I admit there are times where I’ve teared at the end of the Extreme Home Makeover when the family sees their amazing and dream like home after all the struggles they’ve gone through. There’s something about the predictable formula of makeover shows that draws me in. Well, my classroom has slowly been having a makeover throughout the year, not quite as drastic as the makeovers on the TV show, but enough to make an impact on learning.
The past few weeks we’ve been doing a coaching cycle with our literacy coach, where we’ve done various walk throughs in classrooms. We’ve been going in small groups, looking at classroom charts, libraries and classroom setup. I absolutely love being able to see other classrooms. There are so many amazing teachers in my school, and I hardly ever get a chance to go into the classrooms of the other grades. I enjoyed having the chance to walk through classrooms from 3rd-8th grade.
It’s so interesting to see how other teachers set up the same amount of space that we’re given in our classroom. I was so impressed by all the creativity and uses of the spaces I saw. I felt very inspired to really reflect on my own classroom space and be more intentional with how I set things up. Here are a few reflections after my visits:
1. Create bold, visual and interactive charts. I decided to try to get more pictures and visuals with the text on my charts. Also, I used various colored post-its to make things pop out. I have some interactive charts like the one that keeps progress on our book club groups. I love to go to chartchums when I need some inspiration on spicing up my charts!
2. Utilize the entire classroom space. In my original classroom, I had wanted my meeting area in the back and it took up 2/3 of the space in the back with pockets of space not used for anything. I changed my meeting area in the front, that way I can utilize my projector and document camera during my mini-lessons.
I also divided the back into two equal areas. I got a new table so I could do small group lessons there while keeping the library in the other half. My students and I are really enjoying the new set up!
3. Create more interactive bulletin boards. Again, I’m trying to be more intentional in how I use my classroom space including bulletin boards. On one section of the bulletin boards in the back of my classroom, I’m using to keep track of post-it notes that students do in reading workshop. I’m sorting them into categories we use: progressing, secure, & exceeds expectations. That way, students can see where they are in the spectrum and can help them push their thinking and writing to becoming in the secure and exceeds expectations categories.
We’ll continue to add post-it notes as we continue through our fantasy unit. You can see the post-its hanging in the picture above. I got this great idea from another fabulous 5th grade teacher on my team, Kate!
How do you utilize your classroom space effectively? What tips can you share? When was the last time you visited another colleagues classroom for ideas?