The 2022-2023 school year officially begins for me on Wednesday, so how about a quick classroom tour?
I want to start off by saying that 75% of my classroom is made up of personal items that I have collected, purchased or had donated. After 17 years in education, you find ways to get the things you really want in your classroom without buying it all at one time. So, new teachers, don’t compare. Remember that it has taken me a long time to get to this point, and I’ve also had many items donated to my room as well.
This is a quick view of the front of my classroom. When this picture was taken, the picnic table had not yet arrived.
This is a view of the back of the classroom. Most of the classroom is exactly the same as it was last year. I have the exact same shelves, tables, etc. I just rearranged and swapped out boards as well as added a few decorations that really make the room cozier. I did add a few new elements to our room: a new calm down corner, Target tables with foot stools, and a picnic table.
After much debate and tons of searching, I found this table and splurged. It is the perfect size for first graders and can hold up to four students. During summer school I did have six students try it to sit there, but it was way too small for that many. They all wanted a turn to sit here and loved that it was their perfect size. Click here to purchase from Amazon.
The calm down corner is really a bed canopy draped over my filing cabinets. I added a small cushion in the middle to make the spot comfy. This is a special place in our classroom for de-escalating, taking a break, or cooling down when strong emotions are beginning to emerge. Since COVID and safety protocols have changed I moved this important space into our rooms. The canopy allows students to feel safe. I placed this near my small group table so I can be close by if needed, but it is also placed at the back of the room so that it reduces distractions and negative attention seeking behaviors.
Our friends at Hand2Mind sent us several goodies that are now available at Target ,including these Sensory Fidget Tubes. These are perfect for our calm down corner and will be sure to keep disruptions to a minimum, since they can be flipped and turned over without making noises.
Around our room I added lots of items from the Teacher Created Resources “Everyone is Welcome” line. The colors match what I already have in my room, and are very calm and muted. I want my classroom to be welcoming, but also calming; otherwise so much clutter can cause added stress or overstimulation for students. I try to only display the necessities, and reduce as much clutter or unnecessary decorations as possible.
I used their words of affirmations to go around our sink mirror. The boys and girls love checking out wiggly teeth here, as well as their hair. Click here for the link to these message cards.
I also put up a welcome banner, number line and inspirational messages. We found having the number line up on the wall during summer school was very helpful for students to refer back to as we counted or worked on number order.
I also used their job chart because we all know how hard it is to keep track of line leader and other classroom jobs. I love having as many jobs as possible to help make sure everyone takes ownership of our classroom. Another job I added this year, after talking with a fabulous kindergarten teacher, was sweepers or broom helpers at the end of the day. She mentioned the kids loved sweeping the floors each day and what an awesome job they did.
I grabbed this broom set from Amazon and, of course, the summer school students loved it when it was their turn to sweep and hold the dust pan. Who knew?!?
Along with a job chart, I also added a flexible seating chart as well. This will help us as we are choosing our learning spots and help reduce confusion as to where everyone is sitting.
I anticipate that the picnic table will be very popular this year.
I also think the students will love this work space as well. The teal tables were on clearance at Target this summer for $10 each and the “foot stools” were from Dollar Tree/Family Dollar for $5 each. Pretty awesome flexible seating options for around $30 total!
Finally, my back bulletin boards needed a little sprucing as well. I made the word wall so I can include content related words (not “snap” or “sight” words). We will also display our names here as well.
One of my biggest summer projects was creating this sound wall. I wanted something that matched my classroom, but more importantly, served as a working and a usable board in our classroom. You can see more about this display by clicking here.
I’m looking forward to meeting 20+ new students on Friday! Let the new school year begin!!!