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Bolton 2nd-graders find old classroom like new (Photo gallery)





When teacher Marguerite Haas’ second-graders returned to Bolton School for the second semester on Tuesday, they knew their classroom had undergone renovation. But they probably never envisioned anything this dramatic.

During the two-week break, a makeover that Haas won from Brittany Wheaton, also known as “The Superhero Teacher,” transformed their classroom with new ceiling, wood-style floor and repainted walls. Traditional desks were replaced with comfortable furniture and high, picnic and other tables perfect for work in small groups.

Most striking was the tropical or rainforest theme carried out with netting, coat hooks that resembled animal heads, stuffed animals and portraits of wildlife – each with a QR code that leads to an online profile of the featured creature.

A couch tucked inside the frame of a miniature cottage now sits in the classroom’s “peace corner,” a refuge where students retreat when they feel overwhelmed. In another area,  children can stand before a full-length mirror while reciting and holding signs saying things like “Kindness is my superpower,” reinforcing the wisdom with literal self-reflection.

“I was really excited to see my classroom,” said Torron, one of the lucky students. “This makes me really happy.”

The décor was a surprise even to Haas, who instantly fell in love with it. Colleagues came past in the morning to admire the makeover and offer congratulations.

Haas, who is in her first year of teaching, chose CMSD because she sees urban education as the place "where you can make the most difference in students' lives." She won the classroom makeover by writing an essay that emphasized the chance to make a difference for her students' at Bolton.

"I feel like they deserve a home away from home," she said. "I really want this to be something that's new and special just for them."

Such creative design allows teachers and students to “reimagine learning,” Principal Juliet King said.

“The space does make a difference in what you choose to do,” she said.

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