Welcome to my Super Stars' kindergarten classroom! A ~mix~ of photos turned out well enough to capture our favorite learning areas from the first two weeks of school, so don't be surprised if you see some bulletin board changes happening as you scroll through the pictures. Please ~do~ come in:
My teacher's desk is where my laptop, personal printer, yearbook materials (I produce the annual for our school), files, professional library, and instructional consumables are stored. My reading table is an extension of that surface and under-desk area. Small group and one-on-one instruction happen here daily, but there's enough carpet space where my Stars can all sit if we have something new or spontaneous to share. The layout of our room makes it possible for us to have multiple meeting areas.
We keep track of the weather, month, day of the week, date, and the number of days we've spent in kindergarten. We read, sing, perform fingerplays, and manage our morning message daily. Book tubs are sorted by genre and include fiction and non-fiction books that I've collected over my twenty-four years of teaching. The back of a bookcase is a handy place to store large anchor charts and writing paper. The morning message easel is equipped with a sentence strip pocket chart, and two dry erase writing surfaces.
Many of our activity areas frame the perimeter of our learning space. Next to the calendar/story area is a bookcase that houses all of our ELA materials. Our wall features letters and sounds, and important words, beginning with our names. Sight words are added as they're introduced. My Super Stars enjoy using a variety of writing tools, paper, whiteboards, and stencils when they visit this area.
Fine motor development, retelling, sequencing, and the role-playing, social problem solving, and language acquisition that occur during dramatic play are all ~musts~ in kindergarten, so my Stars have a variety of puppets, building blocks (Lego, Duplo, foam, wood) and props available to them:
The cradle and small table set with chairs are easy to slide out of the way, opening the floor for group seating when we want to practice with math charts, displays, and manipulatives. The bulletin board to the left is where we display letter-of-the-week crafts.
Continuing around the room, another bookcase acts as a divider and storage for some of our Math and building manipulatives, though many more supplies such as puzzles, builders, book/c.d. sets and thematic materials are stored on shelves covered with muslin curtains. Rolling storage helps to make our learning spaces flexible. Our math cart stores anchor charts on the backside, and easily relocates throughout the room or into the hallway as needed:
The white bins house differentiated materials for student partners. A Super Star named them "busy bins" two years ago:
Here's the most colorful, and usually ~messiest~ spot in our class: our painting, play dough, and art cart area!
Our playdough table and painting easel are available year 'round for student use, while the art cart is more of a space for me and our classroom volunteers. Storage drawers, crates, tubs and bins are full of stickers, stamps, ribbons, pipe cleaners, streamers, paper bags, yarn, wiggle eyes, tissue paper, pompons, glue sticks, and crayon, marker, and paint packs. Craft templates, mock-ups and supplies are stored in Ziploc baggies and sorted by month in crates, which parent volunteers can pull as needed, or can take home and then return in their child's backpack. Instead of filling every child's desk tray with a year's worth of school supplies, all of the extras are stored within easy-to-reach tubs so my Stars can grab and go as needed. A desktop laminator is one of my favorite tools:
Here's a photo from the back of the room:
The generous floor plan of our classroom includes high ceilings, which I like to lower visually for my students with pennants, medallions, or their own artwork hung from clear fishing wire over their desks. This year I actually had a dream about this particular seating arrangement two weeks before school started, and it has worked beautifully! An extra table that seats at least four is free for iPads, mini-laptop use, crafts, or a game played with parent volunteers. Student helpers pass out papers and materials that can be retrieved from the center circle-shaped table. When standing to work, my Stars can easily walk to another surface to join a friend without having to navigate a three-lengths-long set of desks. My Stars joke that these are their "sunflower" tables because the arrangement resembles either the sun OR a flower. Not bad for a kindergarten room in Kansas!
The students' desks have individual cubbies built into them, so they each have their own supplies. When shared materials are necessary, it's easy to add tubs to the center of each table.
I've been given many tchotchkes and gifts of appreciation from my students and their families over the years. The space above our cabinetry and closet is the perfect spot to display them. The wall above our handwashing station features birthday cake charts with my students' special dates on them. The framed artwork is by the wonderful illustrator Pamela Zagarenski. She surprised me and my students two years ago with prints that support our letter and sound focus lessons.
While my students and I enjoy the pops of color that appear throughout the room, it's the neutral background that really sets the tone for our shared learning space. Wooden tables, chairs and closets give a natural feel, especially when we add plants to several surfaces. I've purposely chosen beige or taupe muslin for curtains and bulletin boards, and instead of multiple sets of rainbow-colored book bins, tubs, mailboxes and trays scattered throughout the room, I've opted for wood baskets or black, white, or clear containers.
Thanks for visiting!
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