by Betsy Howie
This year marks a lot of firsts for new teacher Tonya Kelly. She’s in her first year of teaching, running her first classroom, and—as it happens—she’s teaching first grade! She knew the first thing she had to do to manage all these firsts was create a classroom library. So she spent the summer getting ready for the first day of school by creating a Superhero Headquarters Library, which she built from scratch!
Her classroom went from this to this:
She made a superhero chalkboard table and crate chairs with superhero fabric.
She created a superhero room divider, where she can showcase book suggestions by reading level.
She even made a superhero clock.
Superhero images cover the walls, and overlooking the whole classroom is Ms. Marvel!
We asked Tonya to tell us a bit more about her idea.
What inspired the superhero theme for the classroom library?
“The Superhero Headquarters Library is part of my classroom theme of First Grade Incredibles. The first eight days of school, my students were superheroes-in-training. Students had to learn to appreciate their classroom environment along with many skills, strategies, and expectations of our classroom. On the eighth day, students were given a certificate of completion and a shield. As First Grade Incredibles, our classroom expectations are:
1. Respect yourself
2. Respect your classmates
3. Respect property
4. Do quality work”
Why was it so important for you to create the Superhero Headquarters Library?
“As a student teacher, many students I taught had never visited a library or had any books at home. As I completed my own student teaching, I built a classroom library in my PreK and first grade classes. Those students loved being able to visit the classroom library and look at all the books I had checked out at the local library or been given by friends and family. I wanted to create a culture of learning by encouraging students to read for pleasure, information, and instructions and to connect with others. Students have embraced Ms. Marvel watching over them as they read. Students ask every day if they can visit the Superhero Headquarters Library. I have so much fun creating new book collections for my students each month!”
How did your new students respond to the Superhero Headquarters Library?
“I’m so happy! My students love going to the Superhero Headquarters Library and exploring the whiteboard and chalkboard activities…and, of course, the books! I’m still screaming and shouting!”
This is Tonya Kelly’s first year as a lead teacher. She’s currently teaching first grade in Columbus, Ohio, the city where she was raised as a “true OSU Buckeye.” She holds a master of early childhood education from Grand Canyon University. Her motto is: “Try your best in everything you do.”
These Books Are Available from Scholastic Reading Club