Friday, August 24, 2012

Organizing the Physical Classroom (Student Teaching Summary Post 6)

Oh finally the student teaching posts are over! Here's what I think is important where the physical classroom is concerned:

- Energy source Something for students to munch on if they're really needing it. 

- Water

- Writing surfaces Students need some hard surface to write on. 

- Community display This might be a wall or a smart/white/chalk board. It's a place where all kinds of information can be easily displayed for all to see. 

- Teacher office space

- Movement space I think it's important to make sure there's plenty of room for people to move around the room. 

- Coat rack You know, in case there're rainy coats to be hung. 

- Absorbant rugs at entrances Again, rain kind of happens every once in a while here in Oregon. If there are no rugs at the entrances and exits, the floors will be very hazardous. 

- Anonymous feedback system I want my students to have a way to let me know what's working for them and what's not working for them. I'd prefer it to be anonymous (not publicly displayed) so that I'm the only one who sees the comments. This is the kind of thing that I'll introduce on day 1 and then only every refer to again to let students know that I'm getting their feedback and making adjustments as necessary. 

- Organizational system Things need a place to go. And they ought to be made to exist there. In my life, there is no room for exception to this. And I intend to ensure my classroom is a clean organized space at all times. 

- Implication that the classroom extends beyond its physical bounds/connection between the classroom & the not classroom Something like a plant would be nice. Just something to remind students what they're fighting for. 

I'm most excited about this list. I've never had my own classroom before and I'm pretty sure about 50% of this list is probably a really bad idea. I just don't know what 50% yet. Only time will tell.... 


  1. Hey Kevin! Since you commented on my blog, I figured I'd return the favor, especially on something like this where I have some ideas (I've only been teaching for 2 years, on my 3rd now, but those 2 years give you a lot of ideas!)

    As a side note, I actually couldn't find your blog by just clicking on your name from your comments, so I'm glad I kept an eye on the "new blogger initiation" blog posts.

    The "Anonymous feedback system" is actually something I had, but the student surprisingly under-used it! I just cut a whole in the top of a shoe-box and left it in a corner of my room so that students could put paper in there with comments. But I really did not get many comments all year.

    I would focus on and emphasize the "organizational system". Here are my personal preferences
    Essential: (1) have a place where you can put extra worksheets & students know to look there when they've been absent. (2) place where tonight's and last-night's homework is written (so you remember what to review and so students who were absent know where to look) (3) have a place where you always put turned-in work. Students will sometimes try to claim you lost it, but if your system is simple enough that you can show them, they stop trying that excuse pretty quickly.
    Optional: (1) have a place to turn in work. I found that many students, especially middle schoolers, when I taught in MS, would forget to put their names on papers, so it was better for me to just collect their work and try and check for names as that happened. (2) a place where students who are bored can get other work/extra credit. (3) a place that is off-limits to students. Especially important when you have candy or other bonuses/things that can be easily stolen but really should not be.

    I'm sure coming out of student teaching, you're already loaded with ideas, but hopefully these comments help, because as a first year teacher, every little bit can help!

    1. Hey thanks for the input! These are great ideas and I can use all the great ideas I can get my hands on. I'm going to do a follow up post to these student teaching posts in a few weeks just to say what's working and what isn't and whether or not I actually followed through with any of it.


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