Setting Up Your
Elementary Classroom Lisa
Tables or Individual Desks
Using desks allows your students to have their own personal
space. This is very important to many students. On the first day
of school, or even before, if there is some kind of open house or
"meet the teacher night" I allow students to choose their
own seats. Many need the security of sitting close to a friend.
However, I soon find that there are some combinations that can be
disruptive to the class, so I only have them sit in that configuration
for about a week until I can sort out the best seating arrangement.
Then I assign new seats in table groups that respect their need
to be near friends they are comfortable with and those with whom
they can productively work.
Visuals or Posters
Students love looking at colorful, fun posters. I also feel
that in elementary school your literacy program is better supported
when you take the opportunity to put lots of writing and labels
up for them to see. A large calendar is also important so that you
can count the days of the month and teach about long term planning.
Be sure your calendar is labeled with all the important events of
the month. I also like to leave ample space to display students'
work. This can even include hanging art projects or other pieces
from the lights or the ceiling!
I don't think you can ever have too many
books in the classroom to read for enjoyment. Include books that
are at a variety of reading levels and writing styles and make them
accessible to everyone. Use built in bookcases, if possible, or
make your own using milk crates. One year I asked parents to donate
any unused bookcases and I received an interesting variety.
I like to put a comfortable chair, small couch, cushions or
beanbags in my classroom for students to use when they are reading
silently. Even if you have only a small space in your classroom,
it really makes for a nice retreat. Again, I have asked parents
for donations and one year I even received a small rug to mark off
our space. I also like to have a special chair that we call an author's
chair for students to sit at when they are reading their stories
in front of the class. This can be any kind of chair.