KinderGals: Classroom Set Up

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Classroom Set Up

Can you believe that summer is over? Well, at least where we live it is. We started back to school last week and the kids will come this week! 
This was our starting point! We had covered everything that we could with sheets when we left school in May. We had already cleaned everything before we left and didn’t want to have to do it again!
So, what does it look like now? Over the next several days I am going to share a different part of the set up with you.
Here’s the post schedule:
Wednesday: Where are all the tables? Creating the Environment
Thursday: What’s on the Walls?
Friday: Teacher Organization Tips
Saturday: Setting Up Math Centers
Sunday: Setting Up Literacy Centers
Monday: Managing the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop Materials
Tuesday: How We Set Up and Manage the Large Group Area
Wednesday: What About Behavior?
Thursday: How It All Fits Together
So…Where are the Tables?
If you look at this picture, it doesn’t look like we have very many tables…and we don’t. Our kids work all over the room, not just at tables. The don’t have an assigned seat. What they are doing determines where they sit. I will tell you more about that during the literacy and math center posts.
Ask your kids where they want to work and I bet not many will pick the table!
Slide5What tables do you have?
We DO have tables. We have:
* two kidney tables, one for Megan and one for any “other” adult that might come to help out---resource teacher, parents, paraprofessionals, ME!, etc.
*a large rectangle table in our art area.
*a small table for the mail center.
*a small table that serves as the table in our home living area, but is used for other purposes when we aren’t in choice centers.
The only segment of the day when all the children need to have a “table” surface is during Writer’s Workshop. So, we fill up the tables with kids and then one groups gets to work on the floor with clip boards! They can’t wait until it is their turn to get on the floor.
Why does this work for us?
*Well, we do all of our large group teaching from the carpet. You will be able to read more about that next Tuesday.
*We want to have lots of “comfy” areas with sofas, fun chairs, rugs, and pillows.
We have:
*Baskets of “reading buddies”
*Small rugs and pillows
*Fun benches and chairs
Why do we cover our tables?
Well, to be honest, we originally covered our tables to make a good first impression to our parents at Open House. We love the way it makes the room look. It makes is so much calmer and “warmer”.
But, here’s what we found out once we actually used the covered tables…they clean so much easier than the table surface. We just spray with the school approved cleaner and wipe with a magic eraser. No scrubbing! The glue and markers come right off!
We also found that the noise level went down. No things banging on the tables! The table cloth muffles the sound.
To attach the table cloths to the rectangle tables we use the double sided carpet table. We just put a strip of the tape along the edges of two long sides. We hold the cloth and stand across from each other. We stretch the cloth as we lower it to the table. Sticks right to it!
To attach the table cloths to the kidney table, we cut and tape it underneath the table. We used strapping tape as it holds the best. Don’t use cheap tape! It will come right off!
Now, they do rip! The children will push a basket, hit it with scissors, or who knows what else and you will see a tear. No problem, we just put a piece of wide clear tape right over the rip.  We change the table cloths for each season, so they only have to last a few months.
Why do we make the room “cute”?
There is always lots of discussion about cute, over stimulation and the like. Not going to lie, we like cute! We enjoy going to work. We like the environment. It feels good to be there. So if we feel that way, how do the kids feel? There is a fine line between too much and too little. There is lots of brain research about too much stimulation, but there is also a lot of research about novelty and how it stimulates activity within the brain and increases potential to learn. Just be careful and mindful about what you have.
To end: Here’s a quick story as to why we want a great environment:
Last month I was at the nail salon getting my nails done when the lady beside me asked me if I was Mrs. Adsit. I told her yes. She told me that her kids went to the school where I taught before I retired. Then, she said, “your room was always so inviting. We all wanted to stop and look in just to see what was going on. The kids in your room were lucky. I know they loved it, too!”
Enough said…. Smile
See ya tomorrow!
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We Teach Like A Rockstar said...

This makes me soooo excited to get into my room and decorate. Thanks for sharing! The kiddos are going to love learning in this classroom and it is a nice home away from home!!! Amber ~ Kindergarten Rocks Blog

Sarah said...

I really like the covered tables! Might have to do that with my kidney table as well!


Lee Ann Rasey said...

I love how you create such a fun room! I am in the process of moving to kindergarten, and the room is a challenge. Very small with very little room to make centers and large meeting area and not much wall space(used to be 5th grade room). I wish I had your vision to look "outside of the box". I like your idea of no tables; however, we are expected to have students sit at tables for proper position for correct letter formation and neat handwriting.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to following the set up posts! I start on my room next week, and right now I'm feeling overwhelmed about it. I've been slowly making changes to how things are done (I teach in a very small, private school where desks for K we're the norm!) I feel like this is the break away year. Like I can make any changes I want, but honestly, after doing desks and K the "old school" way I'm scared. I've been doing it this way for so long! So, thanks for the play by play of how you ser things up! I desperately need the ideas :)

Room 214-Ms. Wenzel's Blog said...

A child needs to feel safe and invited before he/she will learn. You set that emotional stability! Congrats! Smiles and stop by anytime!

Unknown said...

What kind of table cloths do you use and where do you get them?

Kim and Megan said...

They are the vinyl table cloths with that white mesh type backing. Not sure what it's called. We have picked them up everywhere. The ones we used this year came from Family Dollar. But, we have found them at Wal Mart, Target, K Mart, Dollar General.....We try to pick up the seasonal ones after the season for the next year. That way we can get them cheap!

Katie said...

It looks great! I love how bright it is. I just finished setting up my classroom too!!

Living the First Grade Dream

Kelly Stover said...

Lee Ann-
I have tons of wall space but no bulletin boards. So I make my own! Our administrators let us staple things right into the dry wall. Surprisingly it barley makes a hole in the wall. I use fabric and borders. If I'm displaying student work that changes often I attach clothes pins so I don't have make tons of staple holes!
Hope this helps!

The Zoo Crew Teacher said...

Love everything! Please share how you use your 'reading buddies' and share how you introduce this (and when). To your Ks. I've always wanted to use this idea but haven't tried it yet. thanks!

Shopnuv said...
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