If you have known me for any length of time (…say 5 minutes…) you know I am an organizing freak. I love it, live it, and breathe it. Last time I talked with my sister and she mentioned that last time I was home (for all of 3 days) I organized my closet. At home. In Cypress. Where I don’t live. But yet, I still felt it needed to be organized.
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My classroom is, sadly, where I spend the majority of my life during the school year. Although, I am proud to say that I just wrapped up year 4 and I have successfully mastered the “I’m not staying till any later than 4:00” motto. Because…let’s be real, teaching isn’t my life, I can’t spend all my time there. Besides…4 years in, my classroom is about as organized as it can get 😉
Elementary Classroom Tour
I thought it would be fun to do a little tour of my classroom and check out a few of the ways that I keep things organized and running smoothly in Room 154. I’ve broken this post up into the different areas of my classroom as well as some related posts to help you organize those different areas of your classroom!
When you first enter our classroom, this is what you are greeted with! Desks situated in groups of 4 (and 5) to accommodate for Cooperative Learning, which I am a huge believer in.
In the left corner is my teacher area. I like a “teacher area” because it allows me to designate a little corner of my own in a classroom filled with seven and eight year olds!
I have my teacher desk along with my U-Table. Just this year I added a cute little shelf behind my U-Table to better organize (go figure) my Guided Reading supplies and materials.
Related: How I Organize My Small Group Teaching Materials video
The bookshelf to the right of the U-Table holds all of my professional learning materials, my personal children’s books that I don’t want my kids having round-the-clock access too, and leveled readers. I also keep track of attendance and classroom jobs on the red cabinet to the right.
To the right of the door, after you enter, is “command central”. Here is one place where I organize student materials. Command Center is where students turn in their Take Home Journals, homework spirals, and where I return work after it has been graded.
This is also the computer/technology area. However, the iPads are still stowed away in a drawer for a few more days. The circular green tin houses all of the kid’s headphones so it is easy to pick up and grab on the way to the computer lab.
The green magazine holder holds their Take Home folders. Then to the left of that are our “Mailboxes.” Essentially a box with legal size hanging folders with each students classroom number. When I am done grading, papers go in the top silver tray for my homeroom and the bottom silver tray for my partner’s homeroom. My handy-dandy mail person then sorts the graded work into each student’s folder. This system works great!…Except for the part about me forgetting to have them empty their stuff out on a regular basis.
To the left of the door is our Writing Center, Listening Center, Word Wall (English), schedule and objectives. As well as the Math Manipulatives center and an open space for students to sit and do Math Stations in the corner. Above the manipulative cart is the Math Word Wall where I will hang important anchor charts throughout the year.
Related: Math Station Organization
You can also see the easel which is where I do most of my whole group teaching at.
Behind that is a pocket chart where I keep track of Literacy Stations.
The additional green tape on the white board is for my Spanish Word wall. This year, in the Dual Language Program, we are implementing both an English and Spanish Word Wall. I was not happy about this at first. In fact, I told my teammates I wasn’t doing it….It takes me a while to warm up to change! 🙂 But now, I am actually kind of excited about it. Mostly selfishly because I am looking forward to all the Spanish I am actually going to learn from my little babes this year!
The next thing you are likely to see is the Classroom Library. Here is where I store all the books my children have access to in the classroom. In the past I have always had a “library nook” in my room. I close the library off with the bookshelves to create a quiet little space. I have always loved it, but it always takes up so much space.
Our campus has had the privilege of having Debbie Diller on our campus for the last 2 years. She told me to move my library the first year. I didn’t listen. The second year she continued to talk about how important it was to have “open space”…Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Remember how I told you it takes me a while to warm up to change?) By year 2.5, I finally decided to give her way a try. And I am SOLD! Keeping my library open allows for so much space and room to move around!
Student Material Organization
Lastly, here is a shot of our room from standing in my desk area. The back wall is full of cubbies and cabinets. The cubbies store all of the Team Materials. I am a big believer in sharing materials in the classroom. Probably because I have never even tried individual materials…
Actually, I lie, I did let my kids do that for a little while at the end of last year and it drove me CrAzY! But I digress….
The caddies hold things like talking objects, sticky notes, notepads, and pencils. The 3 pencil boxes below hold glue sticks and scissors in one box, markers in another, and crayons in the third. I have found this to be super helpful because A. kids can’t fight over “what’s mine” and “what’s yours” cause IT’S OURS! B. Supplies aren’t a distraction at the table C. This teaches sharing and cooperating. Oh…and taking care of OUR supplies.
So there it is! My organized classroom geared (almost) up for another year in 2nd grade. Of course, not everything is complete. I have completed some more things since taking these pictures yesterday. Two years away from the blogging world, but I am happy to be back! I have some really exciting plans around the corner and can’t wait to share them with you.
Edited: Those exciting plans? The Simply Teach Podcast and YouTube Channel!
Stay tuned for a follow up post on my cabinets. I didn’t think mine were all that organized, but I have a friend/co-worker (Shout out to Holly!) who every year comes in my room to ask me how I organize my cabinets.You can read about those organized cabinets here and here!
Related: Classroom Cabinet Tour video and How to Organize Classroom Cabinets video
Also in the coming weeks, I will post some classroom makeovers I have helped out with this past week. I decided to post my organizing services online and have had a few people take me up on that! I will share before and afters, as well as talk about what we did to get their classroom ready, and some great things they are doing in their rooms!
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Until next time!