For those of you who know me well, I have a secret I have always wanted to stop time and move to a big city like Boston or New York for 2–3 months. Actually that is on my bucket list.  Every time I go to the city even when we went to San Diego, I am amazed at the way the transportation systems are organized and move people around usually with little or no problems. I think about this analogy as I set up my classroom for the new school year.

Back of reading nook, notice the WONDER jar ?

Throughout the summer I was thinking about the “stops” in my room.  I want a reading nook that is comfortable and a little off the beaten path so students can read quietly and search for their next favorite book.  I have always wanted a special place for writing, and I finally found my coffee table. I know that I am more excited than the students will be but hopefully my enthusiasm will rub off on them. Next stop is a place for collaboration, so I have organized my room to include two tables this year: round and rectangle.  I am going to encourage my students to use their tech tools there along with working together for projects or just enjoy sharing a poem on Poetry Friday.  Our final stop will be our class meeting area where our community will join together everyday for learning, conversations, and sharing.

Along the trip, my students will have pit stops which are places to drop by and pick up some important items.  In the word study area, there are games (Boggle, Scrabble, Bannagrams, Pears in Pairs), soft foam letters, word jars, blank cut out squares to make their own mystery word, and dry erase boards w/ markers.

 
Another quick stop will be the math area which includes dice, games (24, Zip Around, Bingo), unifix cubes, place value tub, and fun riddles for math. In addition, different sizes of graph paper and laminated cards that have the 4 operational vocabulary words for solving story problems.

My new coffee table can’t wait to see it in use

As I travel around the room a week before the students arrive, I am excited about the journey we are about to take and most importantly once the students arrive they will have their opportunities to talk about the room and discuss any bottleneck areas. Hopefully there will not be too many.  Have a great start to your school year and don’t forget to check your traffic patterns.  I want to thank Franki @ A Year of Reading for always posting pictures of her classroom and all other bloggers that do the same thing. For me the visual images are key in changing my classroom.

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