I have had a fair amount of moving in my career.  I have had five classrooms in the eight years I have taught.  Not too bad.  I have heard of a whole lot worse!  On this page you will find pictures of my past and current classroom, as well as information about how I set up my classroom.  Please note that I am by FAR not an expert on this.  When I moved everyone commented  about how much crap I had in my trailer!  Nice!  However, it is mostly all put away now and is for the most part organized in my classroom!

Pictures of My Third Grade Classroom as of September 2009

Pictures of My * NEW* Second Grade Classroom as of September 2007

Pictures of My Classroom as of July 2006-2007

Pictures of My Classroom in a Trailer 2004-2006

Pictures of My First Classroom 2002-2004

How to Set Up A Room

Pictures of My Third Grade Classroom as of September 2009

I moved from second grade to third grade voluntarily this school year!  I am sorry I never got around to taking pictures last school year.  It was a BUSY one since I as at my new school and I was overwhelmed. This year I am still overwhelmed but at least now have pictures!  And yes, I did spend some time cleaning before these pictures were taken.  My room was a wreck!

 View of the Entire Classroom

This isn't the *best* panoramic view of my classroom, but hopefully it gives you some ideas.  I basically stood at my classroom door and the moved from left to right in a circle (clockwise) and took pictures.  Some things overlap in the frames or there may be a gap in space between frames because I am a crappy photographer :) .

Moving from left to right you see:

Picture one: front door and coat hangers.  You can also see a peek of the listening center in the floor with a blue rug.

Picture two: My amazing storage and counter.  You will also see a peek of all of our book boxes in on the tall brown shelf and the reading table.

Picture three: My back wall with reading information and our meeting area and easel.

Picture four: My teacher area (shelves only- no teacher desk), cafe menu with the reading center underneath.

Picture five: The computers are straight ahead.  Part of the classroom library is to the right against the front wall on the white shelves. The front door is directly behind my back.


Homework and Agenda

This is the agenda and homework board.  This is right next to the front door.  The homework board is published by Premier agendas.  My school ordered the agendas for students and this comes with the agendas as a model for teachers to complete. 

The green sheet above the homework board is the homework calendar.  This idea was created by two fabulous third grade teachers ( Hey Angie and Heather!).  Everyday has a different activity assigned for the whole month. Our entire grade level then used this for uniformity.

 Each month students are given a copy of the calendar and staple it into a composition notebook.  All assignments are then complete in the notebook.  This stays in a pocket of their Parent Communication binder (similar to the STAR binders).

 I keep a calendar  on top of the homework board so I can make sure I teach the kids what they need to be able to do their homework!!!

The agenda is written on the board in a circle like HET methods.  Next to each icon is the Essential Question for this lesson.  So it is a schedule and EQ board combined.

Classroom Library

I changed out the shelves I use to store my books.  My cute old blue shelves belong to the old school I worked at so I had to leave them. I bought some bulky black wire shelves last year.  I sold them because they took up too much space.  These are cheap white shelves from Wal-Mart.  I took the shelves apart to only use one section so they would fit under the board.  This only took two boxes of shelves so it was pretty cheap.

The books are organized the same.  You can read more about how I organize my books here.


I have my computers arranged in an "L" shape.  The student computers are on the long part of the L.  I keep my laptops, personal mementos and some paperwork on the short part of the L.  You can also see my ginormous jug o' water.  I like to keep hydrated : ).  Underneath the computers are boxes of paper for the copier and extra notebook paper.

Classroom Library Continued

Next to the computers (you can see a keyboard in the corner!)  I have my collection of chapter books.  I kept these pretreated from my other books simply because there was not enough room. I spy a couple of boxes that still need labels!  Oopps!  Better get on that!  This shelf is back-to-back with the math shelf.





Math Shelf

On the other side of the chapter books shelf I have the math shelf.  You can see I am still introducing games because there are a few empty places and baskets. I label the baskets with index cards hole punched and connected with  binder rings.  I got these really cheap at Office Depot.  They were not $15.00 when I got them!  The price must have gone up!  On top of the shelf are small white, blue and black baskets.  In these are different  word problems type on strips and stapled together for math journals.  Students choose a word problem, tear it off the strip and glue it in their math journals to solve.

