Exciting lesson ideas, classroom strategies, book lists, videos, and reproducibles in a daily blog by teachers

Alycia

I live in New York

I teach third grade

I am an almost-digital-native and Ms. Frizzle wannabe

Rhonda

I live in New Jersey

I teach sixth grade literacy

I am passionate about my students becoming lifelong readers and writers

Christy

I live in New York

I teach K-5

I am a proud supporter of American public education and a tech integrationist

Erin

I live in Michigan

I teach second grade

I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design!

Allie

I live in Nevada

I teach PreK-K

I am a loving, enthusiastic teacher whose goal is to make learning exciting for every child

Genia

I live in Michigan

I teach third grade

I am seriously addicted to all things technology in my teaching

Kriscia

I live in California

I teach second and third grades

I am an eager educator, on the hunt to find the brilliance in all

Brian

I live in North Carolina

I teach kindergarten

I am a kindergarten teacher who takes creating a fun, engaging classroom seriously

Lindsey

I live in Illinois

I teach fourth grade

I am a theme-weaving, bargain-hunting, creative public educator

Setting Up With Students in Mind

By Kriscia Cabral on August 29, 2013
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

One goal I made at the end of the school year was to reconfigure my classroom. I wanted every area of space to serve a purpose. My classroom was missing fluidity and range. Over the summer I researched and devised a plan. Here is a tour of the finished product along with highlights to my reasoning. My focus is more on the idea of what can be done to better meet the needs of all students.

Away with Permanent Seating

My team and I are working towards more individualized instruction for our students. While I want my students to feel a sense of ownership in our classroom, I do not want them to feel as though they must hoard and guard their seating area. This year we have created places for students to sit, but no permanent desk space. There are desks throughout the classroom, but they are all facing in. I want my students to come in every day and find a place to sit. This allows for movement throughout the room and the opportunity to get to know each other better. Students have the flexibility to move to a new seat when needed.

Teachable Space for Students

I’ve had a whiteboard in my room since I inherited the space seven years ago. The problem has always been its location. It was at a teacher’s level in an area also occupied by many student desks. Oftentimes, the kiddos who were sitting on the same side as the board had to crane their necks in order to see what was on it.

In many of the learning modules we use with our students, their final step is to teach someone what they have learned. Before moving the large whiteboard, students shared small student whiteboards, which they had to crowd around. They would also use the main whiteboard. This worked, but oftentimes space was limited due to mini-lessons and small group teaching I was doing at the front of the room.

After pleading and a little bribe of homemade chocolate chip cookies, my teammate's husband graciously came in and made the tedious move. Not only did I get the board lowered, I moved it to the opposite side of my classroom. I now have a nook of empty space that is begging for the company of 4th and 5th graders.

The board looks great and serves its purpose. Students have free range to use it when needed. They have complete access from top to bottom with supplies and manipulative at their level. This was by far one of the best revamp ideas for my classroom.

Tools Within Their Reach

I enjoy watching my students problem solve. How wonderful it is to see that spark in their eyes when they have worked out their own solutions! For this reason, and for my sanity (having 35 kids ask me where things are every day would drive me over the edge), I created a place to store the classroom essentials.

On one side of my room sits a long shelf created to house computers. The shelf covers ¾ of the length of my classroom. I love this area because underneath it there is a long and open space large enough for students to access. Originally, used this space to store my classroom center items and used the shelf above for subject materials. Because these centers will now be located in our community room, I now get to use the space for other purposes.

This really worked out in my favor because of the "no permanent" seating arrangement. The drawers act as lockers where students store their tools and supplies. Students have access to portable desks, which they use often for small group instruction and sitting around the classroom. Our classes do a lot of switching throughout the day and the portable desks are key to quick and easy accessible seating.

Another great tool students love are the privacy boards. I made these by cutting science fair project boards in half. These are great for independent work days when kids do not want to be disturbed. This area also houses clipboards, extra art supplies, and reading phones.

Having tools within their reach is a great way to teach students independence and problem solving. If students are aware of the expectation (we go over this often), they use the tools appropriately. It is important to note that these are all things that kids can get and put back on their own without the help of the teacher. This is one way to help students feel as though they are at the center of their learning.

