A couple weeks ago I posted my “organizing services” on our district’s facebook page. I basically offered to come help any teachers who were in need of some organizing in their classroom/. I didn’t get many bites, which is probably for the best cause I had plenty going on at my own campus to keep me busy. However, I did get a message from a girl in the district named Melanie. Melanie said she needed some help in her classroom and I was super happy to jump on board and spend some time in her room.
Melanie is a 4th grade teacher at an elementary school in Buda, Texas. This year she is teaching Math and Science. The school she is at is literally busting at the seams. This area of town is growing like crazy and the school isn’t able to keep up! Melanie’s classroom was not really even a classroom at all. It used to be used as a communal space for the campus. There were no built in storage cabinets for supplies or any cubbies for the students’ materials. So needless to say, we had to get creative!
Here is a quick before and after of Melanie’s 4th grade classroom!
When I got to Melanie’s room you could see the words overwhelmed and stressed written all over her face. She had only gotten in her classroom 2 days prior and she had 2 days to be ready for Meet the Teacher Night. To make things worse, she was told that there were no desks available for her to use. She had 3 U-tables in the middle of her room as well as plenty of boxes, crates, shelves, carts, and tubs loaded with all of her supplies… No cabinets, remember?!? 😉
The plan was to use the U-tables as her student’s desks along with the round table in the picture above and a rectangle table she had as well. We spent a solid hour and a half trying to make this work and it just wasn’t! Luckily, we found some desks that we stole politely asked for. Once we had the desks, it was game on!
The first thing we wanted to do was to define the Whole Group Teaching Area. This is where she will spend a lot of time with her kids and we wanted to make sure it was a focal point of the room. She had plenty of bean bags, cushions, and pillows that helped to make the space more inviting. She says her kids don’t fight over who sits on what…I was impressed! You can also see in the back corner that she has a SMART board which is used as a station. We put the small circular table there to add a seating area for the kids to work at.
Next we worked on getting the desks situated. We moved the desks into cooperative groups by placing 4 desks together in groups of 4 and 5. All desks are facing the front of the room so that no students’ backs are to the front. We also defined her small group teaching area by placing one of the U-tables at the back of the room.
Here is another shot of the room with the desks and Whole Group Teaching Area.
We pushed this shelf of cubbies up against the wall to free up this space and make the entrance to the classroom more inviting and open.
Check out her super cute reading nook! Her theme this year is “Alice in Wonderland” so this nook is her “rabbit hole”!!! Love! If I were her…I would have been asleep in there today at approximately 3:32 pm.
One of the things Melanie was doing really well in her classroom was her Math station materials. Each of these white baskets have the TEKS on it. That way, when a kid is struggling with a certain concept, she can send them over to the station area and they can pick a Math activity of their choosing and work on it. This allows them the option of choice as well as it allows Melanie the ability to focus in on the exact skill that that student is lacking in.
Here is a close up of the bins.
By 8:15 we were both exhausted. The room wasn’t complete by any means, but we had made a really good start! Melanie could see the light at the end of the tunnel. One of the hardest parts of setting up an organizing a classroom, no matter how experienced you are, is getting started. Getting started can seem so daunting. That’s what Melanie and I did. We got started. And we made a lot of progress. Melanie was feeling so much more motivated and in control after our short 4 hours together. I told her she needed to leave because HELLO it’s 8;15…why are we still here?!?! But…she text me at 10:00 that night with pictures of even more work that she did in her room.
That’s what excites me. Not the moving heavy boxes, not the hanging up things on the wall, not the stressful decision making of where to put things. Not even the organizing pf cabinet shelves! But watching people who are so overwhelmed with where to begin and then seeing those fears and stresses gone. Because, believe me, I did do work that night. But she was the one who did most of the work. She was the one who made the final decisions. She was the one who told me what she wanted and where she wanted things. I just provided feedback, encouragement, and direction. (and I moved a few heavy boxes!)
So there it is! There is Melanie’s made over classroom! Super proud of her! And super excited that I got to be a part of it. Do you need help in your classroom? Do you know someone who needs help in theirs? I’d love to help you out!!
While I have you, check out what two of my friends have going on over at Mustard Seed Teaching. These girls are AMAZING teachers and are doing AMAZING things for the education world.They have also made a couple of fun videos interviewing teachers before and after the first day of school.
First Day of School Thoughts
First Day of School Recap
Thanks for reading! Can’t wait to share more classroom makeovers with you soon! In the meantime, feel free to check out a tour of my 2nd Grade Classroom!
Check out the other Classroom Makeovers here!
Want to makeover your own room? Click the box below and get your free copy of my “Classroom Makeover Goal Planning Sheet.” I walk you through all the steps of identifying your “top 3” areas and creating a plan to help you execute your classroom makeover. And…if you do makeover your classroom, take some before and afters for me, please!
Until next time,