A week and a half before school started, I accepted a Grade 3 LTO position at Joshua Creek Public School in the Halton District School Board. As this was my very first experience having to set up my classroom and start the school year off with my own class, I was a bit nervous yet very excited. I spent numerous days setting up classroom, from bulletin boards, to desk groupings to our classroom library. I never knew how much time this can take, but I feel it is key to have a welcoming class for student arrival.
How did I create a welcoming classroom?
* Posting a “Welcome” sign on my door with my name (Ms. Pryde), room number (RM 25) and class designation (3-1). My welcome sign had frogs on it, so I also wrote a catch phrase of “Leap Into Learning”, and had small frogs posted on the door with each students name written on them
* Having students names posted on their locker and desks, so they knew where to put their belongings
* Having colourful colours on my bulletin boards
* Labeling the classroom with pictures and words, so all students know a) where they can find things and b) where things go (i.e. pencils, markers, rulers, dictionaries, pencil crayons, erasers and I also labeled the book bins in our classroom library)
* Created a central meeting place, which includes a carpet for students to be seated at
As my school is a TRIBES school, I put my students in groups- 4 groups of 5 students. I also tried to ensure that each group had roughly the same number of boys and girls (luckily, I was quite successful at this as I have very close numbers of boys and girls).
While setting up my classroom, I envisioned the different uses of my classroom. So, I included a central meeting carpeted area with an easel for modelled and shared instruction, as well as a comfortable place for community circle or reading independently (or with a partner). I also set up my guided reading table with chairs for my students. Textbooks, dictionaries, classroom library books, clipboards, math manipulatives and indoor recess games are placed on the shelves which are at student level. I set up our listening area, with a stereo, audio books and headphones, as well as a place for our classroom computer.
Overall, I was very pleased with my classroom setup, although it was a lot of hard work! Luckily, my students really enjoy our classroom and I know that all my time and effort was well worth it!