Reading Center

Since the chapter books and math shelf  stick out from the wall they created a sort of cubby area.  This is my reading center. I have a shelf with book form our current focus (We are comparing and contrasting Cinderella stories and then will be doing a character analysis from some of these books).  Above the book shelf is the CAFE menu.  You can tell I have taught a lot!  Sheesh!  So far I only have two strategies posted, but I need to add comparing and contrasting- does that count?






Writing Center

Next to the reading center is writing center.  I took the legs out of the table for two reasons: 1.) Debbie Miller does this in her book Reading With Meaning and if I remember correctly she said it help visually take up less room and I agree. 2.) The 2Sisters talk about have different spaces and the floor being good for the kinesthetic workers.  Here is my solution. Kids love to sit on the floor and work. It is the perfect height for them!

I needed a place to put all of our writing materials and resources but was running out of room.  My solution was to just put the shelf on the table.  The dictionaries are so heavy that that shelf won't budge at all!  And when the kids are standing the top of the shelf is the perfect height for them to grab paper.

Teacher Area and Storage

I decided this year to get rid of my teacher desk.  I don't think I was supposed to but somehow managed too! I wanted to do it because I felt too much of the room belong to me.  I feel like the room should be shared and I had a huge hunk of real estate.  So instead I use these two shelves to store most of my books.  I have three drawers for some of the office supplies I kept inside of the desks. I put my stackers with paper to use in class in the top right shelf.  The left stacker is everything that needs to be filed!  I need to get on that! 

I have the behavior stick chart back here and a carpet for a child to cool down if they are upset. 

To the left of the photo are my file cabinets.  I store all my crap on top of the short file cabinet. It is supposed to be neater, but I got tired of cleaning at this point!  My purse is not normally out in view- I pulled it out because I took the photos right before I left!  In the white large laundry basket in the floor is all of my big books.






Meeting Area

This is my carpet area with my easel for whole group lessons.  I have my pocket chart which is now mostly used for word sorts.  I love the fact the the entire back wall is bulletin board /cork like material.  I can hang up everything with just push pins!

I did cover the entire back walls and managed to do so for under $20.  If you have ever bought fabric then you know this is cheap!

Each panel of bulletin board is one twin sized flat sheet from Wal-Mart. I did not buy the sheet set, but rather the individual sheets sold separately.  I think I caught them on sale for $3.00 each but normally they are around $5.00.They are almost the perfect length and width.  I did have to cut off some extra, but not too terribly much.

Behind the easel is a grid like poster.  I got this idea from the 2Sisters. This is our Expanding Vocabulary chart.  When I am doing a read aloud and come across a good word I think they kids should know but don't , I add it to this chart.   I was better at the beginning of the year and I need to get back in the habit.  The kids liked it!   Then I would ask the kids to use it in a sentence and then try to use ore than one of the vocabulary words in a sentence.  I need to do this some more now that I think of it...I will add it to my to do list!  The final idea is that they can use this as a word chart for their writing.

What's On Our Walls

Here is a picture of all the posters and things on the back wall:

This is the class promise we write in the beginning of he school year. Around the class promise are the symbols they created to represent themselves.  This is from the Tacky the Penguin activity at the beginning of the school year.


I got this idea from a teacher at Brookwood Elementary when I attended a conference there. Next to the expanding vocabulary poster are these comprehension strategies.  I wanted to show my students that these strategies are not used in isolation.  A good reader integrates them and used them ALL as they read.  SO I picked four I felt students had the most exposure to.  Then as we are reading our read aloud (Tales o f a Fourth Grade Nothing)  we add to the chart.  I partly model this and now the students are adding to it with some prompting ("Ohh, I  can make an inference here about how Peter's Mom is feeling..." I don't do it every time I read aloud, just when there is a long enough amount of time.  I have really enjoyed this and have a great deal of value in it.


My students and I created this together when we did the lesson on how to choose a good book.  I got this idea from Proteacher poster.