Lexiled Library

My classroom library has gone through a revamping stage every single year that I’ve been a teacher. How do I set up the books? Do I go by genre? Do I go by author? Should I let the kids do it? I’ve tried them all. This year, using the Book Wizard tool I’ve decided to put the majority of my books together based on their lexile. I’ve started from a low to a high and put a sticker on each book to identify what the level is.

One thing I added to the library this year is a large amount of nonfiction and historical fiction books. Besides correlating with Common Core, I want my students to comprehend the difference. We will also be creating book reviews connected with Augmented Reality and QR codes. This is a project that I will share about in a later post.

Again, my library is at the level of my students. The books are both easy to get to and easy to put back. The check-in and check-out procedure is all done on a Google form that I have a parent volunteer check weekly.

Creating a library space where students have full access and understand the layout is essential to their ability to apply what they know.

Weeklies

The last wall I’d like to share with you is my “Weekly Wall.” This wall is where students go to work on activities that are assigned on a weekly basis (Weekly Grammar, Problem of the Week, and Paragraph of the Week). A large portion of work that my students do is at the independent level. The beginning of the year is spent scaffolding and going over procedure, but by October we are getting into the swing of how our classroom works. Last year I posted all three weekly activities on my back wall. It was an area in my classroom with a lot of wall space. The problem with this was there was too much information in one space. Students were scrunched together at the back of the room and there was lots of chatter. It didn’t work as planned.

This year I have made the attempt to spread the weekly activities throughout the classroom. One wall houses each weekly. This gives students the opportunity to move around the room. It also gives students choice. If a student sees more than five kids at one wall, they know they need to choose another wall to work on.

Community Center

Our Community (Common) Room has been the “Flip this House” of the summer. My team and I researched ways to create spaces that were geared toward student learning and success. One area we knew was lacking vision was our Common Room.

The Common Room is shared among four teachers within it and two on the outside of it. It is a great area of space for many reasons: students can use it for group work, parents have ample space for volunteering, and teachers can join classes together and team-teach lessons. We have used this common space for all of these things, but never had much organization to it. The walls were decorated but not with anything specific. There were areas for students to work, but nothing designated or purposeful. Parents had space for volunteering but their location changed often.

Our goal this summer was to revamp this space and we did it! We started by taking out everything that was inside since we all used it as a storage center. We cleaned out every cabinet, drawer, corner, and shelf. We then created a blueprint for what we wanted to use the space for. We wanted a place where students could dig deeper into their learning. We wanted a place where they could access manipulatives and other hands-on learning devices to find a better understanding in any subject they needed to approach.

We divided the Common Room into centers. Each of us took on the challenge to bring our assigned center to life. In the end, the Common Room now has a Science, Math, Reading, Writing, Art, Media, and Volunteer center housed inside of it. Every corner has been created with student learning in mind.

These are just a few of the ways I took my classroom space and made it more student-friendly. “How does this help the students in my classroom learn?” is the question I often ask myself before making any decisions on my classroom setup. When the kids are physically in the arrangement, I re-evaluate what I have done. I ask the same question and decide if I should keep it the same or try something else. As with lessons and classroom instruction, you adjust to the needs of your students. The important thing to always keep in mind is only make changes if that change will serve a purpose.

What are your tips for classroom set-up? How do you create a space that is student friendly? Please comment and share.

 

 

 

 

Comments (260)

Should there be another persuasive post you can share next time, I’ll be surely waiting for it.
Code Chat

Key West's most thrilling attraction!
When CMM Automotive Mechanics carries out a major service we check, test, replace and repair the required parts to make your car feel like new again.

