Saturday, September 1, 2018

Classroom Reveal

I have been lucky enough to still be teaching in the same room I started in.  That's right--I've been in the same classroom at the same school since I started teaching!  It truly is a blessing and one I am thankful for every day.

Over the years, former students come back and visit and comment that not much has changed.  However, *I* know that a lot has.  Take a peek inside my classroom as I explain the changes!

The first thing most of my students notice that haven't visited in a while is that my desks are in groups of four now.  Everything I do involves cooperative grouping, so it just makes sense.  There are group numbers hanging from the ceiling (not pictured).  And I also taped Kagan numbers on their desks.  I added another spin on the numbers by putting them on colored paper.  That way I can even group students based on their color.  I like to shake up groups a lot!  We had six color options in the copy room, so I used all six!

My absolute favorite part of my room is my "wall of fame" behind my desk.  I have so many pictures that now I need to rotate students out, but if I have their sibling in class, I always make sure it's up.  My current and former students love looking at the pictures, pointing out students they know.  I have pictures from student council, class, and 8th grade graduation (which I attend every year).

Over the years, I have gotten away from having posters with math "rules" and formulas on them.  Instead, I want students to be reminded how to work in groups, to focus on vocab, and I have positive messages all around (I'll try to update with a better pic, haha!)  I actually have students create the word wall.  They write the word, definition, and picture/example on it.  I want them to be involved in the process--it helps the words "stick" a little more!  I'll try to blog about that soon!

This year I was lucky enough to win a grant and get Wobble stools!  They are a huge hit with students!  The table I got last year, since our amazing custodian was able to find an unused one in the district.

My classroom library is something I am extremely proud of and have blogged about it here.

Exit tickets are turned in by students at the end of the block inside these folders.  Students put their exit ticket inside the folder that best describes their understanding of the day's lesson.


I decorated clipboards I found at Goodwill using scrapbook paper and Mod Podge.  I hang them in the unused space under the board.  Students love choosing a clipboard of their choice!  I used a variety of colorful patterns, including hearts, baseballs, and paw prints!

Every teacher in my building is required to display the day's learning target and homework.  The custodian cleans the board every Friday after school and had already gotten to it by the time I took this picture ;)

All student materials, extra handouts, the pencil sharpener, assessment calendar, bell schedules, etc. are located in one place.  I choose to put it in the front of the room every year because I want students to feel comfortable accessing it, but also easy for me to grab supplies when I need them for demonstrations, too.

Two years ago, my coworker and I started doing "5 minute daily fluency".  Maybe this is something typical for an elementary school teacher, but we are super proud of this.  We got these bins at Ikea and have all their materials in one drawer per group: dice, integer chips, flashcards, decks of cards, and game boards.  Even in 7th grade, students benefit from (and enjoy!) playing a quick fluency game at the start of class.  We do a lot of multiplication and division practice at the start of the year, but add in games involving multiples, fractions, and integers as the year goes on.  It's something consistent I do the first 5 minutes of class, it's fun, and it gives me time to check in with students, if needed.  I'll blog about it soon :)

And lastly, I was inspired by everyone's math tables I keep seeing on Twitter!  Unfortunately, large class sizes (and a gigantic Chromebook cart) have meant that I just don't have space for another table.  I had a couple empty shelves and decided to start with that (sorry for the blurry pic!).  In the blue bin are some math toys for students, such as a Rubik's Cube, wooden puzzle cube, and the game "Insanity" (shown below).  I also have old pages from a Mensa calendar that students can come and grab.  I already have students running over to the shelf if they have a few minutes.  Love it!

Would love to get your feedback!  Any suggestions?  Anything you like or want to try?

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