This year I decided to completely redesign my classroom! After setting it all up and knowing I will continuously be tweaking it, I decided it is time to reveal the new look.
Every year I am always thinking about how I can improve from the previous year. Although it is a lot of extra work at the beginning of the year, it gives a sense of pride and accomplishment to get in and begin fresh. For the past year I have been dreaming of using bright color to lighten up my small science classroom.
Time to get to the first thing first, setting up the furniture. Compared to most science classrooms mine is small and still hast to accommodate up to 30 seats. In addition to the small classroom, I have nearly no wall space as they covered in cabinets, whiteboards or windows. And on top of that I have an emergency shower fully exposed and SMART TV that is huge. I hope to get a mounted projector some day so I don’t have to work around about 4 feet of TV on a cart. Anyway, my first task was to figure out a way to set up the classroom furniture for form and function. Although I had a plan in my head it was time to try it out.
So after playing around with my student tables, my bookshelves, teacher desk and large TV I think I found a way to make it all work. Ta Dah! This is what I came up with after examining things from multiple angles and thinking about student needs.
To gain the most room I created 3 tables along my back wall where my windows are. Last year I had four tables back there and it felt very crowded and student blocked my extra whiteboard which I wanted to have more access to this year. This allowed me to make 3 across the front/middle and add to the central table. Here is a look around my room from various angles.
Now the fun begins. I have been creating my classroom decorations all summer with my new theme of Black and White with Bright Colors. So it was time to put it all together taking into consideration the following:
- Direction my students are facing and see important information
- Where does it make sense for certain things to go
- What materials do students need access
- What ways can make student participation easiest
With all this in mind, I took the many things I spent my summer creating and printed, laminated and begin laying it all out.
I also laid out student materials that I wanted to have available all the time and began piecing it all together. Take a look!
My DOOR: All that was hanging on the outside of my door was the banner that said Science when students arrived. During the first days of school I did a lesson on “What is Science?” From the activity we defined this as seeking knowledge about the world. This is an activity I planned this summer because I wanted all students to feel connected to science is some way. Even if science was not their favorite subject that they were connected through an interest in learning and discovery.
The “inside” of my door I use for students. Here I have my classroom rules, consequences that our team uses and the school rules. In addition I have my hanging folders for my students. I teach 7th, 8th, and 9th Science. So the top three is where I put any handouts for students that were absent by grade level. They just have to go and grab it upon return. In addition, student have access to do a REDO/RELEARN, Retake an assessment and sign up for help. The bottom two folders are there for these purposes.
Accountable Talk: In Science I want my students to talk, yes “Talk.” It is critically important that students learn how to hold a conversation, share their ideas and disagree respectfully. I tell them on the first day, if there are no ideas, then there is no science. So everyday students are sharing ideas and we work on accountable talk. At the student tables I also have accountable talk cards they use.
Just below my Accountable Talk posters is the science skills that students will master and use throughout the entire year. Again form follow function. I make sure everything that goes up is used by students. As we introduce how to do each one of these and use them throughout the year students can reference them. These posters are different parts of the scientific process and/or scientific method. Here students will look for ways to make observations, write a testable question, write a hypothesis, make a data table and graph and write a conclusion.
Just below these posters is my student center. I keep lined paper, graph paper, blank white paper, whiteboards, expo markers and other supplies that we may need frequently.
Whiteboards: Last year I only really used one white board because my student desks blocked access to the other one. So this year I spent time thinking about how I would use them and what I would put up on them. The things I knew I wanted on them were:
1) Pencil Sign Out: As much as I dislike providing daily materials I found it much easier to have some for those who are unprepared.
2) Classroom Procedures: What I want students to do when they enter each day
3) Daily Learning Objectives for three grade levels
4) Other Posters: RACE response, Voice Level, etc.
On my front whiteboard the left side has the pencils, RACE response and daily routine upon entering. Then the rest of the board is available for teaching.
On my side whiteboard I put my Learning Objectives, Vocabulary and Success Criteria for each day. I also have our regular schedule and early release schedule. Soon I will also have student groups for my Advisory class.
Near the door I keep my student turn in boxes for each grade level, one for my advisory and then a slot for all my extra copies. If a student loses one then they can get it off that stack. At the end of the week I throw anything left into recycle. My pencil sharpener is also right there.
My science cabinets run along the entire wall with my emergency shower at the end. So on my cabinets I placed my geeky science posters and my Lab Safety Posters. When we have a lab day I refer to them each time to put them in their forefront.
Student Tables: All my tables have a colored dot in the middle with numbers and letters: 1a, 2b, 3a, 4b. This is one my many management tools for cooperative learning. This allows me to assign roles easily by number, call on a person to share and allows shoulder and face partners.
Each table also has an assigned number and supply box. In the box I keep a handheld pencil sharpener, colored pencils, accountable talk cards and some pens. When I know students will need a supply like scissors or calculators I add them to the box the night before. It just makes things run smoothly.
GROUPS Table Card: Also in my table boxes in my Groups table card. This card shows the expectations for students working in groups. They are always on Green each day. But if there is an issue then they can go to Yellow or Red. They can also get Blue for amazing group behavior.
Teacher Area: So in the corner I have my desk. In front of my desk is the large SMART TV on a cart and just behind me are few cabinets. I tried to be creative as to take the least amount of space and have access to things that I use daily. This seems to be best layout. My book shelf is close by and organized by unit. But I am trying to move everything into digital format.
Well that is my science classroom. You may have noticed that my “window” wall had a clock and some white space. I left that open for now. I am thinking I will use this either for vocabulary or as anchor charts for my units. I hope you enjoyed your tour.