Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Classroom is Finally Ready!

Finally, after five days of solid work, the classroom is ready!  Classroom set-up is more important to student learning than most people realize.  The design and set-up of a classroom must not only be conducive to student learning, but also be an inviting and warm environment that students want to be in each day.  When I try to create my classroom environment each year, I always make sure I have a few key components in place:
  • A large area, usually in the center of the classroom, for the entire class to gather as a group.  This is key for mini lessons and read aloud.
  • At least two to three areas for small groups to sit (or stand) and work.
  • A few comfortable areas for reading or working.  I love pillows, bean bags, alternative seating, and the old couch that I inherited with the room last school year.
  • Desk seating where all students can easily access the Smart board.
  • A supply area that has every possible thing students may need.
  • A teacher work area with enough space for me to work and for students to sit and work with me.
  • A large, inviting library that houses many different genres, authors, and collections.

Here's part of what I came up with this year... 

Welcome to Room 20!

The view of the classroom from the Smart board.  Students desks
are arranged in a U-shape with the large meeting area in the center.

View of the classroom while standing in the class library.

A view into the classroom library with a bean bag
seating area in the foreground.

A different view into the classroom library with
my two large bean bag chairs.  Students really enjoy reading in
the bean bag chairs.  Each one fits two fifth graders.  The closet
hides behind the leafed curtain.  It houses 24 student lap tops.
Students easily walk in and out of the closet to retrieve and
put away their lap tops.

This is a small group work area.  It currently is holding student desk
supplies.  The math bulletin boards are in the background ready for
anchor charts and student work.  The large easel in the back to the right
is my "assignment board."  All of the week's homework and classroom
assignments are listed there for students to refer to when needed.

Here is a better view of the math bulletin board.  The crate to the
left holds practice multiplication & division fact practice sheets
for students to take as needed.  The red tub holds many different
math picture books that we read during the year.

This is another small group area.  The counter with plants is also
a separate small group or independent work area.  The reading/writing
bulletin board is seen to the left.  That board is also ready for anchor charts.

Here is a better view of the bulletin board.  This board is solely for
anchor charts.  Student writing is displayed along the cabinets
in the back of the room.  I'll post pictures of that once they're
filled with student work!  Book covers decorate the window border.

Here is the writing/paper supply area. Pencils and other supplies
are also in this area, but out of view from the picture.  Student writing
is displayed in the page protectors on the cabinets above the paper.

The couch I inherited with room 20 is a favorite place for
students to sit, especially during read aloud.  It's also
a great meeting spot for small group discussions.

The most important book of the year:  The Teacher
Plan Book.   Now that the room is complete, I can
put curriculum in place and make the magic happen!