Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Logical Place for Everything and Everything in it's Place

Well, it's that time of year again. The students are on summer vacation and the teachers are living the life they always get bugged about. Although, I know that teachers can do a lot of work over the summer, some people just don't get it. Anyway, I digress.

Summertime is a great time for new beginnings and preventative maintenance. Many of you may be moving to different classrooms, switching grades, or just want to update your current classrooms during this time.

Take the time to reflect on your past year and prepare for the upcoming one. Think about the physical layout of your classroom and what can be done to maximize the efficiency in your class. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Did students sneak past me because my desk was too far from the door or the students' desk?
  • Did little Billy distract the whole class every time he needed to sharpen his pencil because of where the sharpener was located?
  • Was there a group of students I had trouble keeping an eye on because there was little space in the aisle by their desks?
  • How can I break my classroom into zones? (Individual work, group work, whole class instruction; art, math, music, geography)
  • What items did the students need to use the most? These items should be easy access (calculators, manipulatives, books, etc.)
  • What will the flow of my room be?
  • What items do I use the most at the front of the room (store them there), what items do I frequently use at my desk (store them there), and what items do I use infrequently (store them more out of the way)?
  • Can I make it more clear what items are for everyone's use and what items are only for the teacher? (Have a separate shelf or table where the 'everyone can use this' items go and make a firm rule that nothing on your desk is to be touched.)
  • Is there a logical place for items to be handed in that is not just 'somewhere on the teacher's desk'? (Try a bin on a nearby shelf or an extra student's desk. This helps you as a teacher because you don't want to have to spend extra time cleaning off your desk everyday so you can work. A different, designated inbox for assignments also helps with the 'I handed it in, you must have lost it' problems, also.)
  • What didn't work this year, and what can I do to improve that for next year?
  • What ideas have I come up with or heard of that I've been meaning to try?
Maybe you just need to tweak a couple of things, or maybe your classroom needs a complete overhaul. Whatever your situation, remember to have fun over the summer coming up with new ways to make your classroom better.

Please comment or send your questions to me at

Have great day!

Valerie :)


Natalie said...

Hi Valerie,

I really get excited in the summer about not only new lessons and units that I'm planning for September, but also about setting up my classroom and adjusting my policies/routines. I agree with your post that everything should be considered, even if it seems trivial, because just the spacing of the desks can have a major effect on the learning environment. I found an ebook called "How to Organize Your Classroom" at that has been a big help to me as a new teacher without much experience to rely on. Keep up the great blog and have a wonderful summer!

Valerie McInall said...

Natalie, thank you for your wonderful comment.

I love how summer can be filled with the lovely expectations of the bright new year.

Ms. P. said...


I couldn't agree with you more that the summer is a great time to prepare items for the next school year. I love taking my time to work on items for the fall at my own pace when I feel like doing so. It's easier to plan or make things when there is not day-to-day pressure.

Thanks for your bright view of the upcoming school year. :^)

classroommng said...

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