Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pictures of My Slight Classroom Revamp

People were still not understanding the way I redid my shelf,(see January post) so I decided to post some pictures. Last fall,  I didn't like what people saw when they entered the room, and there wasn't enough flow to the room.  So I started moving things around (again).

Before (in December)
Here is a before picture.  You can see how messy it is with the books all piled on the "feature wall" shelf.  Your eyes were drawn to the clutter by the window as you walked into the room. 

shelf in November

The Smartboard was where the ukuleles are in this picture. 
I raised the ukuleles and eventually moved the library to this spot.

After the Refocus

I moved my library to a side wall. When kids are in the room, you barely notice the clutter of the books. Actually, your eyes are drawn to the ukuleles instead. People really remark about the rhythm, the cool pattern that the ukulele shapes create on the side wall. The frames are the ones my dad and I created from crown moulding.

Library wall

I decluttered the reading corner as well.  Kids snuggle up in the chair or huddle under the warm glow of the lamp.  I used to have storage bins there, but the ukuleles open up the space.  The one downside is that kids don't get to lean against the wall, but I'd rather have the flow to the room I have now.  I'll keep looking at it though.  Notice the paper lantern.  I have four of these hanging in spots around the classroom, and rarely have the overhead fluorescent lights on completely.

Reading Corner

The counter is what I envisioned it to be: a picturesque, inviting, open, usable, and flexible space.  I was going to create a series of display shelves in the window sill, but my wife and the students talked me out of it.  They all liked the idea of the unencumbered view.  (Okay, they were right.)  Here are some different shots of the window counter at the back.  The only shot I don't have is when we use the counter sometimes for our laptops.

Window counter taken with flash.

Taken without flash. 
Notice the faint glow of the accent LEDs above the window,
and the real plants in the bottom corner of the sill.

The counter is a good place to check things out ....
... or to write or think.

A few other features
I don't think I ever took a picture of the risers after I recovered them with some leftover laminate flooring I had lying around.  At the end of last year, the risers were in good shape structurally, but really stained.  Bare plywood absorbs a lot of scuffs and stains.  The laminate has really been a dream.  It looks decent and cleans up with a wipe or a rub with a damp sponge.  I also stained the 2x4 supports with a light stain.  Here is what they look like after the slight makeover.

On the advice of Linda, the Occupational Therapist, I also put up places on my bulletin boards where kids could stand and write.  I put up coloured pieces of construction paper on the surface to define the spaces, and to take some of the roughness away from the bulletin board material.  It is funny how these spots on the verticals have become a useable space, especially when we have Writing Workshop.  I also have an art easel that we use for vertical writing.  I guess this is how I am able to have over 40 kids in my room (and at least 3 adults) and have it not seem overcrowded.  All the spaces are used: floors, counters, risers, tables, a few desks, and even some verticals are functional work spaces.  

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