With the help of my lovely sister, I was able to set up most of my classroom in one afternoon. It helped that I was able to keep up my anchor charts up from last year, and this is my fourth year in the same room, so I pretty much know how I want things. This is also my sister’s third or fourth year helping me — she knows my classroom set-up about as well as I do, so we were able to take care of business pretty quickly. It’s so nice to get to a point where you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, or completely make things from scratch! It has not always been this smooth in setting up my classroom.
Here is the grand tour!
This is the classroom as you walk in the door. My students sit in small groups throughout the year.
The “Poetry Corner” with dozens of word magnets. Students can write little poems throughout the year and sign their name. I choose some or most if them to occasionally tweet from my Twitter handle, @SchroTeach.
I put up all kinds of things that the students should know in this section, such as the library schedule or writing contest information. Right now there is the ‘Credible’ Hulk, who always cites his sources, and quotes from St. Mother Theresa.
On this Boggle board, students can work together to figure out word combos and write them in the space below. I always try to put one of their weekly vocab words up on the list for fun.
I have three sections of students, so sometimes I have each small group tweet in response to a question or hashtag I give them. I then pick one tweet from each class to also feature on my own Twitter, @SchroTeach.
Assignments are listed with this stoplight I made for my room. Red means work is due in one to two days, yellow in three to four days, and green in one week or more. Since I only have two preps (with three sections each), I have room here to write all the assignments. I took the stoplight color idea from a local high school.
Here is the entire back board all together. I wanted it to be as interactive as possible, so students will come hang out in the mornings and get to use their creativity in different ways. With the poetry and tweets being shared, they also get that sense of having an audience.
For each major writing assignment, I choose one to three students who really exemplified the requirements of the assignment or stated something in a beautiful and/or interesting way. They read their writing out loud to the class, and then I hang their papers up on this “Writing Spotlight” board. The “Mr. Schroeder” award is for any student whose work I share with my husband, and the LOL award is for anyone who makes me literally laugh out loud while I’m grading (which is actually pretty rare). Above the board is a poster for my advisory, which is made up of nine incoming eighth grade boys.
At the end of the day, the students can store their name badges here for safekeeping. And underneath is a meme two of my students made of one of my co-workers, and a profound quote said by a former student that absolutely floored me: “This year in Literature changed literature from being a story into being an art for me. A story describes a character completing a goal, but an art reflects the writer and their opinion. It showed that maybe the best way to understand someone is through their form of art or literature. The literature expresses the outward intentions of both the reader and the writer based off how they interpret it, both intentional and not.”
The students stow their writing portfolio binders here. It is also the entrance to the *secret* passage.
I still need to put up the genre labels for my classroom library and just generally tidy it up. Below the bookshelf are folders for each small group, and crates for each class to store their journals.
I just noticed how terrible all the cords look hanging like that. Hmmm….anyway, these are the students’ computers and also where I keep mementos from past classes. I’ve built up quite an eclectic collection the past few years. There’s a paper mache head of a doge, a spirit stick, a sculpture of a plunger with car air fresheners attached, a dog playing poker in a chair, and pictures, artwork, and photos. There is also a devastatingly beautiful lamp made of different colored Popsicle sticks and poms, which I received during a “Rob Your Neighbor” game at Christmas. You are probably wishing you owned one right now.
The blank bulletin board is going to be a place where I will put up photos from throughout the year, quotes from student writing, and other miscellaneous items about the students. The grid is for the weekly vocab words; there are fifteen in each list. I assign students to write the word, definition, and draw a picture.
The rest of the front of my classroom and my desk. A high-definition TV was installed in my room last year to replace the Smartboard. It has an incredibly good picture. Sometimes we just watch the images because they’re so pretty. Or when it’s cold, I play a fireplace video from YouTube and we can almost believe we’re getting warmed up.
I am still working on the organization in my desk area, but I like having a cozy little space that doesn’t take up much room.
This is the students’ station. There is a recycling bin, and extra paper and sheet protectors in the yellow drawers. The bottom white drawers are where students turn in work. The mailboxes on top are where I return their work once graded. There are scissors, paper, a stapler, paper clips, and other office supplies arranged on top, along with homeroom envelopes for lunch money or office correspondence. The tin can is for their “Deep Thoughts.” Once the can is filled up, I read them out loud in my “soothing” voice with calm piano music.
*Just noticed the “Respect Agreement” from last year is is the recycling bin. That is just because we will have a new one, NOT because I do not value respect. Ahem.
I use the half table to meet with small groups, or for grading assignments during class. Above the window, to the left, are posters that I made, and the writing process posters are on the right. Below the window are inspirational quotes I tore out of an old calendar.
It’s kind of hard to see, so here are what the posters say from left to right:
1. Hyperbole is the best thing ever.
2. What matters most in life are quotes and stuff that tell you what life is really about. Also, here’s a picture of a tree.
3. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
4. I hate writing; I love having written. (Dorothy Parker)
And last one (5):
“Let’s eat, Grandma and Grandpa!”
“Let’s eat Grandma and Grandpa!”
Punctuation Saves Lives
And views from the front of the room:
And that’s my classroom! There is still some blank space on the back wall because we will add a few more anchor charts during the year. Also, I’d like to add some twinkle lights along the back board, fix a couple of the labels for the small groups, and clean up my library more. Otherwise, I am feeling about done for now.
What are useful and/or fun parts you like about your classroom?