I am very excited to be writing this post because it has been a long time coming! After many years of teaching part-time, I am back in a primary classroom – with the most wonderful group of children! I was very excited to set up my room and now share it with you. For many years I have been admiring classrooms that I have come across online and in my school. I knew exactly how I wanted my classroom set up and organized. I am very pleased with the space that I have created and still love walking into my room every day. Hopefully my ideas, will give you some ideas for your space. (More classroom ideas and hands-on activities coming soon!)
Our classroom reading nook is my favourite place – and a favourite for many of my students. I wanted to create a space that was relaxing, usable and had a natural/outdoor feel to it. I used the astro turf carpet to separate this space, but also because I love that it looks like grass. The log slice cushions are from a local patio furniture store. This area also serves as an alternative seating place for students to work.
I love children’s books and have accumulated quite the collection over the years. These baskets, from a local dollar store, have held up well and blend with my classroom theme. The book labels are from “Keep ’em Thinking,” available through Teachers Pay Teachers and they are a perfect fit! (Link at bottom of page). To secure the labels to the basket, I simply used shower curtain hooks.
Guided Reading Table
I found mactac paper that had a wooden pattern that I used throughout my classroom. For our guided reading table, I used circles to mark student’s area for when they work with me. For the seats, I used a 5 liter bucket that I covered with spray paint and then mactac.
On the top I cut a thick piece of circular foam, placed it on top of a piece of wood, wrapped fabric around and stapled. I added the piece of wood (a $4 cheese board from the dollar store) because the staples could be felt through the foam and fabric. Then, I added some stones to the buckets to keep them from being top heavy.
I’m not sure they look like log slices, as I had planned, but I still love the look of them and they are well used within my classroom.
Student Work – Display Board
I love making sure that my student’s work is displayed, and I wanted a way to be able to display it easily and beautifully! My clipboard display board turned out perfectly! I have a clipboard for each student that I can easily, and quickly, display their work. The green background, and all of my bulletin boards, are covered with fabric. I prefer fabric over paper because it doesn’t rip or show staple marks and it looks new longer.
Luckily my dad is handy and took on this project for my classroom. The white strips holding the clipboards are strips of wood painted white. Next, we used hooks and strong double sided tape to secure each column. Finally, we used Velcro to attach the clipboards. The Velcro allows me to take off the clipboards if needed.
Leveled Readers Book Bins
Each day when my students come in, the first thing they do is switch their nightly reading books. The books are organized based on their reading level; however, each bin is labeled by colour (versus the reading level/number). Every class always has a wide variety of student reading levels. I personally feel that by organizing these bins by colour, versus level, has ensured that there is no competition between readers and everyone’s reading level remains more private. Also, children feel more comfortable selecting books from their bin because it is simply a colour.
There are lots of great ways to organize leveled readers, this is simply the way that I have found successful for me and my students.
All of the books in each bin have a sticker dot on the spine of the book that matches the large coloured circle on the front of the basket. Students are careful to return books to the correct colour basket.
I like having parts of the classroom that look/feel like home. I have 6 of these short stools that get moved around the classroom as needed. This nook also serves as another alternative seating option for children.
Another nook in our classroom is our listening centre. My students like to sit under the oversized leaves. This corner area also gives my students another option for a place to work. I like to have as many children utilize this quiet listening centre, and have found success by using a headphone splitter. I attached two splitters which allows up to three students to listen to a c.d./book at the same time.
Classroom Quiet Bins
A final feature of my classroom that has worked out really has been our quiet bins. In addition to the centres and manipulatives that we use on a regular basis, these bins have been ideal to have available for other times, such as, indoor recesses. I have enough bins for everyone in my class. Each child can choose a bin and quietly explore the contents. All bins are hands-on activities and allow for a quiet, independent activity. Contents range from numbered blocks to 2-d felt shapes to create pictures. Our classroom Quiet Bins are inspired by the book, “A Year of Educational Quiet bins” by Sarah Noftle. (Link at bottom)
Collection includes: playdoh, pipe cleaners and beads and buttons, Lego, gel pens and paper, foam blocks, wooden cubes, connecting stars, magnetic tiles, paper punches and paper, memory card game, sorting gems, felt cut outs, story telling props, wooden cutouts, screw drivers/creating kit, plastic characters, wooden blocks (numbered 1-50), coffee stir sticks/animals figures, popsicle sticks.
I hope that you have found some of the ideas useful for your classroom or home. I spend a lot of time in my classroom and wanted to make sure that I had created a space for my students, and I, to feel comfortable, organized, calm and ready to learn. Thanks for visiting
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For more hands-on teaching ideas to do in your classroom or home, visit the below links from us at teachingideas.ca