Classroom Setup 2004-2005
This year I moved to a new school that was closer to home. This marks my third year of teaching and my third move to another classroom. Each year I've had to set up my room differently. Over the years, I've appreciated being able to view other classrooms in my school and online to find what works best for me.
This year I am at a brand new school called Cranberry Elementary. This is the school's first year in operation. We have wonderful, spacious classrooms with a lot of storage space and brand new equipment.
The only problem I've run into while setting up my classroom is having no wall space. There are so many cabinets and so much shelving that you cannot put any furniture against the wall. This creates the need to make all spaces and centers "float" in the middle of the room but yet have their own definable space - a challenge!
I originally had all of my tables separated, but ended up with no meeting space for group instruction. I moved my tables into an L-shape and created a large inner space for our meetings. I hid my teacher's desk behind my rocking chair and chart stand.
This is a different view of my student tables. My husband made the name tag holders you see on each table. He bought a long strip of thin wood, cut it into small sections and made a thin slice down the middle wide enough to fit a thick piece of paper. I spray painted the blocks to match the colors of the tables (yellow, green, red, and blue). The tubs in the center of each table are for storing journals and pencil boxes.
This is the sign in table. When the children arrive in the morning they sign their name in the sign in book. They move to their cubbies, take out their red home communication folders and place them in the red basket. They take out any notes from home or homework and place those items in the other baskets. In the beginning of the year, I stand at the table and remind my children to sign in and turn in their things but after about a week they remember the procedure on their own.
This is our reading tent which is used during literacy centers. The children love this space. It is comfortable, cozy, and separate from the rest of the classroom. There are many pillows, blankets, and "reading buddies" (stuffed animals) in the tent for a comfortable reading space. I found the tent in my mom's garage and sponge painted letters onto it with fabric paint. Later in the year, my children love to find words in the random letters painted on the sides. To the left of the tent is a bean bag chair shaped like a tree stump. I found it at Target for about $10 and had to add it to my reading camp site. :o)
This is my teacher bookshelf. These books are my personal copies of books that I use for instruction. During my first year of teaching I had all of my books on a shelf with no organization. It took a lot of time to sort through the books find what I was looking for. Last year I decided to make book organization a project and I love the results. I know where to find everything now and it makes lesson planning so much easier. I bought the yellow baskets at a discount store called "Big Lots" for 99¢. I sorted my books into themes and put each theme in a basket. I have a basket for the "Farm", "Ocean", "Winter", etc. When I am planning a unit, I just pull out a basket and I have all the books I need in one place.
This is my visual behavior chart. I use a conflict management system called Kelso's Choices. The curriculum is available from Rhinestone Press. There is currently no website available for the publisher. Kelso is a frog who has conflicts with his friends. The curriculum teaches children about choices to make when in a conflict such as walking away, talking it out, and apologizing. Because I use Kelso's Choices, my behavior chart has a frog theme. I have tried and tested many other visuals for behavior management but this one has worked the best.
The children each have a frog with their name on it. In the past I have used the Ellison machine to die cut frogs, but my new school doesn't have Ellison shapes yet so I found some cute calendar cut outs from the teacher store. On one side the shapes are dark green and on the other side they are light green. This year I made the boys dark green and the girls light green. This year I am using my file cabinet to host my behavior chart so each of the frogs have a piece of magnetic tape on the back. They move their frogs up and down according to the choices they make. For more information on my behavior system visit my Class Handbook.
This is our word wall. As our sight words are learned I place them on the wall. To the bottom left of the white board are my big books. I store them in large plastic storage containers. Next to the big books is our bookcase. I put books related to our thematic unit in this bookcase for students to look through during centers and during transition times. The red pocket chart next to the word wall will be used for thematic vocabulary.
This is my space for small group or individual instruction. I use this space more often than my desk. I store all of my professional books and curriculum materials on the shelves behind my table. To the right of the picture is our space for Calendar Math. When this picture was taken, I was in the process of setting it up, so it was not finished. To see my Calendar Math board and read about it, visit Teaching Math.
This is the block center. I used some of my excessive storage space to store my large wooden blocks. Next to the block center is a small desk that will be used when a child needs some "time out".
This is the dramatic play center. Because of the lack of wall space, finding a way to contain this space was a challenge. I blocked off the walls of the dramatic play center by using the felt board (left), the sand table (center) and a storage shelf and book case (right).
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