Monday, August 6, 2012

Classroom Tour 2012

Well, I've now completed 3 days with my students, and I'm already excited about where the year is headed! I'll be sharing several tidbits in the next few days about how I've set up my classroom this year and what we did during the first few days of school, but for now, I promised I'd give a tour of my classroom. Here's how it looked moments before the parents arrived for our back to school meet and greet last Tuesday night.


I created a display of balloons with my students' names on the door outside my classroom to welcome them to Eberopolis. I ended up having 25 students to start this year, but there's always a possibility that I'll add more. 

When you walk into the classroom, this is what you would see:


I love those windows! They add so much light to my classroom. On your immediate right is my word wall. 


Last year, I didn't have a word wall, and I really missed having it to refer to. It's great to use for sponge activities and review. I've been making a lot of word wall cards to use there this year, and we've been adding  words every day since school started. 

Next is my behavior clip chart.
So far, it has been working really well. Last year, I didn't have the opportunity to have students move up and down -- there were only four colors, and they were done on cards in a pocket chart. This system allows me to focus more on the positive behaviors, and I'm integrating it with my class economy

Here's a better view of the entire back wall (taken from my desk area):

On my whiteboard, I have a few things hanging up or resting on the ledge.

There's my homework magnet -- a VistaPrint creation -- along with some days of the week magnets I picked up from Target.

I also have my "Missing Homework Log." Each student has a page in this, and anytime they forget an assignment, they have to write it down and write down the reason they don't have it to turn in on time. (I saw this originally on Pinterest, but now I don't know where the idea originated...if it's yours, let me know so I can give you credit!) This builds accountability and is handy for me when I have to go back at the end of the term and figure out who consistently forgets their homework so I can share that with parents in report card comments.

I had a few items that I wanted donated to the classroom, so I had this displayed at the Meet & Greet. Most of the apples were taken by the end of the night. 

Moving on to the back corner of my room...
I'll be using that back table to meet with small groups this year. By the end of the Meet & Greet, the table and the surrounding floor space was buried in school supplies that parents dropped off. 

The cabinet behind the table locks and houses my class laptops and some science materials. 
It also displays my student self-assessment posters.

Beside the cabinet is one of my two rolling tables.
For the Meet & Greet, this is where I put the sign-in sheet and handouts that needed to be sent home. Normally, however, this is where students will make their lunch choices in the morning and turn in papers.

Between the two carts (one on each side of the room), I have 24 drawers. This is a little inconvenient given that I have 25 students, so I decided to change my system this year. Rather than giving each student a drawer and relegating one to a plastic basket on the side, I decided to organize the drawers by teams and subjects.
I have 5 tables/teams, and each team gets 4 drawers. The math drawer contains their math journals, any manipulatives they may need, and any math work-in-progress. The inquiry drawer is for their inquiry notebooks and any science or social studies materials they're using. The supply drawer holds general supplies like glue sticks, scissors, and colored pencils -- supplies we use frequently, but not so frequently that I'd want them out on their tables all the time. The last drawer is for specials. That's where they'll keep their music folders, Spanish notebooks, and anything else they need for Art, PE, Music, or Spanish. So far, I love this new system. It lets me pass out some materials in advance -- I can put math manipulatives for the day in each team's drawer, for example, before we get to the lesson. It also meant that I had 4 extra drawers left over which is very handy for storing all of the supplies that students brought in. 

Beside the cart is a bookcase for textbooks and reference books, a bin for our clipboards, and then a supply cart and our class jobs board. The supply cart holds things such as calculators, sticky notes, highlighters, index cards, flash cards, dry erase markers, and a few other small things that I want students to be able to access as needed. For our job board, I had students apply for jobs last week, and I took a picture of each student on the first day. Once I decide on the jobs for this term, I'll put their picture in the pocket chart behind the job that they're assigned to.

Behind my job chart is my classroom library.
Last year, it was flat against the wall, but this year, I built it as a little nook inside our classroom. The bins on the top shelf hold mostly non-fiction books. The shelves below it hold books sorted into categories such as favorite authors, favorite series, and genres. Students can borrow and take home two books at a time, and they sign out their books in library checkout folder. At some point, I want to create an electronic checkout system for my classroom, but I haven't had time to work on that yet.

Looking toward the front of my classroom, you'd see this:
We have a large carpeted area for class meetings and lessons at our ActivBoard. To the right of the ActivBoard is my class schedule pocket chart, and I'll be decorating the green bulletin board for our first Unit of Inquiry. My Writer's Workshop wheel hangs underneath my ActivBoard, and then I have my calendar math board and reading/writing materials to the left of the ActivBoard.

Here's a close-up view of that:
Each student has a book bin to hold reading notebooks, writing notebooks, and any books they're reading. Last year, the bins were on the floor, and I hated it, so I decided to splurge on a shelf from Ikea. Already I am far happier.

You can also see my desk -- the neatest it will be all year, I'm sure, and my teacher resource bookshelf behind it. 

Here's what the full wall looks like from my classroom library nook:
From this angle, you can also see my filing cabinet, my second storage cabinet, my student mailboxes, and my other rolling table. I plan to decorate that side of my room more, but I just haven't gotten to that yet. There doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day!

So there you have it! A complete tour of Eberopolis as seen by my new students and their parents at the Meet & Greet last week. 

If you have any questions about something I forgot to talk about, let me know in the comments. I'm pretty happy with my classroom layout this year, so I'll be happy to share.

Until next time,

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