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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Four easy steps to setting up your classroom by Mrs. Myra of Centers and Circle Time

Today's guest is Mrs. Myra of Centers and Circletime. Mrs. Myra is in the process of setting up her own classroom so I asked her if she would share some insights on what she has learned about classroom set-up. I invite your comments and ideas as well.

4 Easy Steps to setting up your classroom
By: Mrs. Myra of Centers and Circle Time (guest blogger)

Dear Teacher, are you starting a new job? Have you just been given a new classroom? Have you moved to a new age group? Are you worried about setting up you new space? No fear, help is here! I have four simple steps to get you started, and in no time you'll be the proud new owner of a fabulous classroom. So, are you ready to get started?

Step 1

  • Look around your classroom for any safety issues. These could be things like uncovered light plugs; ripped or torn wall paper, tears or holes in the carpet or flooring; stuff piled too high; broken toys, or damaged mats and cots
  • Have broken or torn items repaired or taken care of before you go any further.
Step 2

Plan how you can get the most out of your space.

  • You can use pen and paper or an online tool for help.
  • Create a map of your classroom.
  • You may consider how many centers do you need?
  • Any health or safety issues with this particular set up?
  • Plan and re-plan if you have to.
Here is a sample of how you can map out your classroom...

Step 3

Put your furniture in place.
  • Use tables, shelves, and small desks to break up the room into centers.
  • Keep in mind the more open space you have, the more running and wrestling you'll get.

Step 4

Add your center signs and labels.
  • Get on your knees and place the name of each center in front of you (Housekeeping, Science, Blocks, etc.)
  • By being on your knees you'll ensure this is the perfect height for your children to read. To further enhance their pre-reading skills place labels on items throughout the room...pencil box, bathroom, door, computer, crayons, legos, etc.

Congratulations, wonderful teacher! Now you have begun to whip that class right into shape. Are you just dying to do more? Of course you are, I knew you would be:) So I decided to add some additional ideas just for you!

Other things considered:

  • Once you have your class try putting pictures up of the students and parents on your walls.
  • You should always display student artwork.
  • Charts can help you as well as your students...Job Chart, Birthday Chart, Alphabet Chart, Number Chart etc.

Here are a few Mrs. Myra's Classroom must-haves:

  • A radio or cd player with children's music...It keeps me sane and is a must for my auditory learners.
  • An alphabet train (I wont teach without it)
  • Small Appliances (I am known to keep in my cabinets a toaster, toaster oven, icee maker, popcorn popper, etc) These are perfect for a cooking center/science center or a life saver for a rainy day activity.
  • Food - make sure you are providing students with nutritional meals and snacks. (You'd be surprised but children will come to class hungry. Children cannot be effective learners and teachers cannot be effective teachers if their students are hungry).
Last dear teacher, do not feel the urge to run out and spend money on charts and appliances. Charts can be made with construction paper or purchased at the dollar store and appliances are always free on Craigslist and Freecycle. Now I urge you to go be GREAT!

To view more from Centers and Circle Time - click here!
Read her latest posts: My Sad Class - Establishing Centers in My Sad Class - What the Heck is Age Appropriate Anyway? - Help, I'm Drowning In Stuff!

Thank you Mrs. Myra for sharing your ideas with us.



Teacher Tom said...

I could have used this post a few years ago. It would have saved me a lot of trial and error learning! I especially support the point about physically arranging the classroom to avoid running/wrestling. I love your tip about getting on your knees while planning -- that's the most important perspective in the room.

An important question: What's an alphabet train? I seem to be teaching without one!

Deborah J. Stewart said...

Hey Tom - I am not so sure I can answer for Mrs. Myra but I think it is one of those posters of the alphabet you put around the wall of your classroom. I sent her a message to clarify though - I may be completely off - which wouldn't be the first time:)

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