Small Group Table

This is the small group meeting table.  I sue this for both reading and math.  It is pretty much my workspace as well.  Since I don't have a desk I use this to spread out. Behind the desk I have a series of white carts with drawers.  The larger bottom drawers have the majority of our math manipulatives.  This way when I do small group math they are all together.  The smaller drawers on the top right have materials for guided reading.  The smaller drawers on the left have office supplies for me.


Behind the guided reading table is this cubby shelf.  In each of the drawers/ tubs I have leveled readers.  Our district provides books for each classroom PLUS a bookroom full of books.  I know, we are very lucky.  Each drawer/ tub has different levels and then I labeled the buckets with a cute, cute font from Cottontail Graphics linkware section.

On top of the shelf are my guided reading binders with guided reading lesson plans (ones by the publishers to match the books, my guided reading plans I have created, a blue basket of crap that needs to be transferred into some neat stackers that have been waiting in my car forever and then tubs of the readers my groups are working on right now.


The decoding posters on the wall were printed from a Proteacher post.

Book Boxes

Next to the small group table there is a tall shelf to store all of out book boxes for Daily 5.  Each child has a book box they fill with books of their choices.

 To the left of the shelf it s rolling file cabinet that has all my information for portfolios.  Notice is is stacked high with things that need to be filed!! 

Underneath the file cart is a black crate. This black crate has hanging files for our Thursday folder information to go home.  I had a nifty (and expensive) literature sorter that I bought at Office Max.  It didn't survive this last move and I didn't want to spend $50 so I just got a crate instead ; )!


Counter and Sink

The counter area is where students turn in work to the black stackers.  There is also a basket with supply materials for them.  In the clean paper basket is a pencil sharpener, sharp and dull pencil jars, a roll of tape, staple- gripper-taker-outer and a stapler.



Listening Center

Under the pencil sharpener (my kids don't really use this one because we have 3 electric ones I have collected over the years) is our listening center.  There are two baskets of books on tape- listen to me I am free and stop don't listen to me! I am taken!  If kids don't finish a book during their listening to reading turn they put it in the stop basket.  Only books in the I'm Free basket can be listening too unless the child is finishing their past books. So far it is working!


Pictures of My * NEW* Second Grade Classroom as of September 2007

I have moved down to second grade and I am very excited!  I just got into my room and I am trying to organize everything!  I have so MUCH stuff!  I am posting my pictures as I work through all my "stuff!'  The first picture in the box will be my "before" picture and the second picture will be the "after" picture.  Or at least, before and after for one day.  I have actually been in my room since, but forgot the camera. 

Update 9/01/07 The very last pictures are the most current pictures of my classroom.  We have been in school for three weeks (it is hard to believe) and we are getting settled into our new room!  I have tried to put a picture of the same view below the original picture so you can compare and contrast the views!

All right!  This is the picture of my door.  I tried to take pictures in 360 degree motion to give everyone an idea.  You will notice that to the left of the door I have a counter with cabinets and a sink (that is out of view of the camera).


Here is an updated picture of the back counter by our door. It is a little crowded right now!! On the far right side the Friday Folder boxes.  The black stacker trays are where students turn in work.  However, I have not labeled them, so they are turning in work to the same basket!  I guess I better get on making those labels this weekend!!  On top of the paper towel dispenser are all my office forms (attendance, counselor forms and clinic forms).  You can also see a peak of the sharp and dull pencils cans behind the white ice cream basket.

 The little aquariums are tadpoles.  We are studying life cycles and a student had found tadpoles in the lid of his pool.  It was perfect timing!!   Here is a close up!






































Ok, now if my back is to the door and I take a right, this is my guided reading area and small group area.  You can also see my desk area starting to come to life. You will notice I have a table in the picture on the left.  When I came in there had been a mistake when rearranging furniture.  The custodians had accidentally (directions were not clear) moved 3 extra tables in my room PLUS I already had an extra storage cabinet, bookcase and computer table  I did not want.  The room was FULL!  The second picture on the right is after I rearranged the picture WITHOUT the extra furniture.

The large sheet of red paper is the student computer.  It is covered to keep dust off it- but I don't think it is working!!!

