Take a Virtual Tour of My Classroom!
There are times when I feel more like an interior designer than a teacher. I'm sure there are many of you who can relate to this same feeling at the beginning of the school year. I spend a great deal of time obsessing over the layout of my classroom so that it complements my teaching style and also creates an environment that supports learning. I work hard to arrange my furniture in a way that leaves lots of places for students to gather. I also strive to make my classroom one that is cozy, interesting, and interactive all at the same time. After many tweaks and even extreme makeovers, my classroom finally feels like my "home away from home."
Read on to view a virtual tour of my classroom, see additional pictures of classroom displays, and find downloads of useful posters and tools I use in my classroom.
Classroom Video Tour
Upon entering the hallway outside our classroom, visitors can already tell that they are about to enter Pier 13 (the name we have given our nautical-themed classroom this year). A cruise ship deck serves as the background behind student sailor pictures and individual profile sheets. I like having every student's picture in the hallway so that visitors can see the names and faces of the wonderful kids who reside just inside the classroom doors.
Students spend important parts of the day on our meeting carpet. It is here that I teach reading and writing mini-lessons, share read-alouds with my students, and hold class meetings. Students also use the carpet when completing word study activities, reading from their book boxes, and meeting in small groups for a variety of purposes in all subject areas.
A favorite place for students to read during Reading Workshop is in the dish chairs. The tablecloth and lantern add coziness to an otherwise plain table and also complement our nautical theme.
Students store their personal book boxes on a special bookshelf in the classroom. They retrieve the book boxes before coming to the carpet for Reading Workshop each day. On the cupboards above the bookshelves are theme posters where we will soon post book covers of read-aloud books that share common themes.
Our classroom library is the heart of our classroom. Check back soon for a video that describes how our library is organized!
One of the bulletin boards that I refer to often is this one that displays the "Reading Genres" posters. Students keep careful track of the books they read during the year and are required to record the genre code in their reading log. These posters help remind them of the genre definitions and the codes to use when recording their books. Download the "Reading Genre" posters.
In our classroom, students are always looking for the theme in the books they read. After reading books aloud, we always discuss, as a class, a strong theme that was reflected in the story. At the beginning of the year, I create theme boards with common themes that are found in fiction texts. I color copy the covers of the books we read aloud and add them to the theme that the class feels best fits the book. As more book covers are added to the boards, students are able to make thematic connections between different books. As the year progresses, students determine new themes to add to our boards. Download the new theme posters I created this year.
Our book recommendation board is a great way to keep students excited about reading new books! Students simply fill out book recommendation cards for great books they have read from the classroom library and post them on the board. Classmates take each other's advice and check the board when choosing new books to read. Download the book recommendation card template.