The day finally came...this past Monday.
I MOVED INTO MY NEW CLASSROOM!
Can you sense the excitement in my writing?!?! This move was long overdue!
With my class of 27 students, the classroom we were in since school started in September started to feel smaller and smaller as each day went on. We made it work, but, boy, did it ever feel GREAT to show the students our new class and officially move in yesterday.
When I went to work on Monday, this is what I had to work with.
So many possibilities were running through my head. It is a MUCH bigger classroom than I had ever been in and I knew that I didn't necessarily want more stuff in it, I wanted more space for the kids to move.
If you've been following my blog for the last couple of months you will know that I am currently taking a Kindergarten Part 1 AQ course with Joanne Babalis. She has been such an inspiration, sharing her classroom and insights with me, and has the patience of a saint! Really!
I think I ask way too many questions when I'm with her!
You can check out her fabulous blog here.
I've modelled quite a few things you will see in this new classroom after ideas I've picked up from being in her classroom. It's such an inviting and family-like environment that I really wanted the children in my class to feel the same way when they come to school each day.
Here's our new classroom (a view from the door).
My students are used to self-regulated snack. Simply put, when they are hungry for a snack, they choose something to eat and sit at the snack table which is open all day long. To help make this a little easier for the children, since we all know that it can be overwhelming for a child to open a lunch box and see so many things, we ask parents to label snacks #1 (morning) and #3 (afternoon) and lunch foods as #2.
On top of the cubbies we placed photos of all the families. Students brought these in at the beginning of the year. On the wall above are our Nature Names.
My favourite area of the classroom has to be the Writing Centre. In my old room nearly ALL of the kids loved the writing centre. It was a small trapezoid table with some unorganized papers, a container of markers and crayons and a drawer full of stencils. It looked messy and the kids left it that way all the time.
I decided that since this was probably the most popular centre in the room, it had to be much bigger to accommodate everyone. It also had to be neat and organized.
Let me tell you that when something it presented in an orderly way, kids will put things back where they are (okay, maybe not 100% of the time, but so far it's working!).
Here it is....the new Writing Centre!
The last picture shows my Vocabulary Flip Books. Students use these like mini dictionaries. They are arranged by theme. You can find these here.
My ECE, Mrs. Petrone, and I decided to create an inviting place to read (which we call the Book Nook) and do other quiet activities, such as the Imagination Board and Puppet Centre.
This is my small group reading and writing area ... it doubles as my teaching desk too!
(Please excuse the mess - long day and I still have to tidy up!)
This is our classroom birthday bulletin board. I just love the idea of using the students' photos!
Here is our new bulletin board called our Wonder Wall. This was taken from Joanne Bablis' classroom. Once she explained how she utilizes her photos, I knew that I wanted to showcase my students wonderings as well.
This is my beautiful new carpet. I wanted to keep with the natural colours theme.
You will notice an alphabet above our bulletin boards at the front of the classroom.
We made that alphabet using "Beautiful Stuff" that we brought in from home. There was a lot of work before the alphabet took shape. Students discussed what they brought in and why it was important to them, they sorted everything in various piles, and then choose what would be appropriate to use for each letter of the alphabet. We wanted to use things that started with that letter (i.e. I - insects, J - jacks and Jack-o-lanterns)
This is our Blocks area. I decided to have the students use the carpet to build instead of a small space which we used in our old classroom. You should have seen the creations that were taking place! It's incredible what a difference giving students more space to explore and build makes!
I have a few other areas of the class...sand, sensory bin, math carpet area, listening centre, dramatic centre. I promise to post these pictures soon (still a work in progress...the dramatic centre is reverting back to a McDonald's...the children haven't finished assembling it all).
I'm loving my new classroom and so are the children!