I took this picture when I was standing in our meeting area.  you can see our door, guided reading table with all my materials on the shelf behind it. To the right is  a student computer.  Next to the computer is another shelf of math manipulatives.  And finally next to this shelf is my teacher's desk area.

Here is a close up of the shelf right next to the door.  it contains all of my guided reading materials. On the tops you see the green, yellow and red bins which will hold each reading groups books and materials.  Below that are several white stacking drawers.  These drawers hold all kinds of reading and office materials. Each drawer is labeled so I will actually remember where to put things back!  On the next shelf down is my boxes for making words, brain phones and bucket of reading games.

This is the other shelf behind the reading table.  On the top I keep a small drawer set for pens and pencils (I also keep the little black turning thing on my table for pens- I never can find one when I need one so now I have TONS all over!)  I also have MY pencils sharpener that I only use or the helper of the day when they sharpen all the dull pencils.  he yellow and pink pots hold the birthday pencils.  Students can choose a pencil from the pot on their birthday.

I keep  math manipulatives on this shelf.  There are several white drawer sets labeled with each kind of manipulative.  The math manipulative labels are on the Getting Organized  page. In the little blue basket on the second shelf I keep erasers for dry erase boards.  The little white shelf next to this has been a life saver!  It is filled with shrunk down class lists!  When ever I need to check something off, I just reach behind me and they are ready to go!  he binders our my anecdotal note binder and data binder.

This is another shelf of math manipulatives behind my desk.  It is right next to the reading table.  We have so many math manipulatives it took two shelves to house them all! You can also see the rolling filing cart i have beside my desk.  I use this to store student portfolios instead of a file box.  It is much easier to file things.

This is a picture of my desk.  you can see it is set up much like years past.  The major difference is that I no longer keep my black stackers on my desk.  I use the black stackers to hold all the copies and activities for the upcoming week.  I now keep it on the shelf behind my desk so my desk looks cleaner! You can see it in the picture right above this one.

Here is a view from behind my desk.


This view is from the door to the center of the room

The table with tons of stuff  piled on it is my small group table!  Yikes!  You will notice in the left picture there IS more stuff spread out than the right picture...right?  You can tell, can't you?!?!

This is the back wall of the classroom.  You will notice some extra furniture and a file cabinet I needed to move.  The table on the right will be my writing center.  This is the first year I have ever had enough room for a writing table!! Yeah!

Here is a picture of the same view.  It really looks a lot different now!  You can see the writing center and the back half of the meeting area and classroom library.



This is the pile of junk in the center of my room.  All of this is stuff that needed to be unpacked!!!  I did make a LOT of progress that day.  most of the boxes in the right picture are actually empty.  Somehow in the move I have ended up with a TON of empty storage baskets and bin.  What is up with that?!  I am sure I will find a use for them!


Here is another view of the center of my room from the door.  Now you can actually see the other side past all the junk!!

This picture really gives you a good view of the classroom library and the meeting area. You can see the two painted blue bookshelves and the rolling cart full of books.  I needed even more space so I had to use my book cart!!! You can also see how the calendar fits in and the easel area.
































Here is the beginnings of my classroom library area.  This area needs A LOT of work.  First, my father has built me another bookshelf to match in size and shape.  I am going to paint both shelves the same color to unify them.  I need to do that in the next week or two. Then I need to go through all my baskets!  They all got mixed in the move.  I also want to get rid of all the baskets that are not white so they all match!!  Since I already have several extras, this shouldn't cost a thing!

Basically, the entire wall under my bulletin board will  be our classroom library.

Here is a completed picture of my classroom library and meeting center.    You can see that I painted the book shelves a pales blue and changed all the baskets to white.  I was really please with how this turned out.  I like how the books and baskets really stand out on the shelves. The small boxes on top are chapter books in a series. I labeled each individual book and the students have had a much easier time putting books away. You can find more about my classroom library organization on the Classroom Library page.

Here you can see my word wall that is above the classroom library.  To the left is my math calendar bulletin board.

This is the left side of the library where the calendar is.  You can also see where students store their book boxes on the metal shelf. The white drawers contain materials for calendar.

The easel is in the classroom library area (the book shelves are to the right just out of the picture).  I bought this ADORABLE carpet off Ebay for only $100 with shipping.  I got it from Andy's Carpets (I think). 

