Over the last week, I have done a lot of work in my classroom. Going into my sixth year, I have made a number of changes in there and what I am going to do. I thought I would take an opportunity to share what my room looks like and explain what I am going to do.
Just ignore the overflowing garbage cans. They have yet to be emptied. 😉
This year, I am putting students in groups of 4-5 as opposed to sides or rows. There are so many lessons and activities where students need a partner or small group, so I decided that instead of making them move all the time, they would already be in groups. One thing I want to figure out is a quick switch to rows when needed for tests. My assistant principal liked this idea and agreed that if they start in groups from the beginning and it is all they know, it will probably help.
Here are some other important student areas. The organizer holds many important materials for students suck as pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, and note cards. It is actually storage for screws and nails and such that I picked up at Lowe’s thanks to an idea on Pinterest. There is also dictionaries, thesauri, and MLA and APA books for students to use for reference as needed. My books are on the second shelf.
The absent work crate is a system I have been using for awhile. The current week folder has a folder for each day of the week and then I file the papers in other hanging folders as the week goes on. This has been one of the best ways for me because students know where they need to go to get work when they were absent and it keeps me organized. I have to put the papers in there at the end of each day, freeing up space for the next day’s handouts, and it make filing at the end of each trimester so much easier.
Finally, I use the 10 rainbow drawers for my in-box/out-box system. It is consistent because students know where to go and it is easy for me to transfer work to grading folders from the drawer. I am huge on color-coding all my classes.
Each day, students need their folder and notebook. For folders, I give each student a file folder and they store it in the classroom in the appropriate bin (see the color-coding again?). Notebooks are kept in the drawer cart – a great find at IKEA – and rotated to the top each hour for students. This helps ensure all necessary materials are actually in class for students.
This is the year…the year I will stay organized and my teacher area will be clean. I figure, you know, year six is a great time to figure it out. Luckily, I found some inspiration to help me try to stay a bit more organized and less cluttered.
First of all, Pinterest gave me the idea for these folders on my desk to help keep paperwork off it. I know it will be up to me to make sure those files are under control, but my hope is giving everything a place will help with most of that battle.
I also love the teacher organizer from Lake Shore Learning. Paper is my downfall to organization so I hope this will help me know what is for each day and keep future handouts of out the way of what I need that day.
The small 12-drawer rainbow cart is for paper work such as class lists, grade sheets, conference notes as well as data for each class. Again, if everything has a place I hope I can find it.
Here’s hoping my desk looks like it does now all year! 🙂
On The Walls
The weekly schedule is on my whiteboard behind my desk. I do update it for the entire week so students have an idea what is coming up. I am in love with the star clings on the board. They are dry-erase and great for announcements all students need.
We have limited bulletin board space in our hallway. 😦 I try to make the most of it though. The left board is the “Success!” board. First trimester, this will be used in my Academic Enrichment (ACT Prep) class. My co-worker who designed the class started a tradition of putting student names on cars when they scored proficient on a reading passage. I am going to do this in my section as well. In the other trimesters, it will be used to showcase student work and any other success students want to share. The board on the right is for grade updates. I will be using the chalkboard in the middle as a reading board. My co-teacher Jacqueline and I will each write what we are currently reading on there, changing it as we finish books. We will also showcase books, reading countdowns, and many other things related to reading.
Finally, I love this reading sign on of my coworkers got for me for my birthday. So fitting! 🙂
One of the biggest projects in my classroom this year was organizing my classroom library. Over the last two years, my library has exploded. I wanted to make it more user friendly for students to help with organization and steering students to a great book.
First, I decided to sort the books my genre. I used smiley stickers by color to help distinguish the books. I have a master key on the white board and a smaller one over each section throughout the classroom. I also switched to bins this year to help with the organization a bit. I’m hoping that will make it easier for students to keep the library somewhat organized so it is easier to find books.
Fiction Section – includes realistic fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy, and horror/suspense
Window Area 1 – includes biography/autobiography/memoir, non-fiction/informational, poetry/verse, and graphic novels
Window Area 2 – Series and Collections
I am also trying to help students read series in order so they know what goes together. That is how this area is organized (though I am almost out of space!). Each books has a small dot on the spine with a number. I hope author names will help show which books go together.
Books on Display
Finally, I like to pull books out of the shelf and put them on display for students. My current display is “Books Mrs. Crawford read over the summer.” I have other ideas such as banned books (for banned book week), Halloween books, books I am thankful for (borrowed from Mrs. Andersen at YALove), student choices, top checked out books, if you liked the Hunger Games, etc.
I would love to hear about your classroom and some of the organization methods you use. I also would love to see other classroom libraries. Feel free to share ideas for book displays as well.
Happy school year!