Saturday, August 17, 2013

2013-2014 Classroom Tour and a Linky Party!

Admission time:

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!

Hallway board 2 photo 20130816_153630_zps80ef6ec8.jpg

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.

Hallway board 3 photo 20130816_153639_zps48caea8a.jpg

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.

Hallway board 4 photo 20130816_153647_zps49e8645a.jpg

Come inside and take a look around, panning from the left of the room to the right:

View from door 2 photo 20130816_153714_zps48936d15.jpg

View from door 3 photo 20130816_153717_zps9199b23f.jpg

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.

View from door 4 photo 20130816_153721_zps5f4b14ef.jpg

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.

View from door 5 photo 20130816_153725_zps28d8d13e.jpg

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.

Closets photo 20130816_153733_zps0e0c9f1e.jpg

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.

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(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:

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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:

Big Books photo 20130816_154006_zps194dc1b4.jpg

front of room photo 20130816_153818_zps0040d0e0.jpg

Math board photo 20130816_153832_zps51ccaa2a.jpg

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.

computers photo 20130816_153848_zps4ffe7017.jpg

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.

Busy bins Chart Storage photo 20130816_153859_zps6cdac54b.jpg

Here's a few from the students' tables:

Word wall 2 photo 20130816_153955_zps84b40371.jpg

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.

Journals photo 20130816_154030_zpsa4abf708.jpg

Here's another meeting place in the classroom:

Story time photo 20130816_154015_zps0f946a33.jpg

calendar wall photo 20130816_154128_zps0712ef6d.jpg

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.

calendar photo 20130816_154144_zpsd126ef47.jpg

math wall photo 20130816_154150_zps243fa862.jpg

This year, our ten frames are dimensional, with colored stars glued onto clear push pins:

10 frame photo 20130816_154159_zps4dc867de.jpg

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:

view from calendar 1 photo 20130816_1542430_zpsf4575d48.jpg

pretend 1 photo 20130816_154250_zpsb32a3d5b.jpg

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:

Puppets photo 20130816_154315_zps70fdb0a6.jpg

A wall in the pretend center was created by another bookcase:

Math shelves photo 20130816_154258_zpsd2b91d29.jpg

This case houses math manipulatives, easily reached as we work at our desks:

Math shelves 2 photo 20130816_154308_zps8371b2dd.jpg

Moving past the puppets and pretend center, we come to the art cart and craft drawers:

view from sink photo 20130816_154117_zpsa67efe86.jpg

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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:

Art cart 1 photo 20130816_154333_zpsa722ac9e.jpg

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:

painting rack photo 20130816_154348_zpsb6b4b117.jpg

Next to our painting and play dough center is our hand-washing station and birthday display:

birthday cakes sink photo 20130816_154401_zps620001ee.jpg

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!

Teacher desk photo 20130816_154416_zps417579d9.jpg

Reading table 1 photo 20130816_154434_zps08e236f3.jpg

Leveled books photo 20130816_154514_zpsc9421990.jpg

One view from my desk:

Teacher view photo 20130816_154447_zps0888d0f8.jpg

... and the view from the door:

Reading table 3 photo 20130816_154548_zps61b20a97.jpg

I hope you've enjoyed this year's tour of my kindergarten classroom!

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  1. Wow, what a beautiful room. I teach in a very old school building with a small room and very little storage. I love the space definition of your centers and how you utilize your storage and easy access for your students to find things independently and I especially love how put together your room is without being overly stimulating. I am sure your students and families love how you put it altogether, thanks for sharing.

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE your 3-D shapes! That is an amazing idea and I am stealing it!!

  3. What a gorgeous room!!! LOVE the 3-D shapes as well! My room is so tiny, so I'm rather envious! You did an amazing job!

  4. You have a beautiful room! I love all of your different areas. Thank you for the link up!
    Conversations in Literacy

  5. Your room is so organized. It is so impressive!!!!


As always, thank you for your comments, tips, suggestions and questions!