The pocket chart stand is right behind the easel so I can roll it out when we need to use it. It is actually an rolling garment rack from Wal-Mart.  It cost about $15.00. I used shower curtain rings (the cheap clear ones) to hang the pocket chart. You will notice there are several rings at the top and also two on the bottom to make it more sturdy.  I have clothes pinned a short vowel song to the pocket chart so we could all sing it !I have a sturdy blue on on the back side and the red one is the $9.00 Wal-Mart pocket chart.  It is made a bit cheaper, bit it is working fine on my cheap rack!





Here is the beginnings of our writing area.  You will notice that the shelf on the left holds paper and it will hold some dictionaries and thesauruses.  On the whit shelf on the table (it is a shoe rack from Wal-Mart) I have all my boxes of art materials (markers, crayons, etc.).  I actually have changed this area a little since this picture as well.  I take pictures next time I go as well!

Here is a close up of the organized writing shelf.  It has construction paper organized by color.  This is simply a bankers box I bought forever ago at Office Max.  There are also dictionaries, Spellexes, a box or rulers, a drawer set of pens and a large box of stamps. 

This is our writing table center.  You can see the shelf to the left.  On top  of the table is a shoe shelf that holds all of our writing supplies. On top of the shelf are several stackers of writing paper for writing workshop.  The kids LOVE sitting and working at this table!!

This is a close up of the writing materials   All of the materials have labeled boxes (well, except for the far right two.  I am making those labels this weekend!!)  This has made clean up time SO much easier for my kids!!  There are copies of all the labels on the Getting Organized page.


Yeah!  I took this at the end of the day to make me feel better!  These are ALL empty boxes I needed to break down and take to the dumpster! This picture made me feel like I had accomplished a good deal!

This is a  picture of the shelf in the front of the room.  This holds some of the working with words materials, Leap Frog Materials and also on the bottom are the math tubs.  You can see a peek of the director's chair that I use for read aloud and also as the Author's Chair during writers workshop.



Pictures of My Classroom as of July 2006-2007

Update Sept 2006

I have just moved into a wonderful new classroom.  I am really pleased with all the space, an exterior door and window, sink and bathroom!  It will be like heaven after being in a trailer. This is a work in progress.  I am no where near done- but it will give you some ideas for how the room is arranged! I am going to try to up load the pictures a little differently so hopefully this page loads a little faster. Click on the picture to see a larger version of it.

The bottom picture is the most recent picture of this area.  I took these on Friday and school starts on Monday!  Hard to believe school is starting!


This is a picture from the doorway facing the left.  You can see my desk area and storage cabinet.  Under the white board I have my writing center/ resources.






This picture is of my messy reading area.  To the left of the green bulletin board is my tall cabinet of my teaching resources.  This is all my professional reading, Scholastic Teacher books and the district's curriculum.  Right now the table is littered with *junk*

The box on the back table is for the boxes of tissues the students bring in on the first day.



In the very back wall of my classroom I have a sink with counters (Can you see it hiding behind all the student chairs?).  Right now the counter has my Friday Folder box, the office stackables to turn work into, office supplies for the kids (hole puncher, stapler, tape, extra pencils) and the big green and white box is all of my posters.  I am leaving it there until I go through all my posters and throw some OUT!  To the left you can see my easel which I will use in reading and writing mini lessons.  It is stuffed with posters and charts we made in class last year so that will need to be cleaned out as well!















This is a close up of my desk area.  I had it sticking out from the wall so if I sat at it, it would face the classroom.  I changed it for a few reasons.  First of al, it didn't look right.  Second of all, it went against what I believe in the classroom.  I think the students  should share the classroom for the year.  If most of the space is mine, I think they will feel like they are "leasing it" for the year (In the words of Regie Routman!). 

Anyways, after that vent, I figure I never actually sit at it, so it can face the wall.  The stackers against the cabinet hold all my copies and activities for each day of the week.  The top stackers is for *stuff* that teachers collect.  Click here to read more how I organize my desk.

The cart next to the desk is an old microwave cart my in-laws gave me.  The cart holds all kind of "stuff" and is a great hiding place.

