My Home Away From Home

I don’t know how middle school or high school teachers feel, but I think it’s safe to say that setting up our classroom space is a huge deal to elementary teachers. We put a lot of thought into it. We move things around again and again, trying to figure out the best way to set up the space. We know the space impacts the community and the learning.

Every year I like my room more and more. Small tweaks make things better. Big changes are often overdue and exciting.

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That’s my room. I’ll break it down (not because I think anyone else really cares, but because it makes me so happy).

IMG_4005 This is one of five yellow bulletin boards that stretch from one end of the room to the other at the top of the wall. Two have the greenery and flowers, the other three will soon. Only this one has anything else on it. The other four will be our learning wall; we’ll document our learning throughout the year. We can post photographs, writing, book covers, whatever will be a visual image of our learning.

IMG_4006 Under the bulletin boards, what you first see when you enter our room is our classroom library. We’ve got a rocking chair and a couch and plenty of books. I absolutely love this space and am so happy it’s what everyone sees first thing.

IMG_4007 These bird decals were something I found last year but never used. I love having them between our windows.

IMG_4008 Most of our library isn’t open yet. It won’t be until we do some work together with it. So this basket of books is one that is ready for the kids. As I read books to them in the first week, I’ll add those books. (Many of my first read alouds are books I’ve collected 5-10 copies of so that many kids can read them afterwards.)

IMG_4009 Moving down that wall we have our wonder station. We’ve got all kinds of things to examine and tools for doing so. After taking these pictures I hung a birdfeeder outside on our window and a fabulous friend and colleague has offered some bird ID charts to keep here as well.

IMG_4011 On the other side of the room, we have our bulletin board ready for pictures of our kiddos with their families. We hang these where they can always see them in case they are missing mom or dad or someone else important. It’s reassuring to have their pictures here with us.

IMG_4012 Our finished reading nook! It has beanbags and books ready for the kids. On the wall are book covers.

IMG_4013 Next to the reading nook are all our math materials. This floor lamp (which is up on the counter) is one of four in our room. My goal is to never turn on our overhead lights. With all the windows that should be doable.

IMG_4014 Across from the reading nook is my corner and another floor lamp. This is the area of the room that drives me the craziest. It gets messy so quickly and I have never figured out how to manage that well. Maybe this year…

IMG_4015 There are lots of tables in our classroom of different shapes and sizes. This one is designed for students to use standing up. So often kids want to stand while they work but they have to hunch over and the chair gets in the way. This table is ready for them.

IMG_4016 These tables are for sitting in chairs. We have two big tables (six chairs each) and then six little tables (two chairs each). Kids get to figure out where they want to and will work best at any given moment.

IMG_4017 Same table as before but with better light and with a couple of the other small tables. In the top left corner you can see my electric piano. I love to play and sing with the kids.

IMG_4018 Behind our classroom door is our kitchen. The curtains hung in our room last year but we only had one window. With a whole wall of windows these didn’t seem to make sense. So here they are. (I also had them treated to be flame retardant last year so that I could safely and without getting in trouble hang them in our room.)

IMG_4001 One last thing, we have a bathroom in our classroom. As we learn high frequency words I hang them up in there (just one more place to be seeing and reading them). We can start the year, however, with some artwork. These are prints or pages from art books. There’s Picasso, Monet, van Gogh, and others. I figure if kids are going to spend time in the bathroom we might as well maximize it.

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