Saturday, July 24, 2010
Setting up my Classroom Part 1
Some background before I get into my actual plan for setting up my classroom. I began teaching in my district as a inter-school loop teacher which means that I went between the 3-5 Elementary school and the 6-8 Middle School. Each year I was in a different classroom which was obviously very difficult. To make matters worse, when I was at the Middle School, I was on the ground floor and my room was used by the Summer Y program. This continued for the past few years even after I became a full time 6th grade, Middle School teacher. Last year, when I moved from being on a two person team to a three person team, I also moved my classroom upstairs. That meant that my classroom was going to get cleaned in the first couple of weeks of summer. Unfortunately last year, they had to paint my classroom and did not finish this until halfway through August, about 2 weeks before kids came back. This year there was no painting so they had my room cleaned before the 4th of July. Imagine how excited I've been to set it up!
Above are some images of my classroom prior to my changing anything. My room is a bit odd in shape as it falls on one end of the school (meaning that no one abuts one side of my room.) Also my room is more wide than long as well.
As you can see, I have tables as opposed to desks. I'd much rather have round tables but that isn't an option so I'll take the tables I've got. I also have a IWB on the chalkboard, a kidney shaped table that plays double duty as my desk and a place to work with kids, various forms of shelving, and a bunch of chairs with tennis balls on the feet (an idea from my wife.) You can't see it in those pictures but I also have two working desktop computers available in my room and an ELMO.
In the following pictures, you'll see how I began my set up of my classroom.
You'll notice I've set the desks up in sort of a lecture room style. I'm not really completely happy with that as it suggests the focus of my class is on me, talking at the board which is rarely the case in class. I wanted the desk to focus that way in part because it allows students to share with one another either on the IWB or on the ELMO. Otherwise, I was just trying to use the room I had as best I could without putting tables right next to one another. I've also tried to leave quite a bit of space on one chalk board so that I can have a place for kids to put their ideas, drawings, etc. This was inspired by the white boards that Google has placed all over their Googleplex and other places of business. I'm thinking I'm going to bite the bullet and put out colored chalk for the kids to write/draw with even though I'm sure it will create a big mess. Its a shame I don't have a whiteboard and could go ahead and use markers instead but oh well... I wish I had smaller tables to put the computers on but I like not having them right next to one another but instead one on each side of the IWB. I think this will allow more room for students who might be working together to actually do work, as well as giving me more room when I or the students are working with the ELMO. I tried to use the most of my space by putting my shelves of materials (markers, paper, pencils, etc) and math materials along the window wall which I wasn't going to block anyway. Obviously I have a long way to go (as evidenced by the boxes of stuff all over the tables and the walls being essentially blank.) I'll touch on the rest of my set up when I can go back into my room and finish it off (the custodians have to clean and wax the hallways so I haven't been able to go back in) in Setting up my Classroom part 2.
Any thoughts/comments on how the set is going so far?