On this cart I keep all the "things" that seem to clutter up my area.  For example, there are student handbooks and extra Open House packets on top. On the  top shelf I keep a HUGE box of laminated maps we have top have in our room (but is difficult to store), my won paper cutter and the card board box has extra file folders.

On the bottom shelf is my pantry of snacks and the plastic box I use to store student information and records (similar to portfolios).



This is my meeting area and class library.  It is directly to the left of the sink. Right now it is a BIG mess because I am trying to reorganize all the books.  I am really worried about the amount of space because there is no way 20-25 kids will fit here.  Unfortunately, there is no other place in my room so I am stuck with this.  I guess I will have to make it work!

This is the most recent picture of my meeting area and classroom library.  I have hung many of the posters we created during mini lessons and I have also added the genre posters from Beth Newingham's website.



This is a close up of my library.  I have four shelves with book baskets in them.  I am trying to reorganize all the baskets and create a spreadsheet of all the books that I have.  I keep on forgetting  what books I have, and I have bought some doubles!

The steamer trunk was from a husbands friend who was about to trash it and offered it to me. Right now I have nothing stored inside.  I am sure before the year is over I will have something stuck in it!  The yellow thing on top is a school bus rug that will be in the library.  I also have several colorful pillows for kids to lounge on that go on top of the trunk.


OK, so this is definitely a work in progress!  This is the shelf right behind my reading table.  On the top left a black, orange and white magazine files.  Each guided reading group will be assigned a magazine file.  All their guided reading books and guided reading spiral notebooks will be kept in their group's magazine file.

To the right of the magazine files is my guided reading bucket.  I have pens, markers, speedie readies, and my guided reading plan book.   On the second shelf under the magazine files is a big blue tub of magnetic letters.  I used them when I did a working with words activity.  I need to organize these- all the magnetic letters are just in baggies!

Each of the white baskets on the right has guided reading stuff: one basket is for commercial games I bought at Education Learning Games, another has my whisper/ brain phones/ sponge erasers (from the dollar store- it was a package of cheap kitchen sponges), markers and Making Words activity lessons.


This is a picture of my class from the front door.  It gives a good idea of what the whole classroom looks like.














I created this information "bulletin  board " to post important information.  It has our class rules, lunch menu, specials rotation and so on.

I simply hot glued the fabric directly to the cement brick wall and surrounded with boarder.  I then hot glued any information to the fabric!

This is where students turn in homework and any other assignments.  It is a microwave card with pull out baskets.  The top basket contains student supplies like a stapler, hole punch and tape.  The second basket holds counselor and clinic passes.


This is the front shelf under the white board.  I use it to store all my dictionary and other writing resources.  The shelf on the right is the writing center students can use to access writing supplies.  The pink crate on the right contains clipboards.

Read more about the writing center here.



Pictures of My Classroom in a Trailer 2004-2006

Update: October 2004

I (voluntarily) moved into a trailer in the middle of the year to allow the new fourth grade teacher a room in the building (so she wouldn't be isolated).  Here are a few pictures of my small, but new home!

The view from my desk.


My messy desk!


If you would like to read more about my moving into the trailer and how I stored and organized all my *stuff* into a small place, click here.

Pictures of My First Classroom 2002-2004

This is a diagonal view of my classroom.  I am standing in the doorway and I turned very slightly to the right.  Here you can see all of our tables.  Because we team teach we do not use desks.  On the center of the tables are white buckets. Students put all their materials for each class in their buckets to transport things from class to class.  At the very back of the classroom you will see my white easel.  I conduct mini-lessons here in front of the easel and students sit in the floor on the tile and carpet in front of the sink.  There are chairs stacked in this area now.


This is the view of my classroom if  you are standing in the doorway and turn sharply to the right.  Here you can see my computer, the classroom library and just a peak of my Homeworkopoly board.  I have had several people ask questions about using Homeworkopoly.  Check this site out to print it and how to use it.  Read here about how this teacher uses it in her classroom.


