It’s that time again. The dust is settled. The floor is waxed. It’s time to set up the room. Every year I rearrange things before the school year ends thinking…maybe I’ll get it all set before I go. Then summer happens and I start getting grand ideas.
Each year presents a new challenge. For several years I’ve had sort of a half and half system. Half of the room is desk groups and the other half is the library area. It works well. But, this year I’ll have 30 students and 30 desks just don’t fit into half of the room. What to do?
I’m a strong believer in classroom environment. I think it was Debbie Miller who first made me realize that my classroom could be a cute place. Now when people visit they often comment on how cozy and open my room is. They also comment on how neat it is, but really I just shove the mess into the closet. I truly believe that children deserve a beautiful place to go to school. They deserve a learning environment that inspires them and makes them feel comfortable.
I thought I’d get some inspiration before I started moving things around this year. I love this site’s photos of reading corners. I’ve always wanted little areas, but it’s so hard to have room for desks, a large meeting space, and nooks & crannies. I usually start with one and it’s gone halfway through the year. Predictably some kids are sad because they like the “alone space” but by mid year they’re just so…well, big. I also found some inspiration on this teacher’s public Facebook photo album. Love the color coding! I found her link at this page, called The Cornerstone.
Challenge #1 create the illusion of private space.
I use my ELMO and projector all the time. In the past I’ve had it set up on a rolling cart…annoying. Last year I moved to a static table, much better. But, that means that I can only use it in one area. In the current set-up that’s the carpet area. Most students can see it from the desks but it’s not ideal. Is it possible to set up the ELMO in a place that is visible from desks and the carpet?
Challenge #2 Get the ELMO in a place where it can be used in both learning spaces.
In every “perfect” set up there is always one problem area. It never fails. I get everything all put together and then the kids come. Bam! Bottleneck. As much as we try to anticipate these bottlenecks they just happen. For me it’s usually near the closet door. This is because I’ve had my writing center there. I’m wondering if that needs to change to a place that is more conducive to large amounts of children getting supplies?
Challenge # 3: Avoid the bottlenecks
So, what did I come up with? Well you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out!
What do you do to make your classroom environment comfy and cozy for students?