Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Classroom Makeover 2: Just beginning

Tracy and I met for the first time today to put all of our thoughts and summer purchases together. Seems like we are going to make a good team because we went for different but complimentary purchases but still have the same goals in mind.

Group areas
Today, we moved some of the furniture to create a large group area in the front of the classroom where the bulletin boards and white board are located. We also found a small wooden table that was being given away by another teacher to house the Elmo and projector. This table definitely needs a little skirt to cover all the ugly cords! We established two small group areas - one at the back of the classroom and the other at a semi-circle table on one side of the classroom where we will also house the guided book collection on a small shelf brought from home.

Leveled books
We decided to put the leveled books in the middle of the room because students will need access all during the Readers' Workshop as we meet with small groups of children and they change out their books. We have a nice wooden bin provided by the school to house books C-J but we are going to need more shelves to house the A-B books for those reading below level and the K-N books for kids reading above level. I am amazed at the limited furniture that is actually supplied by the school in each classroom! Today I added gingham letters to each of the leveled bins. We decided to use cardboard book bins for students to keep their own individual "just right" books. Tracy will make theme-related name labels for each box.
Genre books
We are going to use the individual cubbies that are stationary in our room for our genre library. Tracy is bringing baskets to house all of the books - a huge expense - and will be responsible for making books tags to go on each basket that are theme-related. I am putting paper in the back of each cubbie just to add color to the room. Since we are using the 12 X 12 inch cubbies for shelving, we have purchased five large bins in the closet for students to house their jackets and backpacks.
We have decided on 6-sided tables that seat six in a group. Looks like the chairs that we have in our room are too big for the tables so we will try to change out the medium-sized chairs with small chairs. We figure we need to start with 30 seats so we put five groups of tables in the middle of the room. Tracy has purchased name plates to go on the table for each student.
Seems like today we mostly made decorative additions. We added red gingham curtains. I brought some additional red gingham material home to make a skirt for under the computer area so we can use that area for storage without seeing all the clutter. Tracy added an alphabet today at the front of the classroom and will add some barn cut-outs over the alphabet to invite students into the theme.

Not sure we have a lot to show for our time in the room today but we did lots of the big thinking so we know where things will go and what we want to put where. Tomorrow I'll be off for one more day of training and Tracy will be in the room working. Now I'm off to look for some more shelving... Stay tuned.


Michelle Ellis said...

Debby and I walked in our room this past weekend for an hour. We moved furniture around. We have two gathering areas, one for reading/writing and one for math. They are on opposite sides of the room. We try to change the layout of the room every year so that it is new and exciting for us. The rest of the hour we spent just talking out our decoration plans. That way when we begin for real next week we already have a plan.

Suzanne said...

Sounds like you will make a great team! It always amazes me to think of money teachers spend and the precious time they give to get the year started off right.