at work the other day. In my old school we didn't have walls between our classrooms. Nope. We had file cabinets. And shelves. And roll away closets. And, well, anything we could shove between our rooms. It was the 70's "open concept classroom" plan. (NO, I didn't teach in the 70's - the school was just old!)

It looked quite a bit like this. This isn't my room, nor my old school. Just a pic I found using Google search.
The elementary school I attended was open concept.
I didn't mind it at all as a student.
Do you teach in an open concept classroom?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Boy, did we complain. A lot. HOW could they expect us to teach without walls? We took so much for granted then. Yes it definitely had its downside and I wouldn't want to go back to teaching without walls. But...

What we didn't appreciate was that we could talk to each other - a lot. We could call each other into our rooms no problem (we always left a little person-sized gap between our makeshift walls).  Gotta go to the bathroom DURING class? No problem, next door neighbor teacher friend had it covered! We could stand between 2 rooms and handle it all. 

Then we moved to our new beautiful school. We had cabinets, storage, gorgeous brand new rooms with doors and walls you could staple into. We were so excited. 

Then the first day of school came and we realized we NEVER saw each other! We couldn't share something with each other whenever we wanted. There was a complete shift in our teaching dynamic. It was a HUGE shock to our systems, peeps! It took so long to get used to those walls that we had previously wanted so badly. 

Be careful what you wish for. That's the lesson in that story. Yes, the rooms are quieter (well until they upped the kid count to 30 - but ya know what I mean). No I don't have to worry about disturbing my neighboring teacher with squeals of glee or my loud voice - but I miss the daily, continual camaraderie. Now there are plenty of days that go by without interacting with a single adult. It's definitely a different work environment.

Yay for bloggyland!

I was happy that Reagan suggested we all need a Hall Pass so we can sneak away and just chat it up a bit. Just 'cuz.

Even though I think I use bloggyland as my continual hall pass - Reagan has provided some structure as to what we should chat about. :D

I LOVE creating things and thinking of different ways to help students learn concepts. Reinventing the wheel is great fun to me. However, my favorite products are definitely my year and weekly planners. If I had to pick one, it would be the Ultimate Weekly Planner. I seriously could not live without it and have used it, modified it, tweaked it and perfected it for over 15 years! Digital planning is an absolute must in my world. Organization makes me incredibly happy. If you'd like more info about my plans, you can read about them {here}. 

My favorite area tends to change quite a bit depending on what we've got on display on our walls. However, the reading center is always a favorite of the kiddos and mine. The white board in that area is our "focus wall" that I update weekly (or daily - depending on what's going on). It's both a peaceful area and provides a lot of information about what we're doing. The tree, couch and pillows are fun. I love to trade out the books each month so there is always something new to read and share.

I use all sorts of signals. Lately the kids have been responding to music or my "clicker" the best. But it all goes in spurts. My favorite "chant" signal is probably "Holy Moly" - "Guacamole". I keep my attention grabbers on my front table, just to remind myself to change it up as much as possible.

{freebie in my stores - TpT }
That should say "vices" because I have two.

1) Caffeine. I've noticed that I am MUCH more sane with a cup of coffee in my hand. 

2) My room decor & organization. A particular fellow teacher has walked through my room on FAR too many occasions and said "Welcome to Pier One." Followed by the sarcastic remark, "So, do kids LEARN better in a 'pretty' environment?" Frustrating, rude and mean. I don't know if they really learn better. But I think it makes them happier and I KNOW it makes me happier when my room is neat, color-coordinated, and organized. It definitely helps my sanity when I like being in my surroundings. :D

Loved this Hall Pass. Do you all have hall passes?

We don't have halls. We have outside, cement quad areas. We don't say "No running in the halls. No talking in the halls." Instead you hear a lot of whistles and "GO BACK AND WALK!" around our campus with children running/walking/skipping/jogging in all sorts of directions.

Thanks Reagan for the fun linky. I love checking out all of the other bloggy teacher friends P.A.S.S. items they have to share. Be sure you go check them out, too!


  1. Love!! I went to school in an open concept school. I don't remember disliking it as a student but let me tell you I would HATE it now!!!

  2. We don't hall passes (although I'm totally going to join this linky party as soon as I catch up on my blog reading), but I felt a sense of deja vu at your "GO BACK AND WALK" comment. That is just so familiar to me! I also love your reading area - so peaceful!

    Miss Galvin Learns

  3. Traci you make everything happy with your beautiful words, products, signals, and color coding!!! Do kids learn better in a beautiful room? YES! Does color coding make a difference? Yes! Do I love Traci? Yes!

  4. I love your room! Any teacher who makes a snarky comment has some serious jealousy issues going on!

    Loved reading your post!

    Across the Hall in 2nd

  5. Traci,
    I taught in an open classroom my first three years of teaching. It was the best thing that could have happened to me!!! I was able to observe other teachers all the time and had to quickly work on my management skills so that all of our classes were in sync. Not sure I would want to teach that way again, but as a beginner it was wonderful!

    I LOVE the look of your classroom. Ignore the one naysayer! You are doing the right thing for your kiddos (and for you) and all of us in Bloggyland support you!!
    An Open Door

  6. So many things I liked in this post! I've never taught in an open classroom. Sometimes I don't even see my neighboring teach until lunchtime!

    I found your attention grabbers on Pinterest last year and started using them. My assistant principal even made a comment about them during her observation. I'm going to learn more about Whole Brain Teaching this summer.

    Totally think that co-worker is jealous!

  7. Our past administrator was all into open classrooms. They built two buildings that way. Now the new administration is trying to out in walls to make it a better use of space. Such a waste!

    I love your attention getters!

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    Suntans and Lesson Plans

  8. That was great having a peek into your pretty classroom. And of course pretty is better! It makes everyone feel good:) I just wish my room looked as put together as yours!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  9. I student taught in an open classroom school, and then spent 6 months teaching first grade there. It was a bit scary when you would see the bald top of the principal's head hiding behind one of the cupboards and know that he was listening. I taught at another school with a double room. We loved it. On Fridays we would move the "walls" and sing with our two classes. Then we returned from Christmas break and a wall had been built while we were away. It wasn't the same after that.
    Where/how did the cool tree come from? A neat idea!
    I love your planner...I bought it, but school started and now it's months later and I still haven't had time to play with it! I will...over the summer!


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