Monday, June 27, 2011

Classroom Organisation and Design

I've been blog hopping all over the place today looking at all the wonderful classrooms out there! I'm really feeling cluttered at the moment because I have accumulated so much 'stuff' over the past 6 months I've been teaching second grade.

I must say, the classrooms I've been looking at seem HUGE compared to mine (which is a demountable) and they have SO MUCH storage! I've got 1 bookshelf for teaching/art supplies (in a room behind a concertina door at the back of the class that is shared with the class next door - it has our shelves, a sink and art table) and 3 small bookcases- that's it. When I look at classrooms overseas I see a whole wall of benches and cupboards! I am literally green with envy!

Here's some pics from the start of the year where you can basically see the whole class to get an idea of the size. I'd just set up the desks and put up some stuff that I thought would be good for Grade 2 (I was coming down after teaching Year 6 for two years). The class has changed heaps now and I wish I took some photos before I took stuff down before I went on holidays - the class looked awesome after our insects theme.

Another note - I have not seen a class EVER in Australia that has a theme!  I see these beautiful ocean or pirate themed classrooms on the web but never at the school where I teach at or where I did my teaching practise. So you won't see that here! I do however, put up lots of stuff we make and other things depending on what we are learning about each term (for example, last term in science we learned about insects so there was heaps of stuff hanging around). We also HAVE to have desks - we don't get a choice.
Here's a view from the front door at the very back and right of the classroom looking to the front and left of the building. So using this pic and the ones of the teaching area, you basically see the whole width and length of the classroom.

Here's a view from the front computer towards the other side of the room. You can almost see the front door to the right of the photo (the long vertical window looks out to the stairs right near the front door). That is an old rug from home - the fancy alphabet rugs I've seen elsewhere cost over $500 here!

View from the front to the back. You can see the entrance and into our office (shared between me and another teacher). This takes up room that could be classroom space! It has our teacher desk and a two-shelf book case. Because there is a door and it is 'hidden' I basically just dump stuff there! It is very messy! You can also see where the door is that goes into the wet area for art on the right side of the Work Board. 
This is the book nook. I now keep themed books in the book stand. We recently had a Friendship Theme so there was a sign above that rack that said 'Read a Friendship Themed Book'.The small couch was my son's - he's too big now! The rack I got on ebay for about $20.

Above are the only 3 bookcases in my room. I've also got one small grey cabinet that I keep stuff in.
CAFE board (one of only two pin boards in the class) and teaching area. The rocking chair is a favourite.I bought 2 of those little grey tables (one is in the pic). They have a hutch that go on them. I originally bought them off ebay thinking they would be good for a writing station, but they were too short. The other one and hutch is in the office to hold teaching supplies.

I had to do guided reading in the area above too or at a group of desks because we don't have those cool guided reading tables that I have seen in other classrooms. I use 2  have a hexagonal table (2 trapezoid tables joined together) that I use. 
Area by the door. Students use magnets to spell their HF words or spelling words. They can also use the whiteboard markers in the holder (a bathroom holder of some sort I think is used to hold them).

Front of the room with book boxes on the ground, I hadn't found a place for them yet. I don't really sit on the stool but I had it from when I taught Year 6 - they loved sitting on it when they were Leader of the Week.
So... my classroom looks very different now but the problem is that I have too much stuff and not enough space to put it! Once I go back in I'll take some pics and perhaps I can get some feedback on how to store things better!


  1. What a fun place to teach ;) I think your classroom looks very clean and organized... classrooms are never large enough and never have enough money in the budget ;)
    I've taught 2nd grade for the past 18 years and I hope to stay there until I retire (in about 20 years ;)... hope you love it too!!

  2. I think your room looks amazing. I teach 1st grade in Medford MA. My room is not very large either. What is difficult in arranging my room is the fact that the teacher desk HAS to be in a certain location due to wiring for internet and whatnot. It can be tough.
    :) Camille

  3. Thank you very much for your kind comments!

    Lory, I do enjoy teaching 2nd grade but it has taken a little getting used to. I've never been so exhauseted since I started teaching than I did my fist week of 2nd!

    Camille, that really is a pain about the desk - I have the same problem with my student computers. Our school is starting to go wireless since we have a laptop class in 6th (where every student has one) but it hasn't reached us yet.

  4. You have never seen a theme in a classroom, where did you go to uni. I live and teach in Australia and almost every class i have been in has a theme or a few themes. things like in Science learning about energy, in english learning about fairly tales, in maths doing shapes and displaying them. i know that upper primary tend not to do single all encompassing themes but most ECE classrooms do.

  5. I can see your point, but what I meant by 'theme' is that some classrooms I've seen online do their whole room in a theme for the whole year - e.g. frogs, ocean, western, polka dot etc. The theme doesn't change, even though what they are learning about does.

    I agree, that we do have 'themes' that we learn about (and therefore, we do activities for, have posters up, do art activities etc), but I haven't seen a classroom where the theme stays the same all year and almost everything (decoration wise) is in that theme.

  6. loving your room! and yes I've seen the new photos from later on in the year. I use the trapazoid tables for conferencing too. I have prep.

  7. It was great getting a peak into your room. My demountable and furniture is a mirror of yours, so it was great to see a fun set up! Good work!

    1. Thank you! It changed a lot since these pics, but I'm glad it gave you ideas of set-up that worked.


  8. Hi ,I think your classroom arrangement and design are appropriate.I can easily identify your different centers and there is enough space for students to work comfortably.There is also enough space for you to move around and monitor your students.Your classroom is brightly colored and attractive.I like your thematic approach and the fact that you seem to change based on your theme.Students tend to get bored when with the same thing over and over.I think it is a well laid out classroom and it looks very inviting.


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