|Our Starting Arrangement|
One of my first graders from last year stopped by yesterday on his way out the door. "You've changed everything," he exclaimed as he stopped in to say hello. After talking to him I was relieved to realize he didn't think it was better or worse --- just different. It's true I've arranged a few things to create the spaces we'll need for learning. Here are a few pictures from before school the year began.
|Our Meeting Area|
The meeting area is by the chalkboard so I can add our word wall. The magnetic surface makes this a great location for the words we are learning.
I like to keep our math tools in a common place. This place is perfect as traffic should flow relatively well when getting supplies and there is room to hang math related charts on the walls around the shelf. A few book baskets with picture books about math help make the area ready for math learning.
I'm most excited about this area. Last year this lowered table was a hot spot for writing, reading, and working in small groups. This year I wanted it by the window. I had picked up a few stools at IKEA that are the perfect size for students. They love reading, writing and working here.
|Making use of both sides of easel|
I've opened up the space behind my easel so I can use the back of the easel which I gleefully discovered is magnetic. Oh, the possibilities. Right now we are using it for a daily check-in question, but I think being able to use it for small group word work is another possibility.
To the left you will see our "island" in the middle of the classroom. A colleague suggested I rethink this piece of furniture and I'm glad I did. It is the perfect central location for supplies and recess games. It is short enough that I still have visibility across the classroom.
I wasn't sure this space was going to work for me. This piece of furniture is always difficult to place and, to be honest, I'm not overly crazy about it. However, my students always love it. Originally marketed for leveled text, I use it for author collections. Every year kids pull up chairs to our author collections and read, read, read. I've learned to like this piece of furniture and surprisingly I like it here. First of all, I usually try to keep my tile clear. It's a weird thing, I suppose. However, I'm never crazy about furniture on the tile. Secondly, I was worried about how this would work with traffic when it is time to clean up at the end of the day. Actually it has slowed down movement as students clean up and is perfect.
In the weeks to come the students will begin to shape the way these spaces look and are used. Soon the walls will be covered with their thinking. The charts we create as we learn together will begin to fill the walls. When old students stop by I think they'll find things look different, not better or worse --- just different.