I've always been a lookie-loo. Glossy magazines, colleagues' classrooms, blog posts, and even real estate listings easily grab my attention as I search for new ideas that will help the aesthetic and efficiency of my own living and teaching spaces. You never know what inspiration or solution to a problem you'll find if you just look!
Every year I like to post photos of my classroom to help you generate ideas for your own learning spaces. If you're a regular visitor to Kindergarten's 3 R's, you'll recognize quite a few elements: singular color butcher paper for bulletin board displays, simple trimmers, neutral curtains to cover shelving storage, technology, stars galore, and learning centers positioned circularly around the room for easy movement.
Ready for this year's tour? Welcome to my classroom!
My students' names will appear on the colored stars featured on my "welcome" display. The black crate is for library book collection. See the smaller sign on the wall? It lets specialists and visitors know where we can be located when we're away from our room.
Velcro is our friend! I laminated the "where are we" chart and some colored stars, and then affixed velcro tabs to both. Since I couldn't make up my mind which color star button to use, I made three. This job will be turned over to my Star Helper of the Day in September, so s/he can choose green, pink, or purple.
Come inside and take a look around, panning from the left of the room to the right:
The black crates are for snack bag/lunch bag storage. Our closets and cubby areas are close together and easily crowded. With crates at the end of each row of tables, I'm hoping it will be easier and safer for students to retrieve their food each day. Calling on students using descriptors such as "Stars wearing short sleeves," or "friends wearing stripes" will prevent eight students from rushing the crates at once.
The plastic stars above the students' desks are hung on clear fishing wire. I've measured so that the objects safely hang above MY head as I walk between tables. Student artwork, sight word cards and other die cuts are hung from the hooks throughout the year, changing with the season and/or unit being taught.
The black tub on my Lego/Duplo table is for our take home folder collection. I'll show you what I include in my folder in a future post.
Here's our lunch chart, coat closet, and cubby area. My students have a red or blue tray that works as a mailbox, and their resting mats fit snugly into an adjoining slot.
Daily math includes collecting and interpreting data, which can easily be done on our lunch chart each morning. My students add their names to the correct column after they unpack and prepare to start the day. My Star Helper will relate how many of each lunch item should be requested from the cafeteria as I fill out our attendance and lunch count information.
(See the polka dot trimmer on the whiteboard behind the lunch chart? It's magnetic!)
My Stars sign in each morning also. Oh yes, the glamorous trash can adds so much to this photo:
Here's one carpet/gathering location. Our SMART Board and white dry-erase board and learning objectives are found here. So is our big book cabinet. My math bulletin board features large plane and solid shapes, easy for my Stars to see:
I found common objects such as a Pringles can and tissue boxes and covered them with white construction paper for the cylinder, cube and rectangular prism shapes (the smaller box isn't a ~perfect~ cube, so I'm still on the look-out for one), and used a styrofoam ball for the sphere. Paper was easily rolled into a cone, and a third grade colleague who had a pyramid template (that I was able to enlarge) saved the day so I could complete the board. I used hot glue to adhere clear push pins to the back of the shapes, with one or two pins placed under each object for support.
Apologies for the blurry photo, but here's a quick look at the wallpaper on my desktop computers... color words! I change the wallpaper for each theme, month, or concept being taught. By the end of the year, the wallpaper is our Super Star Sight Word list.
I've moved our busy bins (differentiated math and literacy activities are assigned to each student in September and can be found in assigned drawers) from their original location (in front of the SMART Board) to behind this bookcase. Now students can use the SMART Board without having to lean or climb up on their tippy toes. Hooks with rubber coated safety ends anchor neatly into the holes on the backer board so I can store large chart paper and alphabet cards on metal rings. These hooks can be found at WalMart or most home improvement stores.
Here's a few from the students' tables:
You can see black tubs full of building manipulatives, our word wall, and writing center from here. The multi-colored tubs on top of the cabinetry are full of journals, clip boards, and dry erase boards.
Here's another meeting place in the classroom:
For those that have them, many teachers like to do their calendar, morning message, and math activities using their interactive white board. It's a great space/wall saver, but for my class, I like the calendar, months, 100's chart, and visual counting reminders available to my Stars at any time of the day.
This year, our ten frames are dimensional, with colored stars glued onto clear push pins:
While I appreciate the strong visual of the stars "popping" from the wall, it will also be a helpful fine motor activity for my Star Helper of the Day, gripping, aiming for the center, and firmly pushing the pin into the board.
Here's a view from the calendar. Behind the book cases is the pretend/dramatic play center:
Children love to look at themselves in the mirror as they dress up, role play, and interact with their classmates. But guess what? That mirror works double-duty, since its placement allows me to see into the area, which is partially blocked by my basket stand full of puppets:
A wall in the pretend center was created by another bookcase:
This case houses math manipulatives, easily reached as we work at our desks:
Moving past the puppets and pretend center, we come to the art cart and craft drawers:
Students understand that most areas in the classroom are for their use. A few, like the art cart and my desk, are to be used by adults only:
The cart gives me, our aide, and parent volunteers an area to work on laminating, creating tags, or preparing art materials. Everything is within reach.
I have both a wall mounted and floor stand for our paintings:
Next to our painting and play dough center is our hand-washing station and birthday display:
Continuing around the room, we're now at my desk and reading table area. The door accesses a storage room shared with a grade level colleague. Oh look, another lovely garbage can!
One view from my desk:
... and the view from the door:
I hope you've enjoyed this year's tour of my kindergarten classroom!