Monday, September 3, 2012

Bringing the Garden Inside: A Look Into My Classroom!

My Classroom Space

I changed the layout of my room a bit from last year.  Upon entering, you use to step into our classroom library; however, I realized I wanted a large, open space that lent itself not only to reading but also to game play and collaboration.  

As soon as you step through our double french doors, you will see our art supplies on the left.  This is also the area where I put all of our additional supplies: markers, crayons, scissors, etc.

Each student has a pencil case inside his or her desk.  Inside the case, I've placed the following items: dry erase marker, mini dry eraser, two sharpened pencils, eraser, scissors, crayons, glue stick, pen, colored marker, highlighter, and sticky notes.  As a child runs low, he or she will be able to re-stock their materials as needed.

The "Craft Box" bulletin board is in our open space area.  During writer's workshop, students often write around the room (finding comfortable nooks to engage with their stories).  As children write, I wanted this board to be in an open space that is easily accessible.  We will add craft elements to the board as we come to them in our reading and writing.  

Below the board is our snack station.  We have hand sanitizer, cutlery, and the snack basket.  I also keep my teaching supplies under the Craft Box bulletin board.

As you enter the room, your eyes are immediately drawn outside to the beautiful children's garden.  On each side of the band of windows, I have two tall bookshelves.  One holds the games for math and the other holds the games for language arts.

I have the games shelved by category/concept.  For example, I tried to group the place value games together on the top shelf.  The fraction games are on the second shelf...

Through the windows, looking outdoors is the children's garden and a quiet running brook.  This is a serene setting for young authors.  The students love going outside to write on a crisp fall day!

Our room is long and narrow.  Space planning is always interesting when rooms are unique sizes.

I love the beautiful stained glass windows that line the rear facade of our room.  I did add curtains to the other remaining windows to soften the space.  In addition, I added a wrought iron decorative feature above the windows opposite our open space.  

The photo above shows a look back at our open space as seen in many photographs above.  As you enter the classroom area, you'll notice my desk in the left of this photo and my curriculum files in white crates on the right side.

Because the bulletin behind my desk is rather difficult to change, I wanted a display that would stay throughout the year.  Thus, I posted the comprehension strategies: "Keys to Comprehension."  I also hung wrought iron decorative keys I picked up from Hobby Lobby.

I like to keep my lesson in files.  I have used binders in the past, but I always go back to files.  I find they're easy to change out, add to, and subtract from when needed.  I printed sunflower labels and placed them on each crate for: reading, writing, math, social studies, word study, and seasonal.

I split up my library this year.  I still have my genres together, but I've made a special place for my science and social studies books.

There are built in bookshelves on each side of the back bay of windows.  On the left I've placed my science books on display.

My social studies books are on the right side of the windows.  There is a bit of white wall space on each side that will be the home to anchor charts as we explore certain concepts in the content area.

The front of my room has my SMART Board with a bulletin board on each side.  Our class expectations are under the SMART Board beside our daily graphing chart.  My desk is on the right.  My focus board is on the left.

I love the way my focus board works this year.  I am not a fan of white, so I had to cover my white board with fabric.  I used thick ribbon as the border and hot glued two sunflowers at the top on each corner.  Because the fabric is thin, the board still has magnetic capabilities.  

I placed four magnetic mini-boards on the large focus board.  I printed custom labels to go above each mini board.  I also purchased a long dry erase board to display the date in the middle.  Below the date are two strips of cork board so that I can pin anchor charts in the center.  

On the long shelf is the spot for students to turn in homework and notes.  This is also where we return dull pencils and select sharp ones.  Under the shelf is the spot for my partner reading books.  We have many copies of the same book so children can buddy up to share a great story and discuss it in a book club manner.

In the far left of this photo, you can see our easel.  I've posted our tooth chart and birthday poster on the front of this piece.

I will use the tall plastic shelf to put my centers/activities in each drawer for guided reading.

 I keep my mentor texts for reading and writing workshop inside the cabinets above our display book shelves.  Below the shelves are my leveled texts for guided reading.

Our jobs bulletin board has clear library pockets with Popsicle sticks containing the student's names on each.  As the jobs change, I simply move the sticks. 

Our room colors are earth tones, and our theme is the garden.  We have accents of bees, owls, and sunflowers throughout our space.  Thank you for checking out our classroom.

A special thank you to those that post such amazing ideas on Pinterest!

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  1. Erin, your classroom is gorgeous! I love the outside as well..wish we had a garden at our school. :)

  2. Erin I love your classroom. It's so beautiful

  3. That is amazing! What a beautiful setting you have- inside and out!

    *Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge*

  4. Thanks Gladys, Miss Nelson, and Christina!

    I'm excited for our first day back tomorrow.


  5. Speechless (in a great way), I hope it's ok I share this with some of my new teachers to give them an idea of what is possible when imagination and love of children collide. Thank you for sharing.
    Jack E.

  6. Hi Erin,
    Your rooms looks amazing! I love that your students have a view of the beautiful garden! Happy first day!
    Funky First Grade Fun

  7. Jack,

    Oh my gosh... really? Well, certainly - share away! Thanks for the tremendous compliment!



  8. Kimberly,


    Hope your first week is fab. too!!



  9. Your room is beautiful Erin! Has a rustic & serene feel to it. A wonderful space to learn! Your students are lucky to have you for a teacher!

  10. What a beautiful classroom! I love the character it has! Your windows are so neat, they don't have the traditional classroom look!!

    Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

    1. Aimee,

      The room does have a lot of character. I love the windows. :)



  11. Your classroom is beautiful! I love the view your students have! I just recently started blogging and am so glad I discovered your amazing blog! I'm the technology rep at my school so I absolutely LOVE your posts! Thanks for all of the great info and tips!!! :)

  12. Wow, I want to just come hang out in your room for a while! That view and those windows! Amazing. There's nothing like that in Florida, that's for sure. We may have beautiful beaches, but no babbling brooks outside our back door. What an amazing space you've created for your little learners!
    Sunny Days In Second Grade