I thought that this would be a great time to share a little bit about some things that I think are important in my classroom and maybe even share some pictures of my space. I've found that the music room is sort of a weird hybrid space. First, it's an educational space and the setup needs to be geared for visual, aural, sensory learning and should look something like what they find in their homeroom, if only for the eased transition when we introduce our content to them. The music room also needs to be a safe space. People don't take risks and improvise or open up and really express themselves if they don't feel safe. For that reason I try and make the room as inviting as I can with homey elements that add some ambiance. I also think the room should be a fun space; somewhere where the kids want to go. I try and keep it fresh, current, and bright so that kids feel at home and excited. All that said, here are some of my favorite things in the Frances Willard music room and a little explanation as to why I have them.!
A Place to REst - My Great Grandma's Chair
Teachers love to sit here and this chair invites some of them to come in a few minutes early and catch the end of our music classes. I love that they feel like they can come in and observe and I love that this chair draws them in. It's so important that they see what we're doing and find it to be engaging and important!
Kids love to sit here when they're feeling bad. If a kid comes in crying or accidentally runs into something while moving around the room or has any other tear-evoking situation, I always offer them this seat. "Would you want to go sit in the big comfy green chair? You can take this stuffed animal." and bam, it's a safe space for them to cool down and feel comfortable for a minute before returning to our learning.
Also, it's great for naps during plan time.... just kidding. :D
Lamps and Lighting
My lamps are positioned around the room near the corners of the room and throw some different light on the walls ceiling at fun angles. I shared this in a previous post but a few years ago during after-Christmas sales I bought some timers so that now my lamps turn on on their own at about 7:45 a.m. and shut themselves off at 4:15 p.m. It makes having the lights so much easier and also reminds me to go home when the day is over. :D
One more thing that I do during the holiday is change out my normal light bulbs for colored ones. During Halloween the lightbulbs in these lights shine an eerie green or throw a blacklight on the walls. During the holiday they are green and red and during November I pull out my "bug bulbs" (which are just darker yellow) to warm up the room even more. It's fun to change things up.
Sensory Stimulation -- Olfactory Sense is Powerful
Debbie would light candles and would change them week by week to give some variety, but I've found that it's easier for me (and I worry less about fire) if I use a Scentsy or wax warmer. You can buy the fancy Scentsy brand stuff or you can just go to Walmart and buy their wax cubes. In fact, I'd suggest that if you're going to a big box retailer that you go to Walmart and not Target (this is the only time I'll ever say this ;D) to get your wax cubes. The Target ones are twice the price and not nearly as potent as the cheapy $2 scents you can get at Walmart. I've got a picture below of some of my favorite scents and what they look like so that you know exactly what to search for! If your principal doesn't like the idea of the wax warmer or candle in your room, look into those scented oils and diffuser sticks. There are many ways to get the good smells in your room.
And in honor of that, here are some pictures of my music room! The Then/Now change were crazy to see!