Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A New Year... A New Look...

As you walk in...
At the end of the last school year, my friend Jacquie encouraged me to explore the possibilities of changing my room around. While I loved the layout and feel of my classroom, I was ready for a change... so I took the challenge! I started at the end of May when my kids were still here. This gave me an opportunity to see how traffic would flow, what spaces were needed, and what just wasn't going to work. Over the summer, I spent a couple of days staring at my space, moving furniture, and weeding out items I no longer needed. I'm happy to say we are 10 days in to our new school year... and I am LOVING the changes! I went from having more nooks and cozy places (which I loved) to having open spaces (which I might love even more!)

After our CyberPD Opening Minds discussion this summer, I knew I wanted to create an atmosphere that was conducive to big meeting areas and wide open spaces where we could spread out our learning. We will need lots of space to have discussions and collaborate on our learning. Taking inspiration and advice from my Twitter friend Matt Gomez, I also left much of the wall space blank to make sure my first graders have an opportunity to help "decorate" our walls with group and individual learning.

During the last school year and over the summer, I was fortunate to be able to attend lots of professional development conferences and workshops (mostly out of my own pocket.) Something I heard Patrick Allen say has really stuck with me. Ok, really... a lot of what he says really sticks with me, but this one particular thing relates to classroom set-up! Anyway, he talked about how he no longer has a section of his classroom dedicated to being his "classroom library." Instead, he and his students are literally surrounded by books. This resonated in my head for a long time and fueled my desire to make some changes. Isn't that sending a powerful message about what we value in our classrooms?

I kept the "Camp Read-A-Lot" going as it corresponds to our class blog and more, but it's not over the top or overdone (in my opinion.) Here's a little peek into what our room now looks like....
Newly designed reading corner (with these great bean bag chairs from Walmart!)

Calendar/Birthday Corner

Whole Group Meeting Area and CAFE board

Listening Corner

One section of the Classroom Library

The view from the back of the room

Another great bean bag from Walmart, near our "wall of books"

Individual book tubs, with self-selected books inside!
Thanks for taking a peek with me! I love looking at pictures of other people's classrooms, so I hope you will enjoy peeking in to Camp Read-A-Lot! Happy teaching!