Believe it or not, you CAN transform your classroom from the chaos it currently is to an organized, welcoming space! I’m going to show you how we did this teacher’s disorganized classroom makeover.
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Teresa was my very first “classroom makeover.” I met Teresa at school during my first year. She was teaching in the SPED department and went on to spend two years there.
We both moved to second grade the same year. While Teresa had plenty of experience in other teachers’ classrooms, she had no real”classroom experience” of her own.
And she was struggling
Disorganized Classroom Makeover
We planned to spend a day over Thanksgiving break working on getting her classroom setup in a way that maximized her space as well as get some routines in place for her and her students.
Check out the pics below to see what all we did! (And in true Kelly fashion, I forgot to take before pics. So the “before pics” are more like “30 minute in pics.”)
Teresa had a small class that year so her tables are set up in groups of three to four desks- which is what I always recommend teachers do.
Groups of three to four are great for cooperative learning opportunities and helps students develop communication skills while working with teammates.
In this picture I am standing at the entrance and you can barely see at the bottom of the picture, a big brown shelf that is sticking out from the wall to create an entrance way into the classroom.
She also has her teacher desk jutting out into the classroom floor space.
Teresa did what I think a lot of new teachers do. She has furniture pieces sticking out in her room.
I know what she is trying to do here, she is trying to create “nooks” and separate different areas from each other. But this breaks the room up SO much.
Classroom Organization After Pictures
We started by setting up routines for student materials. We put together some caddys for materials and also moved all of their textbooks to this area so that they weren’t taking up space in their desks.
The classroom library is one of the most important areas in the classroom, so we did that next.
We created a little library area. You can see we didn’t do anything fancy. I think it is typical to feel that you have to spend hundreds of dollars to get your classroom set up. But sometimes, just a desk made into a shelf will work! At least until you have time to find something for a good price.
We also organized her books into sections and then created labels for each of the categories.
Teacher Space Organization
Next we got her area set up. We pushed her desk back against the wall and put her U-Table in front of it. We also cleared off and organized her U-table using these steps.
She still has a “nook” area, but it doesn’t create as much separation and makes the area feel more open.
Teresa struggled with setting up routines for managing papers, plans, and work to be graded. So we used some of her orange bins to create places for everything to go. Remember my rule? Everything has a home! 🙂
Then we made a spot for her guided reading materials. Teresa’s lesson plan materials are in the black crate (on the left back corner of the desk).
The red hanging files (pictured below) have folders with student numbers on them. This way she can put work that needs to be completed in the students folder and they can make up failing grades or get work that they missed while they were absent.
Again, we tried push as much stuff up against the wall as we could. Except for the brown shelf.
The plus to having this brown shelf sticking out is that it provides extra “wall space” to hang anchor charts or station activities.
On top of the brown shelf are bins for each of the tables with math station manipulatives inside for easy access during math whole group teaching time.
We created word walls for each subject that she teaches and then we labeled them with letters from the die cut machine.
Lastly, we used my favorite method for setting up seating arrangements.
Each student is given a sticky note that is based on their level. I usually go based off DRA scores to determine their levels at the beginning of the year.
The idea is to split your class evenly into four groups; High, High-Medium, Low- Medium, Low. Then you are able to move the sticky notes around to an arrangement that works.
I always write the table number they are sitting out so that I can be sure to move them around and keep from placing kids at the same table again.
Want to makeover your own room? Click the box below and get your free copy of my “Classroom Makeover Goal Planning Sheet.”
I walk you through all the steps of identifying your “top 3” areas and creating a plan to help you execute your classroom makeover.
And…if you do makeover your classroom, take some before and afters for me, please!
Want to see more classroom makeovers? Here are some of my favorites.
Until next time,
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