Thursday, July 19, 2012

So it starts...

All of the teachers in my district report back to school next Wednesday. Yes, you read that correctly. NEXT WEDNESDAY! While I'm unquestionably excited about meeting a new bunch of 4th graders (27 of them, in fact, if my current roster holds...), there's a certain element of panic that comes with my final week of vacation. A panic that sounds like "What have I done with my summer?" or "Where did all the time go?" or "How in the world am I going to get my monstrous to do list done in time?!?!?!"

Along with that panic came my first visit back to my classroom this week. Here's how it looked when I arrived:
View from door

View from back corner
 It wasn't so bad. The floors are so happy and shiny, and most of the furniture was reasonably close to its original location. There were a couple of casualties, however. A bookshelf broke, and a large section of my classroom library was dumped into the blue recycling bin.

With a couple of hours of work and brainstorming and a little assistance from my friend down the hall, I was able to get it closer to the arrangement I'm planning to try this year.
View from door
The way that it's currently set up, I have 5 tables arranged for students to sit at and the sixth table is at the back corner to be used for small group work. With 27 students, however, that would mean having 5-6 kids assigned to each table, and I'm not sure how well that will work. I'm lobbying to get an additional table (where I'd put it is an entirely separate question...), but I'm not sure my lobbying efforts will be successful. I'll have to think more about this.

View from back corner
From this angle, you can see our class carpet/meeting space and my desk/work area. Since everything is still packed up, it looks so delightfully clutter-free. You can be certain that won't last...

Also from back corner
I'm trying something new this year in that I'm having a book case come out from the wall to make my classroom library more of a U-shape. I'm planning to cover the back of that bookcase with something, although I haven't entirely decided what yet. Probably something related to my class library book checkout or some other chart.

View from inside the classroom library space
My classroom looks a lot bigger than it feels from this angle...

View from my desk
I really love having those windows in my classroom, although our view won't be so great this year. They're going to be building a new wing onto our school, so my classroom will overlook a construction site. I'm sure that will be lovely and not at all distracting. Sigh...

So that's the bare-bones tour of my classroom space. My next back to school project will be to unpack and organize my classroom library. If you have any great suggestions or tips related to that, I'd love to hear them in the comment section!


  1. Last year I did something radical! I got rid of my book baskets for all my chapter books and organized them in ABC order by the author's last name. What I found is that my 4th graders never knew the authors of their favorite books or where to find them when we went to the school library. The books in the library are organized that way, so I decided my classroom should model that too and ask the kids to use the same skills. It worked out really well and my kids got to work on their ABC order skills in re-shelving the books. I still have a few baskets for my science, math, and poetry books, but I keep those in different locations around the room. I usually tackle setting up the library first too. Somehow everything else seems easier once I check that off my list.


    1. I'm really intrigued by your idea of organizing the books in alphabetical order, but there's something that's still really aesthetically pleasing to me about seeing the books facing out--I don't think I'm ready to give that up yet! (I'll wait until I collect a few more books and outgrow my current arrangement...) I agree that the students need to pay more attention to the authors. I have several bins devoted to some of the most popular authors (Jerry Spinelli, Lois Lowry, Gary Pausen, Rick Riordan, etc.), and that seems to help a little bit, but it could still be emphasized more. Maybe I'll have the students sub-sort the baskets alphabetically. Hmmm...

      In my situation, I didn't have a choice about unpacking the library first. I had stuffed my books into every possible drawer and storage space to clear the shelves for the custodians, so I had to unpack them all before I could even get to anything else. :) It is amazing how good it feels to cross that off my list, though. Everything else is easy in comparison.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. I am jealous of your classroom space... wait until I get into my room next week and post pictures.. you will think you are teaching in a big mansion!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...