I must say, I thought this was a pretty interesting read when it comes to this topic. Liked the material. . . . .
Ski School Zermatt

Great things you’ve always shared with us. Just keep writing this kind of posts.The time which was wasted in traveling for tuition now it can be used for studies.Thanks
פאודה פרק 10

Yes, great US Military force. Also, in his post you have given a chance to listen about US Military. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing it.
likemeter

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
Webs adaptadas a terminales móviles

wow, great, I was wondering how to cure acne naturally. and found your site by google, learned a lot, now i’m a bit clear. I’ve bookmark your site and also add rss. keep us updated.
Webs adaptadas a terminales móviles

A very awesome blog post. We are really grateful for your blog post. You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. Great work.
home warranty cost

The internet is bogged down with bogus blogs with no real message but the post was fantastic and well worth the read.Thank you for sharing this with me.
buy percocet online cheap

Very informative post! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign!
Les clés de la minceur dr. Charles pdf

I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance.
Les clés de la minceur dr. Charles pdf

I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work.
free mp3 downloads

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!
download juniper network connect

Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing...
download juniper network connect

Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here.
Barca168.com Agen SBOBET IBCBET 368BET Casino 338A Bola Tangkas
Emporium77.com Agen SBOBET IBCBET 368BET Casino 338A Bola Tangkas

Hey, great blog, but I don’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me please?
prints

I read this article. I think You put a lot of effort to create this article. I appreciate your work.
matcha

Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!
astuce clash of clans generateur

Keep up the fantastic work, I read few posts on this website and I think that your web blog is real interesting and has got circles of fantastic information.webinar services

First You got a great blog .I will be interested in more similar topics. i see you got really very useful topics , i will be always checking your blog thanks. all about search engine optimization

The employers in our database have no problem hiring our members both because we are established with them and they trust us to send them qualified members to work for them.real translator jobs penipuan

I really like the dear information you offer in your articles. I'm able to bookmark your site and show the kids check out up here generally. Im fairly positive theyre likely to be informed a great deal of new stuff here than anyone else!
polizza farmacia

Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”.
State wise Directory of Notable Hotels in US,

You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.
grc in noida

I feel a lot more people need to read this, very good info! . . . . . .
Jual Mainan Bayi

Wonderful article, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information and insights you have so provided here.
steps to make her your girlfriend

The last significant section and the most vital in my opinion is everything about exercises, a crucial element for growing taller naturally.Grow Taller 4 Idiots

I just want to say Thank you for helping people get the information they need. Great stuff as usual. Keep up the great work!!!! ​nyc video production

You have raised an important issue..Thanks for sharing..I would like to read more current affairs from this blog..keep posting.. PREVENTIVO IMPIANTO FOTOVOLTAICO

You are allowed to post names, but not links, unless they are approved and on topic. HTC Repair Abuja

I have a hard time describing my thoughts on content, but I really felt I should here. Your article is really great. I like the way you wrote this information.
Visit Website

I have bookmarked your blog, the articles are way better than other similar blogs.. thanks for a great blog!
www.gbvehiclehire.co.uk

This is a very good tips especially to those new to blogosphere, brief and accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article. IT news update

Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing... private air charters

Should there be another persuasive post you can share next time, I’ll be surely waiting for it.
Should there be another persuasive post you can share next time, I’ll be surely waiting for it.

My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more!
removal

The providers of the home shifting services and packers and movers services in Noida help you to relocate to the new city in quick time and are really happy to serve you.
For more info http://www.findmovers.in/top-packers-and-movers-in-noida

Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!
find out more

Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates.
joint piscine montpellier

I must say, I thought this was a pretty interesting read when it comes to this topic. Liked the material. . .
joint piscine montpellier

wow this good but ,I like your post and good pics may be any peoples not like because defrent mind all poeple ,
removal

This was a really great contest and hopefully I can attend the next one. It was alot of fun and I really enjoyed myself teaching jobs

I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance.
free pinoy tv shows

Thanks very much for this great article;this is the stuff that keeps me going through out these day.
free pinoy tv shows

I would also motivate just about every person to save this web page for any favorite assistance to assist posted the appearance.
microjobs marketplace

My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more!
microjobs marketplace

Wow! What an eye opener this post has been for me. Very much appreciated, bookmarked, I can’t wait for more! best mobile spy app

You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this site.
calaguas island tour

Great post! I am actually getting ready to across this information, is very helpful my friend. Also great blog here with all of the valuable information you have. Keep up the good work you are doing here.
calaguas island tour

Great, This specific net webpage is seriously thrilling and enjoyment to learn. I’m an enormous fan from the subjects mentioned.
Pinwand

Post a Comment
(Please sign in to leave a comment. Privacy Policy)
Back to Top