" I believe that classroom environments are most effective when they are literate and purposeful, organized and accessible, and, most of all, authentic." Debbie Miller
Oh boy did this chapter speak to me! I went back and re-read it a couple of times just so I could feel the joy of Debbie helping Katy clean out her classroom! I moved into a classroom that was FULL of OLD STUFF my first year teaching kindergarten (moved into a room from a teacher that retired.....after 30 years of teaching K!). It wasn't until Christmas break that I felt I had any ownership over all the STUFF and threw it all away. It makes a huge difference when you get rid of the clutter!
Here are a few take aways from the chapter and a few questions to ask yourself when preparing your classroom for next year:
Do children and I need a meeting area?
Funny/Not Funny story. I taught Kindergarten for 3 years early in my career and suddenly found myself teaching 5th grade. Because I was going to teach the "big kids" I got rid of my easel (that I had been "gifted" from that teacher that retired and left me all her other "stuff"). MISTAKE! I missed my easel and my meeting area so much it was like I was missing my left arm. Luckily I'm married to an amazing fellow that spent Labor Day weekend that year laboring away making me a new easel. It's been close by my side ever since!
Do children and I need areas for small group work?
I read somewhere this year (I think it was from Jen Jones...) about small group areas. The thing that jumped out at me the most about the post was that a small group area should be CLEAN. This is not your desk area to fill out all those annoying papers teachers have to fill out, it's a teaching area! Mine was not awful, but I made a point to clear the clutter and create a clean work space for my kiddos. NO DISTRACTIONS!
Just a spot we can work!
Do children and I need a library area?
I have to admit I work on my library every summer. Every time you add new books (or change grade levels) it needs to be revamped a little bit. Those "popular" bins this year might not be the popular bins next year.
Thinking about room arrangement....
We have to put all of our furniture on one side of the room every summer for cleaning purposes. It's a great time to rethink these questions and move things around when the new year starts!
Seriously.....this is always a work in progress. People walk into my closet and say, "Oh my gosh you are so organized", meanwhile I am thinking, "Oh my gosh this closet is such a mess!" Find a system that works for you and organize your teaching resources. If you don't like binders go with the filing cabinet.
Student materials? Keep it out where they can find it! Don't worry about having scissors out on the table, just teach them the proper use of scissors! I have glue sticks coming out my ears (because a teacher left them behind.....he must have been a glue stick hoarder!) so when my kids need a glue stick I throw 10-12 more out on the tables. When they run out I am making glue sponges (wink, wink Mr. Greg!)
So how do you stay organized? What were your big take aways from the chapter? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Don't forget to link up with Mr. Greg at Kindergarten Smorgasboard and visit the guest hosts for Chapter 3!