Sunday, January 15, 2012

Take a Step Inside My Classroom

On Friday, we had 25 teachers visiting our school (which is quite a few teachers for a school with 8 classrooms) as a part of the early childhood and elementary teacher retreat for our school's network. The last time I had so many teachers in my room, it was the day I had returned from being home for my mom's funeral, so that must have been an interesting observation for those teachers, because I really wasn't 100% sure what I was teaching!

However, this time, I was actually far more prepared and ready to go. The night before though, I couldn't help but wonder what the teachers would actually be looking at when they came to visit. Whenever I go visit other classrooms, I spend maybe 1-2 minutes watching the teacher and instruction, and then I spend time walking around looking at what is up on the walls, trying to learn about the class from its set up and what I see. Obviously if I am looking to observe something specific, like writer's workshop, I will carefully watch the instruction taking place, but on a general school visit where I can observe classrooms at my leisure, I love checking out how teachers organize themselves and their classrooms. I think you can learn a lot about the teacher and the learning that takes place just by looking around!

So, if you're like me (and some of the teachers I noticed taking photos in my class), here's a peek into my classroom.

As you walk to our classroom you will see:
Our bulletin board currently has work students created in art class; art is one of our core subjects, along with reading, math, and Spanish. I love the quote below the bulletin board too--we are preparing our students to go to and through college, and I love having this quote reminding all of us daily why we are in school! Our school leader made sure quotes like these were painted on the walls throughout our building.
Our message board--it often has messages for parents. This week I had our newsletter taped up for parents to see.
And of course, our door. Welcome, Cal Bears! Every classroom in our school is named after a college.

Step into our classroom and this is what you will most likely look at first:
Half of our room--set up for nap (I thought to take pictures in the middle of the day!) You can see we have circle tables, which I love, that are color-coded. :)
Our classroom library (yes that's a fireplace--it no longer works, but it's one perk of having a classroom in a building that is not a school!). Around the fireplace you can see our poster from the Winter Festival, and I just put up the students' family trees that the they had to make for Spanish. You can also see three values characters above the fireplace--a fourth I believe is in the making!

Our values on the door: Courage, Ganas, Honor, and Reflection. We don't have class rules, but as a schol we have values that guide students' choices and behavior.
An anchor chart to help remind students how they can show our values and be rising leaders. We'll revisit this soon and add more ideas to the chart.
Take a peek at where the learning takes place:
Our math wall: calendar, shape anchor charts, 100s chart, number line,  number "name" boxes.

Close up of the shapes anchor charts
Number "Names" Boxes--A K Teacher at our school introduced us to this strategy for helping build number sense. She had previously used them in 2nd grade so students had more "formulas" for each number. Soon we'll add actual addition problems to the box.

Top Poppin' Work! The best work of each day from our class gets put up on the bulletin board.

So there you have it, a sneak peek into our room. Now, out of curiosity, what do you look at when you observe in a class?


Andi said...

Your room is so cute! That fireplace is awesome :) How cozy!

Alex said...

Thanks so much, Andi! I love the fireplace too! It's such a fun part of the room!!

Tanya Solano said...

How cool is that fireplace! LOVE IT! So glad I found your blog. I will be visiting often to see what's happening in your classroom. I am your newest follower and have "TAGGED" you on my blog. Scoot on over and check it out.
Ms. Solano's Kindergarten

Alex said...

Thanks, Tanya!!

Sara said...

Your kids nap???

Alex said...

Our day is from 7:50 to 3:50 so all I can say is yes I'm so very grateful they get a 20 minute nap! :) They need it to re-energize for the rest of the day!