Literacy Life

Reading, Writing and the pursuit of thinner thighs

Environment Planning

on July 23, 2013

As a literacy trainer, I always pushed teachers to think about their environment. I believe primary teachers completely understand the needs of an adequate classroom environment. However, I don’t think MS and HS teachers consider their classroom environments as much. This is a tragedy! MS and HS students need well planned and thought out classrooms just as much. I’ve been planning my classroom from the minute I accepted the position. I may have even jumped into the “obsessed” category! So here are a few diagrams of what I have planned for my classroom. I can get into my room in 2 days and I hope to have real pictures soon!

1. Color – brings unity

Start by thinking about colors. Your color palette will guide all of your decisions. I chose black and maroon with grey accents. I know black seems like a weird choice, but black will fade into the background so what you notice is what is on it – BOOKS!

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2. Representation – brings life

Now maybe it isn’t responsible to put so much time into “shapes” on a page, but I DO think it’s responsible to think about what your classroom environment represents. I am a 6th grade reading teacher with one section of social studies. I want my room to represent READING! I want my students to feel reading the minute they hit my door. With this in mind, I don’t just have a reading nook or reading area. My whole room “is” the reading area. I hope you can see my vision through the shapes.

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To give off the “reading room”  feeling, every wall will contain books. Since I also have one section of social studies, I hope to blend geography and social studies content throughout the room as well. This wall shows a little bit of that. With the time zone clocks above the white board, baskets of books underneath and bulletin boards that contain content information.

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3. Organization – brings comfort

This is the anchor chart wall. So many times teachers complain about hanging anchor charts for students because they are messy and over stimulating but it is important to have charts up  for students. I hope this diagram shows the ability to have 3 different anchor charts for students while making them visually appealing in an organized manner. The shelf underneath will house Reading Response notebooks from each class. My plan is to make the picture frames with black duct tape. (We’ll see how it works on cinder blocks.)

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4. Purpose – brings functionality

My husband has been very influential over the last few years. Something he requires at home is function. When we recently remodeled our living room our “stuff” couldn’t just be pretty (I know right? crazy man!) it had to have function. I actually love him for that because I learned that it has made life so much easier. Our stuff is very pretty but functional as well. I transferred this new wealth of knowledge to my classroom planning.

So I bring you finally my favorite wall – the front of the room! Here’s a little background about my room. It’s an inside room with NO windows. So you’ve probably noticed I have lamps on every wall…there’s a reason! Lights off with only the glare of the Smartboard in 6th grade? NO WAY 🙂 So bring on the lamps! Plus the light from lamps is a much softer ambience.

Ok now back to the front of the room…Notice how the Smartboard is framed by curtains? My goal is for the board to be our “window” during independent reading time. Hopefully I can use live streaming sites or seasonal screen savers to provide us with something a little less sterile and white. I’m so giddy about the curtains I found too! On clearance – $5. They are a great black and white design. (I can’t wait to hang them and show you) On each side of the board are chart tablets for the current anchor charts. On the left side of the board is where the gutter book shelves will be. I want to display some books with front facing covers. I found a great picture on Pinterest with a black background and black shelves. The books popped off the shelves. So that’s my goal!

The next piece on that page is outside my door. I have a little alcove area that I want to use to set the stage for the inside of our room. I found this great little piece on Craigslist and have the picture frame prepared. Once school is under way I hope to devote an entire post to the Daily 6 Word Memoirs and my alcove area.

I know it is still July and some of you are eeeking the last bit of summer out of your schedules, but for me I’m ready. After 5 years of professional development with teachers, I am more excited to go back to the classroom this year than in any year in the past. This change is exactly what the doctor ordered. After 19 years, I couldn’t imagine having this much zest for teaching again. So I encourage some of you “experienced” teachers to look at your teaching career. Are you in a rut? Are you dreading the start of school? Are you willing the last years of your teaching career away faster than you should? Maybe a complete change in your field is what you need. It’s working for me and I can’t wait to get the year rolling!


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