The Set-Up: What My Classroom Says About Me…

To desk or not to desk?  No teacher desk. I haven’t had one in years. I have some shelves with teacher books and curriculum documents, as well as unused science/social studies texts. I have a horseshoe guided reading table to work at (I keep my laptop on it) and a couple of cupboards and drawers behind it to store some of my stuff.  I don’t need any more space than that. I felt that when I had a desk I just used it to dump things on and shove stuff in. It wasn’t useful and I quickly got rid of it.

Tables or desks: I wish I had tables.  I have desks set up in groups. I rarely teach a lesson with the kiddos at their desks. It makes it seem like I am talking to more kids than there actually art. I like them on the carpet in front of me. I sometimes sit with them on the floor, or stand/sit in a chair. I feel much more confident when I am taller than my students. For most work, students have the opportunity to work wherever they want in the classroom. I have camping chairs, a plethora of stools and ottmen, a bunch of pillows and a couple of carpets. Students are usually at “their desk” for artwork and eating.

What’s on your walls?  There isn’t much….yet. We create anchor charts together as a class and put them up as we create them. Since I do have 13 of the same kids as last year, I’ve kept some of the anchor charts – since technically we did create them together so that they can continue to refer to until I “re-teach” it to the entire class. Some teachers still put up motivational quote posters, but I can’t stand them. Even if I did like them, you can’t find them in French anywhere.

Are you in the room?  Not really. There is a picture of me with silly glasses on the door with the rest of my class. I suppose it would be nice to have a picture of Rob & Eli somewhere, but I don’t – just like the students don’t have photos of their families on their desks. My writer’s notebook has some photos of them plastered on the cover.  I have a class photo from each of the classes that I’ve taught along the top of my Religion board, and a couple of sculptures (past art projects), my rubber chicken and my stuffed Domo (class pet) on some high shelves.

Which way do your desks face?  I keep my desks in groups. It saves space, my kids are (quiet) hard workers and we do a lot of group work. If they turn their heads one way they see the SMARTboard, and if they look the other way, they see the white boards. But as I mentioned, most mini-lessons happen from the carpet or at the small group table.

Are there places for the students to work that doesn’t include their desks?  They can work wherever they feel that they work best and stay on task. They choose.

Can they get what they need?  I keep containers of things (pencil crayons, markers, pencils, erasers, staplers, tape, pens, glue, paper clips, paper) all at the writing shelves. They can grab it if they need it. Unless it gets trashed or abused, they have access.

Where are those rules?  I don’t have rules/consequences posted anywhere. The first week of school we practice routines over and over again. We also discuss and internalize our classroom rules (My most important two: Listen to instructions the first time and SPEAK IN FRENCH). We practice and practice. If at anytime throughout the year the expectations are not met, we’ll stop and review again – but my kids are pretty great.

Where’s the tech?  We have a SMARTboard and 4 classroom computers. We have a class iPad and a FLIP video camera. I often have my camera at school too. The kids become very comfortable with the gadgets quickly. This year we’ll be blogging, tweeting, animating, playing math games, listening to audio books, creating photo and video projects and doing a lot of media literacy. I think we’ll try skyping with Rob’s class too!

guiding questions from: Pernilleripp