Welcome to My Classroom!
Here is the view from the back of my classroom. In the front, right, you can see my "Before School Board" which houses the Morning Message. It includes the number of days of school, the date, classroom news, our adjective of the day "Let's make today a _____ Carlton School day!" and lastly our joke of the day (which always has a word play that can be discussed in our Morning Meeting).
You will also see our two reading benches which are two book shelves laying on their sides filled with dish washing bins of books--they are the perfect fit. On top of our reading bench are old pillows redone in beanbag fabric so that "unwelcoming classroom critters" do not make them their homes. You'll notice we have no desks, only tables. This promotes small group instruction and cooperative group work.
Here's a nice view of most of my classroom library (with a sub-library pictured, too). I use a combination of dish washing tubs and containers used that, when filled with ice, house your favorite cold beverages! I have many bins with letters according to Fountas and Pinnell's leveling system. In addition, I have categories which house books of all levels according to Caldecott winners, poetry, mathematics, science, folktales, myths and legends, fantasy picture books, social studies, multicultural literature, USA books, wordless books, alphabet books, biographies, and world civilizations/ history. In addition, the spinning shelves house my favorite author collections like Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Gail Gibbons, Holly Keller, Tomie dePaola, Ezra Jack Keats, Kate DiCamillo, Pat Hutchins, Patricia Polacco, Bill Martin, Jan Brett, Kevin Henkes, Steve Jenkins, etc. I teach a course on children's literature at Salem State University, so I'm allowed to have this many books--true story!
This is our computer and word work station. It also has the bulletin board I use to house our writing workshop anchor charts (you can see we are learning about poetry) as well as the bulletin board I keep open for student work. Above it are banners with our accountable talk sentence starters. We refer to these when working in small groups, having grand conversations on the rug, editing our writing with partners, etc. For more information on these, click here to be for my blog post on these tools. On the top shelf of our rolling cart/easel to the right, you will see our reading conference binders. Each student has a binder with his or her conference notes. It's a goal of mine to use these as a portfolio to house student work as well which will include my students writing their own goals.
This is our well-stocked Author Corner. I house the mentor texts I use for reading and for writing workshop here so that my writers can draw from their inspiration and can duplicate the authors' crafts. I also have plenty of sticky notes, highlighters and writing paper here. I have cards with editing symbols and with the alphabet to aid in letter formation. Dictionaries and other holiday/ seasonal word banks made out of folders are another favorite in this area. I use the Scholastic File-Folders for these word banks. Click here to get them in the Scholastic Store.
Speaking of writing, here is our Word Wall. I made it myself. The sections are made with duck tape. Each letter has its own section. The yellow letter header/ words are for the vowels. I really like how they stick out. I also have a section for "y" when used as a consonant and "y" when used as a vowel. Placing it on my cabinets is the perfect spot to maximize "hanging up space!" Oh, and above it you see my bins that hold seasonal things, extra manipulatives, craft supplies, etc. In the polka dot photo boxes above my sink, you can find my stickers. I have a box for each season, holiday, subject, etc. This makes them so easy to locate! To read more about Word Walls, click here for a blog post of mine.
Here are most of my mathematics manipulatives. I'm very proud of how neat and uniform these bins with matching labels make them look. Read about how I have put them together in my blog post on my Mathematics Center Make Over by clicking here. You also see my white board/ projector screen. Also, this is my "We Can!" section of my white board where I place our learning targets for mathematics, reading, writing and content daily.
This is one of my two small group work areas. Behind it are rolling shelves with my guided reading library. Instead of chairs, I have ottomans which are perfect for storing my literacy folders, records, extra bins, etc.
Here is another small group area coined the "U Table." It's where I do my guided reading lessons--by far my favorite part of the day! Behind that you will see my bulletin boards for hanging up mathematics vocabulary and mathematics anchor charts. It's also where I store my blank reading logs, guided reading tools and resources, etc.
Can you tell my favorite color by now? This how I store my stickers. I use these photo boxes. I wait for them to go on sale in the craft stores, and then I buy a bunch.
A few other parts of my classroom include-- the calendar bulletin board,
the "Things We Do in the Morning" pocket chart,
my "We Can" learning objectives portion of my whiteboard along with my Standards of Mathematical Practice reminders,
and my schedule of the day with my Author's Throne.
This is a bulletin board I keep behind my desk. It's for all the notes and colorful artwork my students give me. When I need to smile, I take a look at this bulletin board! How can I not smile when reading "Mr. Giso Rules the World!" on a colorful sign?
Well, I hope you have enjoyed my tour. Orange is my favorite color, just in case you were wondering. I enjoy making it pop up in as many places as possible.