Come take a virtual peek into my classroom for the year!
This is actually the second year I have been in my classroom but I moved some major furniture around this summer to make the space more functional and useful for myself and the students. Here are a few things that I like to keep in mind when I am putting together my classroom:
1. Neutral colours. From my own experience I have found that the use of neutral colours and shades keep a room feeling calm. At this age, children already have a hard time focusing on one things for a period of time, so I try and limit possible other distractions as well.
2. Bare walls. As I noted above, I try and limit as many distractions as I can for my students. Having lots of colours, words, pictures, and papers starts making me feel cluttered and overwhelmed so I can only imagine what it does for the kids!
As you can see above, I have a few of my boards set up and are awaiting student work. I try and only put up work and reference material that we are currently working on. Then I transition things off and on as the year progresses. For the most part it is student driven; the students suggest tricky words from our units to put up on our ABC wall, we write up our wonderings on our wonder wall for every unit, we put up artifacts and resources from our units up on our inquiry board, and we use visuals for students to reference for reading strategies in the Reading C.A.F.E.
3. Separated spaces. I am really lucky that this classroom is quite bright and open. Seeing as my students are still pretty small, I try and create separated spaces in the classroom. You can see from my photos that I have tried to create a nook for reading with a reading tent and two shelves in between to make it feel more cozy. This is often where students go when they want to read without distraction of others, work independently or with a partner, and if they need a space to reflect and calm their bodies. I have also kept my subject specific manipulatives together. For example, I have a shelf that is all for math, I also have a explorations shelf, literacy manipulatives shelf, writing space, and a reading space within the classroom.
4. Flexible seating. Each student in my class has their own desk. However, I do not like students spending too much time in one space throughout the day. Therefore, I provide a wide range of flexible seating options around the class for students to take advantage of. I have some stools at a high table, I have pillows and logs beside my low table, I have lap-desks for my students to work on the floor, I have a circle table which works well for small group support, and I have some yoga ball chairs which have been a big hit this year!
5. Alternative light sources. I find the fluorescent lights in the classrooms extremely harsh and distracting. When I can, I try and provide some alternative light sources around the classroom (which is a bit tricky finding plugs in convenient place when your school was build in 1913). This year I have twinkly lights in the tent, a salt lamp near the self-regulation tools, and a small lamp on the small writing table. I try and leave the lights off during the day whenever possible, although that gets difficult in the summer. On those darker days I often just turn one set of lights on. I don’t think I can remember the last time I had all three sets of lights on in my classroom…
I hope some of these tips and photo was able to provide some inspiration or food for thought for your own classroom! Please let me know if you have any questions!