Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have noticed my absence this week, and this post is dedicated to why I’ve been MIA: I’ve been setting up my new third grade classroom! I’ve taught fourth grade for the last 5 years, so this is a big change for me…one of those big changes being that I moved rooms! All my teachers out there know this is not an easy feat. But I’m proud to say after 4 days of dirt, dust, and an aching back, I’m finally DONE! Or, as done as I’m going to be before we start school next week. So, in honor of the completion of the room and the start of a fabulous new year, I thought I’d devote a post to classroom organization, one of my absolute favorite topics.
Here’s a shot of the room from the doorway:
And this one’s the view from the other side of the room:
And one more zoomed-out view from the meeting area (where I’ll teach).
Below is a photo of the writing center and some of the wall space behind it that I’ll use for my writing charts. The walls look so bare without charts, but they’ll fill up soon enough! On top of the writing center, you’ll see bins by table. A few years ago, I made the switch from cubbies to book bins by table, and I haven’t looked back since. My kids’ cubbies were constantly overcrowded, unorganized, and quite frankly, gross! Now, I have my students keep their materials in bins by subject, and the bins are stored on top of the bookshelves in that area of the room. I assign kids jobs as “table captains” and it’s their job to go get the bin for that particular subject when the time comes throughout the day. I change the table captains monthly, so everyone at the table is the table captain more than once throughout the year. The bins stay super organized with just their notebooks and folders inside, and no mess! I got these bins at ReallyGoodStuff.com and most of these are on their 4th year! They hold up really nicely. You can find them here.
Inside the writing center, I’ve organized the materials they’ll need on a regular basis for writing: pens, pencils, post-its, white and yellow lined paper, dictionaries, etc. I also just got this heavy duty pencil sharpener from Amazon…it’s supposed to be the “teacher pro” but we’ll see about that. I’m a little skeptical. You can find it here.
Below is a photo of the nonfiction and social studies libraries. The big bins on the top are where their book baggies are going to go (where they keep their personal books), and then on the left you’ll see another set of book bins by table which will house their social studies notebooks and folders. It might seem trivial, but I think having bins match really makes a difference visually. It can get expensive, so I try to reuse bins whenever possible, but keeping them grouped by color really keeps things looking neat and organized. I also make sure the color I choose for the labels coordinates with the bins.
Here’s a photo of half of the classroom library. I know not all classrooms have classroom libraries, but since we’re a balanced literacy school, we’re lucky enough to have all these amazing books! I like to use the clear shoe box bins from the container store for the library bins. They’re the perfect size for most bookshelves, and they don’t take away from the books or labels with wild, bright colors. You can find them here. These can get pretty expensive, but they hold up really well. These are going on 6 years without a crack. Under the TV is where I’m keeping picture books. Picture books are tricky because they’re so big and heavy, but these bins from ReallyGoodStuff.com do hold up pretty nicely. You can find them here. They also come in about a thousand gorgeous colors, so you can coordinate based on your room. You’ll also see the reading bins sitting on top of the library. That’s where they’ll keep their reading notebooks and folders, and the reading charts will go on the bulletin board above the library.
Here’s a little close-up of where I’ll teach. The document camera (which isn’t hooked up yet) will sit on that desk so I can project things onto the tv, and my white board will go on the other side of the chair. I finally got the white board today (but after I took all the pictures, of course)! The bins on top of the radiator are my read aloud books, so I’ll put a label on each of those that says “Mrs. Bauer’s Favorites,” but that’s still on my to-do list.
I wasn’t planning on re-doing much of the schedule, but I stumbled upon these adorable schedule cards on teacherspayteachers.com and was immediately obsessed! And they’re FREE! You can get your own here. Thanks First Grade Parade!!! :) Oh, and this adorable font (that I also downloaded) is called Smiley Monster. You can get that here.
Below is the math center. This is kind of a work in progress. I have to have someone hang up the bulletin board for the charts, and I’m in the process of adding some more centers, but you get the idea. Math manipulatives are at the bottom, and center materials are on the other shelves. I have to label the blue bin, but that’ll be called “Books About Math.” Their math notebooks and folders will go in the bins on the top.
Here’s another shot of the math center, and also the mailboxes. The door is directly to the left of this, so the mailboxes are right when they walk in. I put a binder clip on each mailbox, and when I get my roster, that’s where I’ll stick a label with each student’s name. It’s such a great way of doing it without sticking the label directly on the shelves, thank you Pinterest! On top of the mailboxes is where I have the Notes and Homework bins, for handing things in to me.
And here’s one last shot of the whole room! I hope you were able to get some helpful tips from this post, and if you try anything out PLEASE send me some photos and I can feature you on the blog!!! Cheers to a wonderful new school year :)