Extreme makeover classroom edition
Shiloh Elementary room gets new look with help from dads

SNELLVILLE - The children inside the room cheered when they heard the megaphone announcement telling them to "come on out."

They grinned and giggled as they listened to the details of the extreme makeover that would transform the room in the next few days.

But instead of being whisked away in a limousine for a vacation at Walt Disney World, the children lined up and walked down the hallway to another classroom. Shiloh Elementary School's Extreme Classroom Makeover had begun.

The makeover, unveiled Monday morning, turned third-grade teacher Niki Barnes' classroom from a cluttered and drab space into an organized, warm and colorful learning environment. Barnes, a second-year teacher, won a schoolwide drawing for the classroom makeover, said Debbie Wyatt, an assistant principal and member of the design team.

"The school system provides plenty of books and resources, but the aesthetic stuff is left to the teachers," Wyatt said "New teachers don't really have enough money to make their rooms aesthetically pleasing."

Barnes, who previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps, selected Marine dress blue and Marine green as her colors, and Wyatt said the design team added yellow as an accent.

With help from the Shiloh Dads' Club, the makeover was completed in three days, Wyatt said.

The makeover was designed to kick off the school's participation in Reader's Workshop, Wyatt said.

To help Barnes use the program in her classroom, the design team created a gathering place for students, placing a rug where children can sit. They also installed a "Word Wall" to help students improve their spelling and some shelves to house a classroom library.

Barnes said she always arranged her room in the way that would best help her students learn. Her focus was on teaching, not on decorating, but when she saw what the design team did to her classroom, she was amazed.

"It was just such a blessing. I was overjoyed. I was on cloud nine," she said. "I believe the classroom makeover will foster students' love for reading while continuing to improve their comprehension."