Who else dreads going back to school and setting up a classroom? This year I dreaded it even more because I needed and wanted to make changes to my classroom setup. Why? First off, I needed to change the orientation of my room. Currently, the “side” of the room was the front of the room. I have 2 whiteboards, one of which was covered to be a bulletin board and the other used for teaching and was the front of the room.
Essentially, I wanted to switch those boards which meant I had to move all the permanent bulletin boards at the current front of the room (mostly resources we use all year long, such as, a timeline, spelling cards, comprehension strategies, etc.) to the other whiteboard to set that up as the new front of the room. All those resources had to be taken down carefully, staples removed and stapled back to the other side of the class.
Secondly, I had to figure out a new desk configuration. At the end of last year, I decided to trade out my single seater desks for two-seater desks because it was hard for the students to fit a Chrome Book, a book, a paper, and pencil on top of the single seaters. Also, class size was reduced by 2 students so technically I would have more room. Normally, my district requires teachers to spend 2 days before school starts to set up classrooms. Normally, I would spend about 3 days just taking things out of the closet and setting them up again. But this time, I would be spending an entire week rearranging everything!
It’s important that students be able to see the projection screen from where ever they sit. I also have a large 30 square rug that the students sit on during instruction when I use read alouds and shared readings. So they need to be able to see the screen from any place in the room: from their desks or the rug. That requires the rug to be up front and in the center of the room with the projector behind it. That meant my laptop and document camera had to be behind the rug to be hooked up to the projector. That was always a hassle walking back and forth from my equipment to the front whiteboard. Yes, I did have remote mice and keyboard but still, I wanted my laptop at the front!
So I came up with a U configuration split down the center with a center island having 3 student desks and my table to hold the projector, VCR/DVD player and …..my AppleTV!! During the summer I bought the new AppleTV 4 for my bedroom so that meant I now had an extra AppleTV. So I took it to school and had the Tech Person put it on the network. Now, I can have my laptop and iPad up in the front with me and all I have to do is use AirPlay to project my laptop or iPad. So much better!
Classroom Library Update
Another change I decided to do this time was to reorganize and update my classroom library. I had all these mismatched baskets and plain labels (and also too many categories). I consolidated my library by taking out some categories to eliminate the need for an extra cart with baskets that I also used as part of my classroom library. Went by Big Lots one day and they had these plastic bins half off so I purchased all the green and yellow ones.
I set up my library with green begin non-fiction categories and yellow fiction categories. I also had some smaller orange bins just for mammals, insects, fish, birds reptiles and amphibians. By consolidating, I eliminated the cart and was able to put all my books in those bins on the newly recovered bookcase. I actually ran short of the contact paper so I had to improvise with yellow construction paper. I also made new labels for all the baskets, printed them in color and laminated them.
Now the challenge is to make sure the students return the books to the correct basket! I’m actually thinking of numbering each basket. Then numbering each book in the basket with the same number to make it easier to put back books in the proper basket.
Not Everything Changed
I didn’t change everything about my room. I did keep some oldies but important resources:
- multiplication tips posters (available from my STORE HERE)
- mathematical practices posters (available from TpT HERE)
- my behavior clip chart
- and pencil pouches
These resources just had to be moved. I use them all year long for math instruction! Multiplication is the gateway to doing higher math in the upper grades and beyond. Anything to help the students learn those multiplication facts! Understanding the reason behind the mathematical practices helps students understand how we use mathematics!
I’ve blogged before about using pencil pouches with my students. It eliminates so many problems and I’ve been using them for the past 4 years!
Chrome Book Shortcuts
Every student will have on the corner of his/her desk a mini-cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts when using a Chrome Book. My school is a 1:1 school so it is important that students learn these shortcuts to improve their efficiency and be tech savvy.
I’m offering the mini-cheat sheet as a FREE DOWNLOAD HERE.
Finally, you’re probably wondering what my classroom looks like now. So here it is!
I’m wishing everyone a successful new school year! Good luck!