Saturday, June 5, 2010

Evolution of a Classroom

I was going to call this post something like, "before and after" or, "then and now", but actually, lots has happened in the course of the school year. Here is a little bit of what my classroom looked like through the months and how it ended up with everything off the walls and pushed to the center of the room yesterday.

I'm trying to find pictures of my classroom towards the beginning of the year--when it was still pretty disorganized and the walls were completely bare. I guess that I didn't have time to take pictures of it! The arrangement was all over the place and I couldn't find anything, let alone curriculum books or teacher guides. I had no idea where anything was, and I literally had 20 minutes to find it all! I barely remember my first day of teaching, and there are zero memories from the first week put together. Jet lag, stress, and anxiety never gave my memories a chance to sink. I remember thinking that this was very much like a nightmare.

The First Grade and Kindergarten teachers decorated my classroom as a surprise on my birthday. There were balloons, streamers, and other thoughtful decorations all over the place! To get rid of the balloons, third graders got to take home some every day that week!

Here is a lame picture of a tiny bulletin board during our second novel study. This is our "Courage of Sarah Noble" vocabulary of the day house. I'm not sure if I will do this again next year, but it was one little idea that kept me sane.
You can also see some colors appearing on the wall at this point (maybe September 2009).

Here are some story stars from during our first novel study. Once again--was running low on the idea scale at that point.

Here is a more recent bulletin board from our research unit. Sort of inspired by my work with "The Secret Garden", third graders spent three weeks researching and going through the writing process steps to write about the history, occupations, and a few different genres of theater. They turned out very well--and compared to the "Charlotte's Web" stars above, I'm so impressed by how much they learned over the school year. There were some really great writers and some great improvements made overall in third grade this year! This bulletin board was slapped together really quickly, it used to be our window for our coffee house during our poetry unit. Probably inspired from watching too much "Friends" after school. :)

Ok, now rewind in time a bit. The picture below is from sometime in September probably. Notice the word wall that failed...there was a misunderstanding and the word wall which should have been smaller and accessible, ended up being huge and unusable. Oh well...I took it down during Christmas break too.

Getting ready to dismantle everything and create more space and reading areas. This was also during Christmas break. This is when I was finally able to organize my classroom. Because we arrived later than was ideal, there was no time to set our classrooms up they way we would have liked. It wasn't until Christmas break that I was able to have some time to start working on the classroom.

Now in the third quarter. Organizing the library...just beginning the picture below. Wang Wei helped to create a new check out system--here is what it looked like in the beginning stages. Eventually, we had books separated into genres, series, or author (if we had a lot of something in particular), gave each section a specific color, created pockets for the inside of each book with a card that had the title and author written on it. To check out a book, students just had to take the card out and put it in the pocket with their name on it. When it was finally finished it was much easier to keep organized.

Now in the fourth quarter. The easel turned into our spelling center where students worked on their end of year dictionaries.

Started using props from "The Secret Garden" in my classroom since there was not enough money from the ticket sales to reimburse my purchases. :) Mary's suitcase turned into my treasure box, Colin's wheel chair and Mary's screen turned into another Book Nook, and a few other odds and ends like the gardener's basket, some flowers, and Robin found there way into the 3rd grade room too!

Curtains were a fun touch! They made the classroom feel much more cozy. Thanks Lauren for the idea!

More evidence of organizing. Tall white shelf has dvds, group art supplies, and small white boards. Small brown shelf has construction paper in rainbow order and all our most frequently used graphic organizers. Grey shelf is organized by subject.

Finished library! Yahoo! Can't see the whole thing--but you get the idea....Scholastic is amazing! I can't wait to continue building my library next year!

This is what my classroom looks like right now...except that it also has newspaper covering everything. This is in preparation for the painting that will be done throughout the main school building during the summer.

All right, that's it for now. I'm still unable to find more classroom pictures.

Goodbye 3rd grade 2009-2010!

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