Classroom Set-Up: Assessing Your Space
Working With What You Have
You've been assigned a classroom. Now you need to assess what you've got to work with, start creating activity areas, and adding and arranging furnishings that will facilitate the activities.
As you assess your classroom space, remember that it is a work place and it should provide adequate light and air, noise control, and storage areas for you and your students.
Here are some questions to help you think about how you want to use your classroom space:
- What kind of space have you been given? An old classroom, an open classroom with sliding doors, a trailer? What accommodations do you need to make?
- How much light do you have? Lots of windows, no windows? Do you need to add a floor lamp? Get brighter bulbs or florescent lighting?
- What are the walls like? Cinderblock? Steel? Magnetic? Mostly windows and cabinets? How will you attach charts? Where will you place computers?
- How do the floors affect your activity areas (no carpet, all carpet, or some carpeted areas)? Could carpet remnants be used to create a relaxing area where students could gather for a whole-group discussion?
- How will you handle student workspaces? Maybe you have only round tables. Or long tables with lab equipment or computers. Or square desks that you can cluster in different ways. How will you provide quiet areas for students? A small table in a corner? Or a carpeted area with overstuffed sofa and floor pillows?
- Can you use the ceiling to suspend interesting objects? Like a solar system model. Or ladders of Spanish verb conjugations. Or student-made mobiles and art.
- Do you have adequate shelving for books, plants, and fish tanks?
- Is there enough storage for students' things? Desks, cubbyholes, lockers? Or will you have to provide additional storage containers, like baskets and boxes?
- Do you have enough storage for your personal things and teaching materials? Desk, file cabinets, closets?
As you design your space -- throughout the year -- make sure you're creating a fun place that you and your students will enjoy. Your classroom space should reflect:
- Your personality
- The interests of your students
- The subjects that you're studying
- A touch of whimsy
- A bit of humor
- Plants or animals (if your school allows them)