BTS Blog Hop

A big thank you to Tammy from The Owl Teacher for organizing this linky!

Are any of you feeling the back to school pressure yet?  Students return in 3 days, and I am still trying to figure out where I put things in my cupboards.

Since I moved to this elementary school, I have been in a new room every year.  Luckily, I have gotten a larger room each year.  However, this year I also switched grade levels, and I am feeling the nerves of not being fully on it for both my room and my curriculum.

Room Organization
You know, it sounds so much easier than it is: just set up your room.

Have you ever seen these classrooms on Pinterest?  I usually have a few thoughts that run through my head when I look at classrooms in Pins.
            1.  Where do you have to teach to get a room that large?  I swear some of those classroom are as large as my house.
           2.  Does your school not have lice issues?  I mean, those fuzzy pillows my entice students to read, but they also guarantee that my entire room will have lice all year.  Not happening.
           3.  Where do you go to learn these decorating skills?  I mean, I also bought tissue paper, cute borders, etc., but my room still doesn't look like a magazine spread.  (I also feel this way about styling hair - it just never seems to work out.)

classroom organization
I took out my hated teacher desk and replaced it with a craft table.  I also used this
unmoveable space to make a homework area and a word work area.
Before you even start touching anything in your room, make lists of these items:

1.  Places that cannot move (student/teacher computers, doc cams, etc.)
2.  Spaces you MUST have.  
3.  Spaces you would like to have.
4.  Furniture that is in your room that you just HATE.  If you hate it, it isn't working for you.

I am pretty much stuck keeping my tech stuff where it is, unless I want to rewire the room myself.  When I thought about the size of my room, I really considered the issue of having to work around these set spaces.

classroom organization
With the Daily 5, I needed a meeting space near my Daily 5/CAFE board.  I repurposed a
chalkboard to make that area, and made sure to keep the carpet in front of it open.
Must Haves
Since I am teaching ELA and social studies this year, I need a writing center.  I have also decided to try the Daily 5 (probably the Daily 2 or 3 in reality), I need a meeting area and a bulletin board area to post the mini-lessons taught in CAFE.  I also need a place to store backpacks and supplies, because I just can't stand having all that junk at the desks.  I also need a lot of book/library space.

With the Daily 5, it would be nice to have a Word Work area.  It would also be nice to have a table space for whatever - projects, literature circles, etc.  (I never have had enough room for a table, so I would really like to see if I could use one effectively instead of making everyone move desks.)

Hate It
Teacher desk.  I hate them, just because.

classroom organization
More "must haves" were a library and a writing center.  I used this itty bitty corkboard to create a Synonym Word Board.  (Thanks Cinnamon's Synonyms!)  I placed my classroom library near it to ease my class flow, but I did move it back so I can reach the light switch (and see the student from the front!)
Organizing Your Room
Now that you have made your lists, look at your room.  You can be old school and make plans on a piece of paper, or be techie and use one of the many room organizers on the internet.  (Scholastic has an easy to use class set-up tool.)

Once you have a plan, try "Think first, move once."  (Okay, not really once but fewer times than if you didn't think twice!)  Ask yourself these questions:

1.  Where can I put my must haves and still have every student easily see the board?  Even if you don't use the board a lot, you know you will use it occasionally.
2.  Do I have my safety zones open?  The class behind me has to be able to walk through my room to lunch, so I have to make sure that is an easy route to walk.  Custodians also need to easily get through the room.
3.  Can I easily get to students?  Make sure your pathways will not be blocked once students actually sit in the chairs.
4.  Can you reach the light switch when you are at the door?  Don't laugh.  The light switches are in weird places in our school, so unless I want to walk around in the dark I have to make sure I don't block them!

After you have placed your "must haves" in your room successfully, then add in your wishlist items.  Once you are full, that is it - whether or not all of your wishlist fit.

classroom organization
On my wishlist was a supply area.  I really want the class to be student-centered, so I want
supplies to be easily accessed.  However, I can't stand junked up desks.  Using crates under
my dry erase board allows my store store supplies and still use the board!
Hate Its
Okay, you spend half of your life in that classroom.  If you hate something, get rid of it.  (If you aren't allowed, then cover it somehow.)

Find an alternative.  I know my desk was top small, so I was always piling things on it for lack of space.  I just went to a local Big Box store and bought a foldable black craft table.  Wah-la - new desk.  And it fits my doc cam, computer, and DVD player with leftover space!  (Every teacher has asked me about it, too.)  It did cost me $35, but it is worth it, because I can now fit everything on it and easily sit at it to work.

Have you made any changes to your room this year?  What is your best tip?

I hope you enjoy reading through all of the blogs linked up and get some great BTS tips!  Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway!

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  1. Totally feel you! I stare in envy at many of the classrooms on pinterest - how on earth do they manage to keep them looking like that all year too? There's no way!! Thanks for sharing your tips!!

    Teaching Autism

  2. Great approach to setting up your classroom. I am never quite that organized about it, although I think about it for quite awhile before starting. I think every year, I figure out a little bit more about what will work in my room.

  3. You have some great ideas! Thanks for sharing.
    Sandra's Savvy Teaching Tips

  4. Such sound advice!! I really like the supply tubs with the crates! Colorful and useful!



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