I got very excited as I thought about writing this post. When my kids come into my classroom they know the expectation and they also know that I am happy to see them.
Now personally I don't have the sign in my classroom that says "Today became great when you arrived!" (See this post) about why. However, my kids know I love my job, and it is evident when they see me at the beginning of every class.
EVERY DAY in my classroom I play music as the kids walk in.
I play the same song all day on repeat in the five minutes between classes. I dance to it, sing to it, kids in the hallway will poke their heads in my class to hear what it is I'm jamming to. My first year I just picked whatever song tickled my fancy for that particular day-- I found a repeated the same artist/style of music a lot.
The past two years I have used theme days to be sure to mix it up for my kids and they actually look forward to it!
Movie Music Monday
(Songs from TV or Movie Soundtracks)
Taylor Swift Tuesday
(Because she's my favorite-- replaced once this year for
Shirley Temple Tuesday to honor a legend)
One Direction Wednesday/
Walt Disney Wednesday
(I enjoy 1D but I get a little tired of them and my kids are
happy to change it up and listen to Disney for a day)
Thursday: Throwback Thursday
(A song from "back in the day")
Friday: Free Pick Friday
(This day I don't stick with a theme and play whatever I want)
That sets the initial tone of my classroom-- if my kids walk in and there is no music they will usually tell me that the classroom feels weird. Honestly, I feel weird without the music too-- I love to sing and dance to it as the kids come in because music just makes me happy!
Here's a picture from my instagram that my students commented on. I even had a boy tell me he missed it!
Note: This is only for welcome music. The rest of the day in class we listen to instrumentals. I will play Baroque Classical if I need them to focus or the Piano Guys if they can be a little bit more conversational.
Pick up Table:
A lot of people say to put it at the front for kids to pick up as soon as they walk in-- I'm not a fan of this. Middle schoolers tend to bottle neck and want to socialize excessively especially as they pause to do something. I prefer my kids being all the way in my classroom. Once you train them, they have it down.
My pick up table/turn in tray is on the farthest end of my classroom and it is beautiful.
Walk in Screen:
My walk in screen is VERY informative. I tell the kids the music theme, what they need to turn in, the number of papers they need to pick up, their Warm Up, where we are in their ISN, and when their next Quiz/Test/Major Grade is, as well as what it entails.
My students have no excuse for not knowing what is going on in my classroom.
I also have a Weekly Snapshot posted in the back of my classroom.
This is updated every week. I am very transparent with my students about what is coming so they can better prepare for it. Also, when the parents come on parents' night they can see that my classroom has reminders ALL OVER for their kids.
You control the environment of your classroom! Make it happy! Make it joyful! Make it a place that YOU want to be every day!