As you step into my room from the hall, the first thing you would notice about my classroom is the size - it's rather small- perhaps the size of a living room. All of the classrooms on my wing of the school are divided in half because of the number of students we teach, and this makes it look more like a technology lab. I teach struggling readers using the Read 180 program for six periods each day and I have 15 students per class who use the space well and they don't feel cramped.
I have three stations set up in my classroom: computers, small group, and independent reading. The size of my room limits the arrangement. My computers are against one long wall. My student's backs are facing me so I can see their screens. Remember, I teach middle school! I have a half-moon table where I can comfortably seat 5-6 students in a small group. Then I have desks with attached seats in groups of three. There is a storage area below their chairs to hold their binders.
Then I have shelves of Read 180 books and other books for the students to read. We display their earned certificates on another wall. Around the room I have motivational banners and posters. The only window in my room is covered with paper to keep the hot Phoenix sun from heating up the room.
If you asked my students, they would say my class is very structured and normally quiet. My lesson plans are always written on the board. My students copy them down in their planners on Mondays. So they always know what page in our R books (student books) we will be reading that day. Writing my lesson plans on the board helps my students know what group they are in and to know what station they will work in that day. So they never have to come into my class and ask, "What are we doing today?" This method also assures that the absentees know what they have missed.
I hope my students always remember that I believe in them, I expect them to succeed, and I know they can overcome any challenges that they will face in the future.