By Janet Cruz
Every teacher is set to welcome students back to the school next month, and one way to make the learning process easy and fun is being organized with a few touches of fun decor. That is what second-grade teacher Avalon Verdone said is the secret for a great start at Oro Grande Classical Academy in Lake Havasu City.
“I love being organized. My shelves are very clean with different color coded bins. I want to create a safe, organized and comfortable space for my students.”
Not only is Verdone keen to have a place for everything, she also has an eye for color and creativity.
“If an idea comes to me, I just have to run with it,” said Verdone. “It’s kind of my personality.”
As you walk further in the classroom you find colorful flower-shaped stools, and even a paper lantern caterpillar. The character is known to many parents and children from the book titled “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.
The colorful stools inside her classroom, in addition to being a great addition to the room, hold a special place in Verdone’s heart.
“These flower stools were on my Amazon wish list. They are the whole reason why I started teaching because I babysat for a local family in town and that’s when I knew I wanted to teach. I thought it was so special to get this from that family, because they’ve been a part of my life since. So it kind of comes back in full circle. They are a part of my classroom. It’s really special to me. My kids also love them,” Verdone said.
The classroom also has a designated reading area or “nook” where many of her students can practice their reading skills.
Verdone’s favorite part of teaching in Lake Havasu City is the small town vibe where all the teachers and students families all know each other. Verdone grew up in Lake Havasu and has taught for three years at Oro Grande Elementary.
Oro Grande Kindergarten Teacher Lisa Morgan
Lisa Morgan’s ideal environment is one of peacefulness and Zen. Most of her decor is a combination of new and old.
“I just want to give the room a calm feeling when the students come in here,” Morgan said. “My classroom has a bit of Hobby Lobby, the Dollar Store, Goodwill and some items I brought from home.”
Earth tones and some greenery is what students will find when they walk through Morgan’s classroom, complete with a reading area and animals posted on her wall as part of her Latin curriculum.
“When we begin teaching kindergarteners Latin (which is good for learning root words that boost vocabulary development), we do so with nursery rhymes,” said Morgan. “I figured having pictures of animals will be good way to learn the animals names first, because typically all the nursery rhymes usually include animals.”
Lots of maps also decorate the room. According to Morgan, it helps the students learn a bit of basic history and geography and get interested in learning about the many states in the country in a fun way.
Morgan says even though she has been teaching for 21 years, she still loves seeing the kids come back on the first day at school.
“My favorite part of teaching is seeing the wonder in their eyes everyday for learning. “They come in and are excited to learn new things. Everyday is a new day.”
*This is the story 2nd in a series about how teachers are getting ready for their students’ first day of school. If you would like to see how teacher Joel Silverstein at LHHS is prepping for his students, click on the story here. https://riverscenemagazine.com/lake-havasu-high-school-teacher-prepares-classroom-for-learning/