Sunday, September 5, 2010

Setting Up My Classroom

A view of the right side of my room if you are standing in front.
A view of the left side of my room if you are standing in front.
Setting up my classroom usually takes me FOREVER! 
I really take the time to make sure everything is in a place that will work for the rest of the year. This year I had to do it all in two days!  I don't know about you, but in my district we have to completely clear our rooms at the end of the year.  Everything gets boxed, nothing on the walls, nothing on the bulletin boards.  It's a complete clean out.  That means at the beginning of the next school year, you are starting from scratch. 

Having been in this room for a few years, I have a pretty good idea of where I want everything, but it still takes time.  To be honest, I love setting up my classroom.  I think it's the organization nut in me coming out full force!  So, I thought I would take you on a little tour of my room.  The pictures above are some overall room pictures.

What I love about my room:
1.  It's pretty big!
2.  It has huge windows and is very bright.
3.  My room overlooks the courtyard in our school and looks out to a grove of trees next to the school.  It's really pretty in the fall when the leaves change colors.
4.  I have fairly new desks and chairs.  My chairs have great book baskets underneath them which is a great space saver.
5.  All my desks and chairs match!  Again, the organizing nut in me loves matchy matchy!
6.  I have one wall that is all bulletin board. 
7.  I have a wall that has a long white board on it.
8.  I have a Promethean board.
9.  I have all the tables and extra chairs to go with them that I want.  In our building, people are always on the search for extra tables and chairs.

What I don't love about my room:
1.  Storage is at a minimum.  I have three large portable closests and that's it.  I started with one closet and over the years as teachers have moved around managed to get two more.
2.  I have no sink in the room.  Our classrooms on the first floor all have sinks, but not if you are on the second floor.  It would be nice to have one.
3.  The location of my Promethean board isn't ideal.  It was installed by our tech department over the summer a few years ago without any teacher input.  But, we make it work!
4.  No refrigerator or lamps.  A couple of years ago our town got a new fire chief who decided we couldn't have these things in our classroom anymore.  I do miss my tiny fridge!
5.  Not much else.  I actually really like my classroom. :-)

So, let me show you some specific areas of the room.

My Class Library Areas
This is the fiction section of the library.  I took the time to reorganize this year.  The baskets are all from the dollar store.  They're actually pretty big and hold a lot of books.  I made genre title cards for the baskets, but a bunch of them still have cards that say "Assorted Fiction."  As the year goes on, I hope to categorize the books even more.  I still have lots to think about when it come to the library.  Should I level the books or keep them organized by genre?  I'm in the process of revamping my reading instruction this year, so I think my libary will evolve as that I work on that.

This is the non-fiction section.  It's just to the left of the fiction area above.  This was sooooo much easier to set up.  I was really surprised at how many more non-fiction books I have than fiction.  I know where I will be spending my Scholastic bonus points this year!  Again, more labled baskets for the various types of non-fiction.

I will do another post soon about my class library and how I work it

Our Meeting Areas

This is the front of the room.  We have a small carpet in front where the kids meet for Writing Workshop and other subjects.  We spend a lot of time on the carpet.  It's in front of the Promethean board so I can work between the board and the chart stand and everyone can see.  You can't really see the whole carpet here, but the kids love it.  I allow the kids to work on independent work where they like, so you will often see kids sprawled on the carpet working quietly.

This is a table in the back of our room that I use all the time.  During workshops, I will often pull kids to this table for conferencing. 
-Behind it you can see the reference shelf which holds our encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc.  To the right of that shelf is the shelf that hold our math tubs.  In the tubs are enough math materials for each table.  The Math Captain of each table grabs the tub and dry erase boards under them at the start of each math lesson.

Other Assorted Areas
This is a closer look at the reference shelf I wrote about earlier. Last year I found this enormous unabridged dictionary in our copy room.  I snagged it for our classroom, the kids love it!  The call it the "Mrs. Granger Dictionary."  Name that book!

This is the math shelf next to our door.  Its tubs hold the different manipulatives we use.  On the shelf is the bathroom sign-out sheet, passes for the nurse, and the all important Purell!  Above it is our class calendar.  This is also where we post any notices and things like the lunch menu.

This table is the "supply table."  On this table we have all our writer's workshop materials and any paper the kids may need.  It holds rulers, scissors, tape, 3 hole punchers, pencils, etc.  See how we got the name supply table? ;-)
Under the table is our big tub of clip boards.  These are a true staple in my classroom as I often allow the kids to work where they like around the room.  They can sit or lay on the floor, sit against a shelf.  The only rule is they have to be working.

So, that's my room.  There are other areas I will tell you about in later posts.  My desk areas is one of them.  I had to change it around a little, and I think it's going to work out.  If there's anything specific you would like to know about, just leave a comment.  I'm probably a little late with this post for most of you.  My district started school on September 2nd.  I now many of you start in August. 
I hope you all have or had a great Back to School!


  1. I love the "Frindle" reference. It's the first reading story we do at the beginning of the year and my students always love it. :)

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