Friday, July 17, 2015

Top 10 Classroom Set Up MUST HAVES!

This year I am setting up my third classroom in my third building.  Though the way the room is set up is different, there are 10 things I find to be absolutely necessary no matter where or what I teach.  So... here are my classroom set up MUST HAVES!

1. Anchor Chart Focus Wall- This isn't a full picture of the wall, but you get it.  I have seen this on Pinterest with border instead of colorful tape.  I used Scotch Expressions Tape because it is thinner than border, therefore saving space for more anchor chart frames!  I had space for 5 on my wall.  I used black paper, blue duct tape for the border to hold it on the wall, and hot glued clothespins to the top of the duct tape border so we could change out anchor charts easily throughout the year.  My kids knew where to look for go-to important information.  It was also a HUGE favorite for my administration ;) 

2. Wring Process Clip Chart- Our current language arts curriculum no longer makes time for writer's workshop. (It's a real shame.)  I found it to be extremely difficult to find time to meet with my students to conference on their writing pieces and keep track of where each student was in the process during process pieces.  A writing process clip chart is a MUST!  Students were able to see which of their peers were available to edit with and I was able to quickly see who was ready to meet with me. 
This is one of my TpT items. Click the picture to purchase!
3. Turned In Work Bin- Seriously, this changed my life last year!  I cannot tell you enough how awesome this is!  I bought a portable file box, added file folders with each student's number, and voila! Student work was already organized by student and it was super easy for me to take home their work and not have to worry about losing it.  My school last year also required Tuesday Communication Folders which included important PTA notices as well as student work with feedback to go home.  The turned in work bin made Tuesday folders super easy because all I had to do was go through each student's folder, add feedback to necessary papers, and stuff folders.  This also eliminated any issues with students who could not seem to remember to write their names on papers.  I tried the "No Name" wall, but often times the ones who didn't write their name also didn't care to check the wall for their work.
Click the picture to download the freebie in my TpT store.

4. Student Check In/Out- After teaching routines and procedures I allow my students to leave the room freely to use the restroom.  I did start keeping a bathroom log by the door due to some students taking advantage of that privilege so I could have documentation for parents.  Anyway, I bought a baking tray, sanded it down, and spray painted it to add some color.  I used wash tape to section it off.  I made the magnets with pebbles from Michael's, puffy paint, and circular magnets.  This was a great way for met to see where students where at all times if they weren't in the room.  Students were able to check and see if another boy or girl was already in the restroom because I only allowed one boy and one girl out at a time.

5. Crate Seats- Looking to add some extra storage and extra color to your classroom?  Buy some colorful crates (I have seen bright ones at Walmart and Target around back to school time), wood (Lowe's and Home Depot usually will cut to size for you), fabric of your choice, staple gun, and pillow/quilt stuffing from a fabric store.  Make sure to have the squares of wood cut slightly smaller than the inside of the crate where it will sit since you are adding fabric.  These crate seats stored extra student supplies all year long and provided extra seating at my meeting area. Every year just reupholster with new, clean fabric.

6. Command Center- Last year I bought a white bookshelf from Target to put by my door.  I stored items that needed to go in and out of the classroom easily.  Examples: breakfast envelopes, breakfast trash bags, copy folder, library book crate, bin for borrowed items from other teachers, box tops container, nurse passes, etc. (I will update with pictures as soon as I can get back into my classroom)

7. Daily Papers Storage Bin- These plastic drawers are a great way to organize the items you will need every day.  I keep my whole group papers, read aloud, and items I need to set out for new independent work stations in these drawers.  This is a great way to ensure all of your items are organized just in case there is an emergency and you have to call out or you're running late and your neighbor teacher needs to get something out to get your students started.  I can't tell you how many times my grade level chair or a teammate said to me, "I needed to borrow a copy of the activity to run my own set and I knew exactly where I would find it in your room."  I also loved hearing from my neighbor teacher, "When your sub stated she couldn't find the papers for the day I knew she was confused because your stuff is always so organized.  I just pointed out the drawers."  I LIVE for those moments. haha. 
This photo is not from my classroom.  I have different labels on my organizer, but this is how I labeled my drawers.
8. Large Calendar- I bought this calendar pack on TpT from Lovely Little Learners two years ago when I taught Kindergarten.  It was nice to have a large visual calendar for my kinders, but I didn't realize how useful it would be for my 2nd graders.  I would write our specials, due dates, etc. in the squares.  My kids always looked to the calendar to see important dates and loved when I updated it each month so see the important days for the new month.  I used Scotch Expressions Tape to set up the blocks.  It does take a while to tape up evenly, but I truly believe it's worth it.  If I didn't I wouldn't have set it up in 3 different classrooms!
Click the picture to go to Lovely Little Learners' TpT page for purchase!
9. Don't Lose Your Papers!- As teachers we are handed important papers all day long and we have no time at all to put them in a safe place.  For me, these papers are safest on the wall near my "desk."  Last year I used push pins on a cork board strip that was on the wall.  I don't have that in my room this year, so I found this gem at Target in the Dollar Spot section.  I can't nail anything into the wall, but I'm going to use Command hooks to hang it so I can continue to clip up important papers.

10. Small Group Materials Storage- Last year I bought this 6-drawer rolling organizer at Michael's on SALE!  It was such a steal!  Nonetheless, Each of the top 4 drawers are for small group books,  graphic organizer copies, word study cards, etc.  I keep this right next to my kidney table and have easy access to each group's materials.  In the bottom two drawers I store extra graphic organizer copies and dry erase sleeves. This year I will be team teaching so I am wondering if I'm going to want to purchase another to keep my AM & PM classes separate. Hmmm.
On Amazon they have the colorful version as well as one with black bins!
Happy organizing!

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