After two long years of not being able to properly set up a classroom, I couldn’t wait to get back in there and get her done this year! I love the way everything came together and I cannot wait to share it with you! Are you ready? Let’s go!
I am going to start with one of my favourite spaces in my room…our STEM corner. I love this space because that is where students have the chance to create and let their imagination go wild. The STEM bins are there year-round. Students can access these materials during any of our STEM challenges, projects, or when they finish work early.
I fill the bins with easily accessible items from Dollarama or from my school catalogue. For example, this time around, I filled them with Q-Tips, styrofoam balls, popsicle sticks, beads, string, toothpicks, buttons, pompoms, and a few more items. Occasionally, some of the bins need to be refilled mid-way through the year. However, I always emphasize being considerate of others when choosing how much to use from each bin and I remind students that some bins will not get refilled every time they are empty.
This space is also used when students need a quiet place to work. The tables are also converted into standing tables when we need to use them during our visual arts projects.
Guided Reading Table
This is easily one of the most important areas in my classroom. This is where a lot of magic happens. It is the space I use to work with my small reading, writing, and math groups. It is also where I see the most growth.
I ordered the dry-erase vinyl circles on Amazon. These circles are so useful because students use them during our small group work to write down math calculations, spell words or practice some of the strategies we are learning about. It is a great way to get students to write down their ideas without focusing too much on how their work looks. They can then use the ideas they jotted down on their circles when completing the follow-up activity. You can read more about How to Setup and Organize Your Guided Reading Program in an FSL Classroom in my guided reading series.
On my guided reading table, I keep my guided reading binder, sentence starter strips, and the students’ folders. Here’s a closer look at the student folders. These folders include all of the activities that we can work on throughout the year. It does take a little time to photocopy but once it is done, you are good to go for the year!
Early Finishers Board
I am going to fill you in on a little secret. Having an early finisher’s board in your classroom is a game changer! I can’t tell you how much this has helped me in my class. This board gets swapped out every month with different thematic and seasonal activities. Activities vary in nature but are generally related to literacy and math.
Every month, I switch them out so that students have a new set of activities to work on when they finish their work. This prevents students from disrupting others when they are done. It is also a tool that students can use independently. I usually only photocopy 5 sheets for each activity. If students want to work on a specific activity that is no longer available, they have to choose another one from the board. This prevents me from photocopying more sheets than I need to, especially when not all of the students are going to get to the activities.
Our Learning Goals Wall
I use this learning goals wall to display our learning goals and success criteria for most of our big units in literacy, math, science, and social studies. Students can refer to the wall to check whether or not their assignment meets all of the criteria. Using the dry-erase posters makes it easy to change our goals when we are working on a different unit.
Underneath each learning goal will be an example of an assignment or an assignment outline and rubric. If your budget allows for it, you could print these in a larger format and laminate them. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find where I stored my larger ones lol…
Welcome to our little cozy reading space. The lighting, greenery, and seating arrangement here is always a student favourite for silent reading or quiet working periods. Since this is a junior class, my book bins are all labeled by book genre. I like to keep a magazine rack filled with seasonal or themed books for that month that are easily accessible to students. I also strategically place my reading bulletin board beside the reading corner so that students can easily access the reading strategies if needed.
The Math Board
This is the space I use to display some of the work we are working on in Math. On the board, I include a few of the Math strategies that are most relevant to the unit we are working on and speech bubbles to encourage math dialogue. I also keep our math word wall hung on binder rings. Each strand is on its own ring and hook. Lastly, I also keep a bin with a variety of math tools that students can use independently.
This board is our little planner board. This is where I keep our monthly calendar and weekly homework board. Both of these were purchased at Michael’s. The display in between both boards is a door decorating set that I purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers. It is completely editable which means you are able to write your own quotes in the frames.
This is a new bulletin board that I am using this year. The goal is to print pictures of the students at work or on field trips and hang them up on the board. I will do my best to switch out the photos with new ones regularly.
I also want to add that I love the little clothes pins I purchased from Amazon because they come with a pin attached to the back. They go right into the bulletin board so the pictures and the clothes pins won’t be weighing down the string.
Have any questions about my classroom setup or how I use some of the spaces? Leave your questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to help!