So, I finally did it. I finally got this stupid monkey off my back. Every year before school I get anxious over setting up my room in the perfect way. This year I’ve been a bit extreme about it. I’ve been planning it since I knew which room I was getting. My room is designed to hold no more than 14 students, since I teach special education and they designed the rooms that way on purpose. But you know what? I GET A ROOM TO MYSELF! So though I may make jokes about being the smallest classroom in the building (that was last year, and that was no joke. This year I have the second-smallest classroom), please punch me in the neck if you ever hear me legitimately complaining about having a room. Seriously. Right in the jugular. But since my room happens to be low on space but high on activity, organization and management of what (and who) is in that room is key. And yesterday I went into school to get all that settled so I can get this stupid monkey off of me.
So let me show you a few not-so-great-and-kind-of-blurry pictures that I took with my phone when I was there yesterday.
This is what I walked into today:
And then I started actually organizing and getting down to business. I love not having a big room because this didn’t take me long.
I love my desk area! No extra crap on the desk (my “tech desk” is up front so I can dock the computer there to use the Promethean Board). Just the necessary stapler, tape dispenser, and hole punch(es). That is a bulletin board above my desk with just sample fabric I bought at The Walmarts for a few bucks each (3 half yards, I think? I don’t know. I could be making that up). Don’t judge me for the wrinkles and the visible pins. I just threw it up there to see if I’d like it. And I do. I’ll make it look better later.
And yes, that is a *ahem, third* whiteboard next to that bulletin board.
On the shelf behind my area, I have a 3 little drawers and a medium-sized cloth bin from Le Target to hold my personal stuff, plus pens, pencils…the usual teacher stuff.
BTDubbs- those are Facebook “Like” and “Dislike” stamps. The kids love them! I don’t actually use the “Dislike” stamp, but every so often a teenager will leave my classroom with half his body “Liked” and the other half “Disliked.” Sometimes this is self-imposed, sometimes not. They love it.
It drives me nuts when half the students don’t have a pen or a piece of paper or a clue, or what-have-you. So they can go here if they need something. If it isn’t there, I don’t have it. Those two drawers in the cabinet are also for them. The doors down below are NOT for them. They already know this since it was my room last year.
Since I am planning on implementing Individual Student Notebooks (more on that process in a later post), this is where they can also find all the extra materials they will need for that- glue, post-its, colored pencils, etc.
But wait! There’s more!! I am in this class for 3 periods, but I also float out to 2 different classes. And I need to lug my gear and still keep it organized. Behold…the 31 Gifts Organizing Utility Tote!
Ok. I know what you’re thinking. I didn’t come up with that idea on my own. Good eye! You’re right! I totally stole it from Pinterest. Go here to see the original post over at The Nest Effect. She’s a genius.
So there you have it. I like to be as frills-free in the classroom as possible. I find a lot of extra stuff over-stimulating for my students and just plain unnecessary. So some of you might be thinking, “But wait! There’s still white space on the walls!” or “Hold the phone! Aren’t you going to put more stuff in there??” Actually, this room is almost done now. Obviously, I’m not completely finished and I’m not
even close to being ready to start the school year yet, but I feel good about it. I feel like I got a good jump on the year. Now I don’t have to spend the teacher work week scrambling for time to put my room together. Now I can use that week to scramble for time to meet with all 3 of my PLC’s and my two collaborative partners. But at least I’m one monkey down!