Room Organization 

Here are ways that I organize my room.  Mid-year, I rearrange the room to give it a fresh look.


 Student Desks

Desks should be organized in a way that suits both the teacher and the students.  The students should be able to see the board and any other "sections" that you use for teaching.  Also, desk arrangements should be arranged according to the class dynamic. There have been some years where my students were too "rowdy" to be able to sit in big groups.  Teachers must decide what works best in their class.

Types of seating arrangements:

1. Groups of 4 desks that form a square. Great for cooperative group work.
2. Two/three large groups that form long rows: Student desks are put face to face. You can have up to eight desks per large group.  
3. U-shaped: Desks are arranged to make one or two U's.  The teacher focuses the attention in the center or up front.
4. Traditional rows and columns (which I rarely see anymore).
5. Square: Arrange desks to form one or two large squares (square within a square).
6. Triad: Put three desks together. Great for cooperative group work.


 Space Saving Ideas

Many classes don't offer a lot of space and some teachers do not have enough furniture to store their materials.  Here are some space saving ideas that will help you utilize every inch of space in your room.  

1. Windows: Windows offer a lot of usable space for the class. Use them to display your students' work or to create a word wall.
2.
Doors: You can use your doorways (cabinets included) to create bulletin boards, put up posters, your charts, or create a learning center.
3.
Radiator and filing cabinets: In my class, there is a long radiator with a metallic cover that runs the length of my windows. If you have something similar, there are many ways to utilize them. Buy magnetic hooks to hang small charts, bags for storage, or clipboards. You can also place posters, mini-word walls, post information like lunch menus, arrange magnetic letters, or use anything else that is magnetic. The sides of filing cabinets can be used the same way.
4.
Crates: Milk crates are great for storing materials, creating a center, or use as bookshelves.  You can pile milk crates to create chairs or tables (just throw a vinyl table cloth over the crates to create a table).
5.
Clothesline: Place a string or wire along the length of the classroom to create a clothesline.  Using clothespins, hang up student work, posters, or charts.
6.
Science Fair Poster Boards: These are great for helping create bulletin boards, posting word walls or assignments, or using it as a work display. They can also be used for centers or unit studies.


Storage

You have all these wonderful materials but you have limited storage. What do you do? Here are some inexpensive ways to create storage.

1. Milk Crates: Already mentioned, but worth mentioning again, find milk crates in your school, delis, supermarkets, etc. to use as containers or to use as shelves. They can also be used for filing by using hanging file folders. I use the hanging file folders as the students' mailbox-they each have their own file folder which serves as their mailbox.
2.
Baskets: You can find baskets for low cost at the dollar stores or arts/crafts stores. Baskets can store worksheets, folders, manipulatives, art materials, paper, supplies, or equipment.
3.
Store displays: Stores sometimes throw away their displays.  Here is an inexpensive way to get storage for videos, books, posters, etc. I found a bread holder with three shelves from a supermarket---it was perfect for my big books.  A friend grabbed a video display and used it for his library. 
4.
Shoe Holders: You can use the plastic shoe holders that hang from the door for your supplies or as student mailboxes.
5.
Ziplock Bags: Using the one gallon or two gallon bags can help you organize papers, books (for the listening center), create learning centers, and hold manipulatives or any other materials.
6.
Shoe Boxes: These can be used for storing student materials, unit studies, and more.
7.
Tupperware Containers: Purchase these when they are on sale. I use them to store stickers, certificates, and prizes. That way, it clears up space in your desk and these items are easy to find. 
8. Coffee Cans: These hold small items and are fun for the kids to decorate.


Bulletin Boards

Bulletin boards require lots of work and materials. Here are ways to make it easier to organize and maintain.  Also listed are uses for bulletin boards.

Ideas on how to create and maintain bulletin boards:

1. If you have a lot of bulletin boards in your class and don't want to have to keep changing them every month or holiday, then use neutral borders and paper.  My classroom bulletin boards are not theme/holiday oriented so the only thing I have to change is the content.
2. Try to use fadeless paper to line your boards. Therefore, they last the whole year (or more!).
3. Keep your borders new by laminating them. It may be a tedious task, but they will last a long time.  
4. Create your own letters and laminate them. Use folders to organize the letters. For example, one folder will contain the letters A, B, C and the next folder D, E, F, and so forth.
5. It is easy to make your own decorations instead of buying them.  Ask the art teacher to draw the decorations for you if you are not artistically inclined. 
6. Graphic design software and graphic/clipart websites provide ways for you to make banners or decorations for your bulletin boards.
7. Organize decorations by month, season, or theme so they are easy to find when you put the bulletin board up again the following year. You can make big folders by stapling or gluing two very large sheets of oak tag or constructions paper. For the construction paper, I usually laminate them beforehand. Label each folder and store the contents.

Bulletin Board Displays

Here are some ways you can use bulletin boards in your classroom:

1. Calendar and the days of the week.
2. Weather Charts
3. Learning Centers
4. Student Work
5. Classroom Jobs
6. Word Wall
7. Spelling Winners of the Week
8. Birthdays
9. Student of the Month/Week
10. Library Check-Out.
11. Student Mailbox
12. Word Search
13. Behavior Management


 

    

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