This is the view from the doorway when you look straight ahead.  You can see my desk and big M&M guy.  The boxes to the left are the cubbies that hold student materials since they do not have desks.  On the back door you can see my AR chart to keep up with student's AR points.  I have tried many difference, more cutesy methods but they were too much work.  I made it simple this year, but still kind of stuck with my frog theme.

How to Set Up A Room

I am NOT an expert at this, but I do have a few suggestions.  Hopefully they will be helpful and you will not spend the eight days I have spent this summer in my classroom.  To be fair, I have done more organizing than setting up, so it was not spend just putting things up.  But it was A LOT of work.

 How long it takes to set up a classroom varies from person to person and how much stuff you have.  Some can set it up in two days flat.  Me, I am eight or nine days (but as I said above I do more than just set up). Here are a few things to consider:

1.  Consider what areas are important in your room.  For example, for me, I have to have a whole class meeting area and a classroom library.  Those are important for me.  I also want a  shelf for my writing materials.   When thinking about the room, I had to carefully think where I wanted these.  I did not want to put the class library books by the coat hangers because I did not want students to accidentally put books in their book bags without signing them out.  I did not want the class meeting area by the cubbies because I did not want any "wandering fingers" to take something out of someone's personal cubby. Consider:

  • Can every student see the board and/ or overhead from their seat?

  • Can students get up and turn in work without disturbing others? (Clear path)

  • Can students get tissues without disturbing others? (Clear path)

  • Can students get materials without disturbing others? (Clear path)

  • Can students get up to go to the bathroom without disturbing others? (Clear path)

  • Your personal desk area

  • Plugs and computer internet drops might determine where computers are

2.  If possible try to figure out your room measurement and size before you actually go in.  Lakeshore has a great classroom designer that will allow you to create you classroom on paper and "move" furniture around. This may save your back.  But, if you are like me, you just "guestimate" your classroom dimensions and then when it is time to arrange, NOTHING fit.  Nice.  Don't forget to look for plugs and TV and internet hook up boxes.  This might affect your plan.  Here are a couple other sites to use if you want to plan your classroom layout.




3.  Begin moving furniture.  Remember, children need A LOT of room to pull out chairs from their desks.  Don't be fooled! : ) It might look like a lot of room now, but you might change your thinking when the area is filled with 9 and 10 year olds!

4.  Go ahead and put the backgrounds and boarders up on your bulletin boards.  Go ahead and get this done for two reasons: one it brightens up the room immediately and two, if you wait too long you may have to move too much furniture, boxes and other "stuff."

4.  After I arrange furniture, I like to organize things that I KNOW how I want it.  For example, when I moved into my classroom and had a MILLION boxes to unload (it was so many and so overwhelming), I unpacked my "teacher shelf" first.  This is my shelf of manuals and teacher resources.  I knew exactly how I had this pictured.  It was an easy place to start an gave me a direction to go in.  Once I had these big boxes unpacked, I felt on a "roll."  I didn't stand around wondering what to do next!!  It might help to divide your room into "zone."  For example my library would be one zone, the back counter another, the reading table and my desk another and so on.  Then unpack these areas one at a time.  Or even walls of the room.  Unpack everything that will be placed on the front wall.  This might keep you form being overwhelmed as well.

5.  After you have moved all your furniture and are SURE it will stay there, you can start putting up posters. To be honest, I will have VERY little on my walls when the year starts.  I am a big believer in having everything on the walls meaningful for the kids.  I actually want them to USE the stuff up there!  To insure this, we usually make the charts and posters together as a class.  Some things I will have on my walls when the year starts:

  • ABC chart with cursive manuscript

  • Calendar

  • Specials Rotation Poster that I make (art, music, etc)

  • Lunch Menu Poster

  • Homework Chart

And that is about it.  I will keep thinking about this because I feel I may have missed something.  But my point is, I have very little on the wall. Don't worry- it will fill up fast!!!

If you are looking for pictures of other classrooms to jump start your ideas make sure to check out my Classroom Links page.  I have kindergarten to fifth grade classrooms listed here.  Almost all of these have pictures (it was generally the one criteria I looked for to add the link!!!).

Also, another site with TONS of pictures of other class rooms is Ms Powell's site.  Click on the classroom tours buttons on the top right.  Awesome!



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