School for my district began on August 7! Teachers trained, met with grade levels, planned…then on August 10th, we welcomed our students! There must have been a “something in the water” the year they were born, because our numbers continue to grow, both in our own district and in neighboring districts.
This bigger class size!!, has caused me to be creative with classroom management and how we use flexible seating.
In an effort to smooth things out the first few weeks of school, I have a chart that rotates for our flexible seating table groups. Students who are not not as likely to work well in close proximity to others have yoga mats, lap desks, lawn chairs and clip boards and other choices with a tad bit more space. This is working so well.
Here is an editable chart for creating your own rotations if you need one. Just add clip art of additional seating if you have other choices (do a google search for bean bags, pillows or other things). The students who need more space are mixed in with other groups throughout the day to rotate to each seating area, but may return to a more private work space when needed.
In addition to the seating rotation I have been going over flexible seating rules with students each day. This is pretty well established at this point. If you need some Flexible Seating Rules Posters, click the pic!
Another thing that works with large class sizes…
When we meet as a large group for morning meeting, handwriting instruction, directed drawing/writing, written response to reading or math work pages, we sit with a lap board and our writing tools and papers as a whole group. This helps tremendously in monitoring how they are progressing through written work as well as keeping their focus on the activities. We use either dry erase boards, or clipboards and a variety of writing tools. When I send students out to work independently, there is more chatter and less focus. I have noticed this is not so much the case with a small class, mostly due to space!
So what does this year’s work environment look like?
As you walk into our classroom, you are immediately drawn to the beautiful bright primary blue wall. Our building and maintenance admin picked the color, and I think he nailed it! This is also our school color.
Our Library Area
I have placed several high interest books on the front shelving of our little library cabinet. The other side has author and character book tubs with labels. (this was during organization phase, so still a few out of place items)
Our Calendar and Group Areas
Each day, we go over our rules, talk about what day it is and share in this area. It also doubles as our group work area for lap boards/clipboards during guided drawing/writing, written reading work, and math. (minus the box and chair with a book making machine).
Our Seating Choices…
This year, in addition to bucket seats, I purchased 6 stability balls from an online medical supply for $9.00 each. These are inflated to somewhat different sizes to accommodate the smallest to the biggest kinder kid. I also purchased some cute cushions for the floor seating, 2 yoga mats that I cut in half, and several types of chairs. Added to this mix are the newly acquired Neorok stools purchased with DonorsChoose.org grant money. We got four red stools that are a hit with my students.
Our Centers Storage…
My center categories are labeled with the cows, goats, chicks, and pigs. All cow and pig centers are Word Work based. All goat centers are Tech Based (computer, ipad or chromebooks). All chick centers are Fine Motor skills such as play-doh name mats, alphabet mats or hands-on centers, counting sets with number words, etc. Other centers in the room have a label the same as the tubs to indicate type of center.
Admittedly, centers are not going to run smoothly until all have been taught, so at this point, we are having table tub activities . Soon, we will be using our centers rotation board. (again, this pic was while I worked on organizing centers before school began)
One other type of seating with storage…
During the month of July, hubby made a bench to house three crates with our farm animal cushions. The padded seat is made from fiber fill covered with oil cloth. This is holding up well, and makes a great shoe tying station!
During the past school year, some of my beanies vanished!
To replace them, I sought out replacements for the ones I had lost. I soon found they were discontinued and very expensive to replace! So…I found a cute toy site that had the same concept characters for $5-10 each. Score! They are just a big as the beanies, and so cute! (yes, that is me as a little girl with my parents in the background).
Today’s Readers ARE Tomorrow’s Leaders!
For over ten years, I have used the same caption in my classroom. It takes varying forms, but always has the same words. I truly believe it is our job to create readers for the new age. That means, not only text on paper book readers, but readers of all types. Their world will be electronic, so they need to develop skills to use the technology as it evolves. But let’s not throw out the traditional skills needed to problem solve and plan when tech isn’t available. So much is expected of our little learners!
I hope you have a wonderful school year! Here are some products that may help you start your year: