Saturday, July 24, 2010

Classroom Set Up, Organization and Decorating

It is getting closer to the time where I have to think about classroom set up. This year is going to present a lot of challenge as our room will be fuller than ever with ten students, nine learning assistants and one teacher.
So I thought I would start my "to do" list related to classroom set up here.  These are things I am planning to change or need to get done before the year begins.
"At the Movies" Theme: I don't like to go overboard with classroom decorations as it can just create a lot of extra visual clutter for my students so I will keep it simple.  On the outside boards we are going to have a "Coming Attractions" board where the students make movie-like-posters introducing themselves to the rest of the school. I've done this for a couple of years in different ways and its always well recieved by both our students and the rest of the students in the school.  I will be creating something on boardmaker (similar to what I've done with Extra! Extra! and Auto-ball-ography in the last two years) and getting the board ready for this. Other than that I will put a few decorations up around the room.  I am looking to cover all of my bulletin boards with cloth instead of paper this year.

Covering Shelves: First thing I need to do with my shelves is decluttter and leave only the stuff that we absolutely need on them.  I have a storage closet in the back where I can store the rest of it for now.  After that I will be taking pictures of all the programming materials that I have because I'm going to be using them both on some of the student's timelines but also planning to put small pictures off these items by the explanations in the student programming bindersr for the staff so that they have a quick visual reference as well.  Finally, I've always had my shelves open but I'm thinking to cover them with fabric this year. Just going to simply attach velcro to shelves and fabric and attach that way.  I'm hoping this will keep things a little less cluttered ad clutter is a problem in our room.  I will leave open the student material shelves as I don't want the students to have to fight with curtians to get to their things.

Tracking Forms in Filing Cabinets: I'm trying to open up shelf space and declutter and I'm thinking that if I move my tracking forms from the shelf over to drawers in my filing cabinet it will declutter some. Right now I'm thinking just to label the drawers and leave the binders in.  We will see how well this works as the year goes on.

Staff Bulletin Board: I keep one board for staff reminders and I still have quite a bit of work to do on the materials that will gon on this board.  I will post more about this soon as I have also been given a gift of being able to work with the learning assistants for a whole day before school starts this year (something that we don't usually get in our district).  As I prepare for this day I'm going to make sure everything on the staff board links to things we are talking about that day.

Visuals: I always have a lot of work to do when it comes to setting up visuals in the room.  This year I actually have more because I'm reworking on my "routine strips".  This are just steps followed to complete routine tasks that are set up around the room in appopriate places.  Of the top of my head here are the ones that I'm working on (they are at school so I am going by memory): toileting routine, hand washing routine, unpacking routine, packing routine, toothbrushing routine, morning hygeine check routine, snack/lunch set up, snack/lunch clean up, using the mircrowave.  I'm thinking there are more but these are the ones that I'm remembering right now.  I also have flip books for classroom jobs that are assigned to students (same concept but portable and I can hand them to the students.  Some of the tasks include: morning set up, afternoon clean up, doing laundy, folding/putting away laundry, dishwasher, watering plants, school recycling, stocking supplies, wiping tables...etc.  This year I want to add choice and communication boards or binders around the room that are specific to the activities in that area.  I'm hoping this will open up a lot more communication opportunities for the students.  Finally I need to visually label everything that belongs to specific students.  I have been thinking I need to do color coding for some time and I'm hoping to set things up this way this year.  Student items that need to be labeled include their material shelves, programming binders, hygeine bags, pencil boxes, hook for hanging up coat and backpack, change of clothes bins, diapering/toileting supply bins.
Probably another week or so before I go in but wanted to start thinking about it so that I can have things ready for when I go in.

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