I love to share what things look like when I first walk into the classroom in the summer. Remember these from a couple of years ago?
It’s the classroom I was in 2 years ago, but gives you a good idea of my first sights when I return to school at the beginning of the year to get stuff put together again. This year’s view was very similar, only in the room next door.
Putting a classroom back together is a tedious process, with lots of bits and pieces to put in their places and a big puzzle to work out. And that’s if you put everything back where it was last year! If you decide to make any changes (because something didn’t work last year or just because you want to try something new for a new group of kiddos), then it’s pretty much like starting all over. Your plan has to be completely different.
So I started by putting all of my furniture back right where it was at the end of last year. And then I started thinking….
We really loved our room arrangement last year, and it worked for us based on our traffic flows and how we used each part of the room for different activities. Except…that I knew I wanted to trade my desk with the table right next to it so that I could use the only whiteboard in our room for small group teaching times (instead of just having it behind my desk and covered with random things I tacked up there and didn’t really use). Smart, right? Yeah, it took me all year long to figure that one out…:)
So once I got the table and desk switched, I really liked it. But then I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and it so it got me wondering what else I could move around that might work even better than what we had last year. My carpet was the next thing on my list. Maybe moving it into the corner (where my desk had been and where that new table was now sitting) would be a good idea–again because of that whiteboard. Having it in our meeting space might be even better than for small groups. So I picked up the fabulous carpet (remember when we got it last year?) and moved it into the corner, along with my easel and my chair. That left me two tables, two filing cabinets and a supply shelf to figure out. I think I like the new changes even better than last year. I figured out that putting the rug in the corner also meant that the doors of my closets can now be used for charts and other things we’ll refer to during lessons (more on my ideas for that soon!).
And then….I looked at the spot where my next was and agreed that I liked it there…but then had another (even better!) idea: maybe I don’t even need a desk anymore. I’ve gone back and forth over the last few years about whether or not I really need one; I don’t sit at it except before and after school, and it’s space that kids could probably use in a better way. It really just serves as a place for me to house all my stuff. What I really have wanted for a while is to have a dining room or kitchen table in my room. I love the idea of kids (who are really a part of our learning family) sitting all around it having lively conversations and growing together. The problem? I still had a desk, and no table. I knew I could probably find one on Craig’s List, after having no luck at Goodwill and garage sales over the last few weeks, but I thought instead to appeal to my friends on Facebook. It worked. I really quickly found a friend (who also happens to be a parent from our school!) who had a table that she’d been hoping to do something with–perfect, right?
I don’t have it yet, but I am SO EXCITED for what the room will look like when it’s in place. My new plan is that it will go where my next was, and all of my stuff will find a new home. Then, if I need a place to perch, that will be my primary home, but kids can also sit there with me when they like, as well as using it for conferences and small groups. What do you think about that? (Really, you can tell me. I promise. 🙂 )
So the title of this post is starting to get settled, then, because I feel like with the furniture in the right place, then I could start to get some things on the walls. This makes me feel like things are closer to coming together, and it definitely makes it feel a little more like home. So here’s where I am so far:
Ok, one last picture:
What does your classroom look like right now? What about at the beginning of your work? How do you tackle that big pile of “stuff?” I’d love to hear how it works for you!