This Year’s Classroom: A Field of Dreams


***Note: For some reason, when I returned to this page, I saw the formatting looked horrible. So I moved the photos to a gallery format. It looks neater, but unfortunately the photos are not near the text to which they apply. So I guess you’ll have to play a little matching game. Sorry about that! ***

This is the first time in my career I had enough time to set up my classroom so that kids aren’t coming in on day one and tripping over boxes and staring at ugly walls. Although the room has a decidedly obvious slant in favor of my dear New York Mets, the theme for the room is “Field of Dreams.” I will explain during this brief photo tour (after all, the kids are almost here!)

Our Field of Dreams

I wanted students to enter through a bright, inviting door each day, and one with a message. I want them to understand three things from this door. One, our classroom is a field of dreams, where if you dream it, you can achieve it. I want positive vibes in my classroom so my students will feel good about themselves and each other. Two, the sign of the player diving for the ball says, “Dare to try.” I think we will read this together everyday as a reminder that it’s good to take a leap of faith. Finally, the people are dressed in Mets colors, with each child’s name (blurred out here) and number. I will take photographs of each child, myself, and my paras, and put the faces on the heads. This is a symbol for the family/team element that I always preach in my classroom.

Dare to try.


I always display the Central Park John Lennon mosaic in my room. It inspires me and fits in perfectly with a theme where dreams are encouraged, not dashed. To boot, I am also going to be pushing Angela Maiers’ message, “You Matter.” I want this to be a message to everyone in the room, including the students, my paras, me, and any other adult or child that comes into our room.

You matter.

Leveled library.

Our book nook carries through with the baseball/Mets theme, with reading levels written in Mets colors on baseball gloves. Students choosing to use the book nook can sit in bean bag chairs, use the listening center, and read to stuffed animals like this monkey. As an added wrinkle, one of the Mets stuffed animals in the book nook was a gift from a student my first year teaching.

Read to me?

World Series Writers

Continuing the baseball theme, students’ published writing will be hung on a board that says “World Series Writers” with a pennant commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Mets 1969 World Series win. As you can see, pennants are common through the room. One of the activities I am so excited for is having students create their own pennants on which they write their dream for the school year. They will hang in our room as reminders for us to work to achieve our goals, whether as Grand Slam Scientists or Major League Mathematicians.

Major League Mathematicians

Grand Slam Scientists

Community supplies

My community supplies idea took on a different look once I got to setting up the room. Here are some less frequently used supplies that table leaders will be responsible for retrieving. On the tables, there are already bins with scissors, pencils, pens, erasers, post-its, staplers, staples, and glue. That way, no one is ever without something they need. Not a novel idea by any stretch, but certainly a step in the right direction for someone like me, who is almost chronically disorganized.

Making global connections

This is one part of the room that almost became an afterthought because I didn’t plan for it properly. However, my goal is to have students mark on the world and United States map any blog comments or Skype sessions we have. I am excited about broadening my students’ worldviews this way.

Some surprises...

An elementary teacher needs not lose sight of the fact that it’s elementary school. Because of that, I hung some Mets decor that doesn’t really serve an educational purpose, but rather just lightens the mood. I think it will surprise the kids when they see it, plus, it’s just fun. It’s not in a place that interferes with instruction, so why not? Of course, as colleagues have stopped by this week, I have dealt with my fair share of ribbing and accepted my fair share of compliments on the Mets stuff. And for anyone who asks “What about the kids who don’t like the Mets?” I say, “They’ll like them by June!”

...just for fun!


10 responses to “This Year’s Classroom: A Field of Dreams

  1. Matthew,

    Your theme for the year, FIeld of Dreams, is so relevant to any person, but more so to your students, who very often,like your beloved New York Mets, have been put down rather than lifted up. I know that they will be awestruck when they see the door and the banner in the hall and then enter the room. ( I hope you are taking pictures of their reactions and recording what they are saying!) They will quickly learn what it is meant to matter and I am sure that the messages will be transformed into a banner year of learning, building self esteem and doing random acts of kindness. I look forward to hearing their stories and your stories as the school year progresses. You hit a homerun and with your ungoing support, so will your students.

  2. After telling him about this blog, your grandfather says you’re a natural!! Who could argue with him?

  3. Great job! I learned my math by doing baseball stats

  4. Pingback: Remainders: A parent’s view into the day’s first school visited | GothamSchools

  5. I did a Mets theme this year too! I teach 5th grade.

  6. Pingback: We Dream « From the Desk of Mr. Foteah

  7. where did you get the red bins with white handles in your book nook?

  8. Pingback: Goal 12: Define and Spread Your Message #30GoalsEdu : Teacher Reboot Camp

  9. Pingback: This Year’s Classroom: Swimming to Success | From the Desk of Mr. Foteah

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