Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Blank Slate of a New Classroom

Somehow I managed to land my dream job in a school district and economic climate where jobs are hard to come by. I'll be teaching 4th grade this fall, and I'm very excited to be joining a new team of educators who seem as committed and enthusiastic about teaching as I am. The minute I set foot in my new school for the interview, I felt right at home, and I can't wait to start this next chapter in my career.

Last week, after all the dust from the 2009-2010 school year had settled and the building had been fully cleaned out by the custodial staff, I got the OK from my new principal to come in and visit my new classroom. I'm currently living about 2.5 hours away, so my trips have to be planned in advance to manage things on the home front. (I'll save the drama about the current living arrangements for another day...) I packed up my car with as many of my personal teaching materials as would fit and ventured off to see my new classroom.

The trip was not without hiccups. The temperature was well into the 90s, and the elevator in the school had broken that morning. As luck would have it, my classroom is on the top floor, so hauling all of my stuff upstairs was fairly grueling. That being said, imagine my delight when I saw my new workspace.

Forgive all the stuff on the tables. That was stuff I unloaded from my car, and I hadn't decided on new homes for it all yet. But check out the windows... and I have a couch!

I'm also excited about the prospect of having tables instead of student desks. I used to cluster desks together into tables anyway, but it seemed to create lots of unnecessary problems when the desks weren't all the same height or size, and some students would argue about which desk had group materials on the top. This seems to resolve all of that, and I'm thrilled. Also, have I mentioned the windows?

There's a lot of great storage in the back of the room, too. You can see cabinets and sink, and to the right of that is my very own walk in closet with two big bookshelves and a file cabinet. And since this is a corner room, there's another amazing window there on the left. Am I lucky, or what?

There are some fantastic storage cubbies right as you walk in the classroom door. The students have lockers in the hall, so I'll have a lot of flexibility in how I decide to use those. There are 18 slots, and I suspect I'll have around 25 students, so it's not enough for each child to have one, but maybe I can assign them to tables to hold different learning materials. I'll have to think about that.

I was also happy to see a giant blue rug rolled up there and an ActivBoard in the front of the room. There's really not much more I could ask for! (Well, except for more bookcases at a good height for my students for my classroom library. There was only one bookcase in there when I arrived, and my classroom library is large and constantly growing. But I think even that will be taken care of before the school year starts!)

I spent the rest of my afternoon mapping, measuring and photographing everything so I can get it set up on my next trip in July. I'm recruiting my husband to help on that trip since he's very patient with my room arranging idiosyncrasies, and he'll be helpful with moving furniture. I'm deciding on classroom layout issues now.

What thoughts do you have about classroom design and layout? How would you use this space for a fourth grade room? Any arrangement do's and don'ts that you can share?

1 comment:

  1. It is a beautiful classroom. Unfortunately, I am one of two teachers who are in a portable this year. Ugh! No storage, not to mention the unattractiveness of it all!


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