This is the first year where I have stayed in the same room in the same grade. As I approached my room, I really wanted to make it more functional in terms of wall space. The physical space is almost identical to last year because honestly, it worked. With only minor tweaks being made to my room over the summer, I’ve had a hard time finding the motivation to share. I really do like our learning space but the lack of novelty was initially a struggle for me. So, 7 weeks in, here is a classroom tour of our 1st grade learning space!
You’ll notice there is no theme. Rather, clean lines, organized materials, and blue/green hints throughout our room. With lots of natural light and fantastic color-blocking provided by the district, I really don’t want to overwhelm the room with too much color or stuff.
Our Learning Nooks
Work on Writing
On the side of the desk, you see mini-dictionaries with theme-specific words with picture clues. Then, there is our bucket of clipboards. Our class journals become collaborative writing projects and our mailbox will be introduced after Fall Break (in two weeks) as we learn to write letters. Pigeon (Mo Willems’ creation) takes the mail from our mailbox and delivers it around the school!
Above our Work on Writing center, is our classroom alphabet and number line. To the right of the center, you see our class word wall. Last year, our word wall was much higher (above the cubbies) and I was never able to maintain it. This year, I’m hoping to use it more by keeping it reachable…we shall see!
Continuing to the corner, you see my Teacher Table. This is where my corner of the class is and where all of our small-group instruction happens. I have my white-board easel and chart paper, as well as, my 10-drawer rolling cart of organizing materials by day. I keep my guided math materials and my weekly-read aloud books on the top of the larger cabinet. In the larger cabinet, I store our math and reading games/manipulatives, indoor recess games, and other miscellaneous supplies.
Below the table, I have two 3-drawer Sterilite containers. The containers on the right are my personal drawers (snacks, data, basic supplies, notecards) and the drawers on the right are for guided-reading materials. The triad of silver containers were a gift from a student and I LOVE them. One container holds dry-erase markers, one holds highlighters and markers, and the third container holds pencils and pens. These are all materials I need for guided reading everyday and it makes them easy to access!
Our Classroom Library
Our library holds our new dry-erase focus wall. The best part of this focus wall is that I’M ACTUALLY USING IT THIS YEAR!!! Every Monday, I take a picture and text it to families via Remind texting. Each subject I-can has it’s own color (yellow = math, pink = grammar/writing, orange = theme, green = reading), the small blue sentence strips are for vocabulary words, and the Target pocket charts hold our must-know words. The blank spaces under the learning targets are where we add pictures/awesome work/examples. The ‘Our Learning’ header is MTF Jumpin’ Jack font that I printed on white cardstock and cut out…easy peasy.
The Reading Corner
Elephant and Piggie are our favorite book characters. Within the first few weeks of school, we had read all of Mo Willems’ books together and we fell in love. They are hilarious, silly, and just-right for beginning 1st graders. I used colored bulletin board paper to make the characters and hope to add a quote about reading on the opposite wall sometime soon… again, we shall see! 😉
Every student has their own book bin. I use navy book bins from Really Good Stuff and love them. Last year, I only had 2 bins break and RGS actually replaced them for me! Students keep just-right books in the bins and use them for Read to Self/Read to Someone.
On the top shelves are seasonal books that go on our library display shelf. They are organized by theme. You can see more pictures of how I organized our themed books in this blog post. On the two bottom shelves, we have our leveled books. Right now, I have Levels A-L out. Hopefully by November, I’ll be able to take our the A and B book bins and trade them out for themed book bins! (Read more about how I keep everything organized here.)
Our Focus Wall
Reading & Math Centers
Then, we have our Math Center tubs and our Word Work tubs on the right. I use the Large Sterelite Clip Top Tubs for centers and absolutely love them. I know they are definitely an investment…BUT take it slow and collect them one unit at a time. (A unit included 6 containers). My first year of teaching I purchased 2 units (12 bins) and they are still in perfect condition. They are big enough to hold a sheet of paper without folding/bending it, as well as, the bins don’t open when dropped..a key detail in 1st grade! ;)As my students make their reading and math choices, they grab the correct tub and during Word Work they also grab a word ring (as seen hanging from a Command Hook in the picture on the right). You can read more about our Math Centers here and more about Word Work here. If there are extra ‘pieces’ to a center that don’t fit in a container (i.e. a 100s board as seen on the left or magnetic letters as seen on the right) I keep them on the bottom of the containers. Students will look at the visual directions (math and word work) on the top of each bin and know they are missing something!
So, there you go friends! As you can see, I just made a few tweaks this summer to make things run a little more smoothly and keep our learning a little more intentional.
Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope your school year is off to an amazing start. Until next time, happy teaching!
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