Setting Up My Classroom

These holidays I have spent quite a lot of time getting ready for the new school year. There are lots of new ideas and strategies that I want to try so I need to be organised. I’ve almost finished setting up my classroom, I’ve only got a few finishing touches to go and I’m ready for the students to start.

This year I want the students to be part of making most of the displays. I am starting the Daily 5 and love the idea of icharts that the students create. I want them to have ownership over how the classroom looks and allow them to feel connected to what ‘we’ have created rather than just looking at the wall and seeing something ‘I’ have created.

There are a few things I needed to make myself in preparation for the students starting. I want to create a class full of independent learners and thinkers so I wanted to make displays that involve tools that will help them become more independent.

Below is a display that I will use to help the students know the expectations of each activity. I will select either a tick or a cross depending on whether the particular action is required. I got this idea from a blog a while ago, but can’t recall which one. It is very bright in my classroom so some of the photos have some glare.

When creating the CAFE Menu (used for Daily 5) I decided to create posters for all of the strategies as it is the first time I am using the program and I feel more comfortable knowing that I can grab the strategy card when I need to introduce it. Next year I might look at having the students create the strategy cards as the Sisters suggest. Before the students start I will take down the strategies and introduce them one at a time throughout the year. Each owl has a student’s name so they can note which strategy they are working on.

Another part of the Daily 5 that I will need are the reading boxes for each student. I bought these ones for $2.99 pk/5 at Ikea and added the name labels. The boxes are just cardboard but if they break over the year they are fairly inexpensive to replace.

I also created an early finishers display, so that the students who do happen to finish their work early know exactly what to go on with and don’t waste time. I wanted the activities to still be relevant and interesting.

In my class I like to have a focus on thinking strategies and will refer to the display below quite often. The hats are hung using velcro dots so they are easily accessible and the yellow habits of mind will hopefully be prompts for everything we do.

Our inquiry topic for Term 1 is “Learning to Learn”. In this unit we will be exploring Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences so I wanted to make a display that we could refer to when exploring this.