Sunday, July 5, 2015

Classroom Improvements Linky

Well I have enjoyed my first real week of summer!  Our last day was on June 26th, but I needed an extra half day to finished moving my classroom.  It was a super quick move - nothing to box because I was only moving two doors down.  Last week was mostly devoted to recovering from a challenging year and spending some time getting my house into order.  It is amazing how many things get neglected during the school year! 

Even though I have been thinking about school as little as possible, I saw this link up and decided to join in. I'm linking up with Ashley and Angie for July's Together We Are Better.  This month is about what we are going to be improving this upcoming year.  I have been thinking about (Sorry no pictures, but I took very few last year and my room is completely packed for the summer!): 

1. Room Set-up
I am soooo happy to be replacing old desks with brand new tables and chairs! Part of me cringes at the thought of now having to deal with all of the kids' things that went in the desks and the fear that I can not regroup kiddos based on groups that work well together.  The other part of my knows that I will have more space and the classroom will be more streamlined with tables.

Generally, figuring out where all my stuff should go shouldn't be too hard since the set-up of the room is about the same.  However, now that I will have tables, I have to think about managing everything that went in the kids' desks. Here's what I'm thinking, based on how I used tables way back when I taught first grade:

  • Book boxes/Writing boxes - I had book boxes this last year and stopped using them around mid-year.  I did this because most of my students were reading a chapter book or two, making the book boxes a bit much for such small books.  However, I realized that I could not check up on what the kids were reading as easily.  Even thought the kids said they did not feel I should use book boxes when I poled the class at the end of the year, I think I will bring them back for teacher reasons. 
  • I would also like to add student writing folders and notebooks to these boxes. We started with Lucy Calkins this year and reading and writing felt very unconnected.  It may also be because I taught reading and my co-teacher taught writing, so they really were separated.  I hesitated to pull writing into reading time because the kids were on writing overload by the time they finished with their hour.  I would like to bring reading and writing back together when I begin to teach on my own again next year.
  • Table Baskets - I used to have a basket in the center of the tables to hold student Finish and WIP folders.  I am not sure if I can fit tool boxes in here as well or if I need a separate storage area.
  • Math Baskets - to store our two math books and folders.
  • Folder containers - I think that I will have specific containers for content area folders, since we use them so rarely.
  • Ugh - Spelling books - maybe another basket?  An cursive books?  Maybe the Finish Folders?  I have to think about this a bit more. It may come to me in the moment the first week of school.

2. Classroom Library
Ahh!  My long-suffering library.  Moving between grades and moving classroom has taken its toll on my poor book collection.  In first and second grade, I had a leveled library and a class library with picture books that I did not feel it was necessary to level.  When I first moved to third grade, I didn't have time nor did I think it was a good idea to level my books.  After bumping down to second grade, where I was again using level books, I had a different take when I returned to third grade this past year and leveled all the chapter books. This caused more issues that I ever thought.  Mainly, students and parents became *way* too focused on levels.  After poling the kids, I have decided to regroup my books by interest and remove many of the books that were either too young or were not of interest - the kids helped me with this during the last week.  I want to make book choice a strong focus the first week of school in the next year. Now, I just need to re-label the books and baskets and maybe decide on some different ways to store the books.

3. Daily 5 Update
I let go of much of D5 over the last two years and regret it big time!  I would like to restructure my classroom and storage so that it is conducive to this framework again.  I want to set up space for spelling materials, instead of relying on the spelling workbooks.  I want to set up a writing area instead of only focusing on Calkins. Most of all, I want to have my decor reflect the principles of D5 again - bulletin boards, center board organizer, student materials.

I could list so much more, but it is best to think small so that things stay manageable.  I am determined to keep my teaching life more simple this coming year!

What are your classroom improvements?  Check out this great link up!


1 comment:

  1. I wish my class had tables instead of desks. We use trays and I'm working on getting rid of them. They just collect clutter and students lose/destroy work.

    ♥ Stephanie
    Fishing for Education Blog