I remember the "feng shui" fad from years ago every year when I start to set up my classroom. I got into my classroom for the first time yesterday, and as always, spent the first 10 to 20 minutes just looking at the room and trying to think about the best way to utilize the space. Part of me wants to just set things up the way they were last year; it worked well enough. But I'm really trying to have my classroom reflect the kind of teaching that I want to do, and that's kind of changed in the last few years. I'm in the process of moving toward a much more student-centered classroom that could possibly involve 1:1 technology as well. So, I started tweaking.
One of the problems I have is that I can't really form a picture of what something looks like in my head unless I actually physically construct it. So I started shifting desks around. This year's class is going to be significantly smaller than last year's...I have 16 incoming students, where last year I had 22. Having a class almost 30% smaller frees up a lot of space! It's also a nice number to divide into even groups. I briefly toyed with the idea of having two large groups of eight desks, but I didn't like the amount of empty space it created. That might be something to go back to later, however. In the end, I settled on four groups of four desks each around the large meeting rug in the center of my room. I intend to do the majority of my whole-class instruction with my students on that rug, and then having them break off from there.
So that's where I'm at right now. I'm hoping to get the layout set soon so that I can focus on getting my students' materials ready for the start of school, which is in less than a month. I actually got some great ideas from the most recent #5thchat PLN and I'm hoping that some other teachers will read this blog and share some of their classroom designs as well! I'm looking forward to hearing from you!
Moving the desks around took up the majority of my time in the classroom. One item that I started looking at that I will need to revisit is the other furniture in the room...I have several IKEA storage units, a few carts on wheels, computer tables, etc. In the past, most of it was simply pushed to the edges of the classroom to create the maximum amount of room. But the more I thought about it, the more I realize that my students invariably love to work on the floor, and many of them like to create little nooks for themselves, especially when they read...so much so, in fact, that several of my students took to sitting in my closet area during independent reading time! So now, I'm thinking of ways that I could create more of these nooks for students to use...not just in reading time, but also as places to use for small-group discussion or peer editing sessions.
5th grade teacher in Princeton, NJ. Passionate about education, technology, and the New York Giants!