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Juan Gonzalez Jr. is a third-grade reading teacher at Louis G. Lobit Elementary in Dickinson, Texas. His classroom isn’t just a classroom—it’s a home. Here, his students stand on countertops, take risks, and grow. “I’m strategic with every part of my room. I don’t want things to simply look good. Each piece needs to have a purpose to enhance the students’ experience.” Gonzalez shares his teaching journey on his Instagram, Teaching 3rd with Mr. G.
Books We’ve Read
This board is used to document our shared reading adventures. After we read a book as a class, it gets added. The board is also a teaching tool for when we discuss books with common themes or find connections between texts. Students are always amazed by how much reading we accomplish!
Wall of Wisdom
My students coined the name. I like keeping my anchor charts all in one place; kids know this is where they should look to support their thinking. When I need to make room for a new chart, I snap a picture of the departing chart, size it down, print it, and add it to their reading notebooks.
I display photographs of my students to emphasize that we are a family. On the board are pictures of the kids doing everyday things in our classroom. They love seeing themselves! “Our picture board is perfect because it reminds me of all the great memories we have together,” one of my students says.
The Inspiration Wall
Who doesn’t love a good quote? Every month I reveal a new quote for students to read and discuss. They love the anticipation of each quote reveal. I also have them respond to the quote in their writing notebooks. This is a great way to practice on-demand writing and get some character lessons in.
After students finish a great book that they want to recommend, they place it in the bin with a note to a future reader. They write their name, what makes the book a must-read, and a favorite quote or new information learned. This bin becomes a hot spot and builds our reading community!
Fantastic First Lines
This was inspired by teacher friends who share favorite first lines from books on social media. Students write great first lines on sticky notes and jump on the countertop to add them to the board. It also provides inspiration for students as they work on crafting leads for their writing.
Photos: Nathan Lindstrom