My Teaching Journey

through the intersection of math and middle school

My Classroom

The view of my classroom from the door. The whiteboard and front of the room are to the right.

I always enjoy visiting other teachers’ classrooms and seeing how they have crafted their physical space to accomodate their learners and their personality. I thought it would be fitting to share my classroom.

1. Two sets of trays for papers (one set of papers to be graded and one set of papers to be handed back); there is one tray for each period in each set

2. Tables – I started the year with traditional rows and then transitioned to pairs once my students learned my expectations. I have recently transitioned to tables of four. I’ll write about how that is going in another post. I haven’t abandoned it yet, though, so that’s an indication that it is doing as well or better than pairs.

3. The Back Shelf – There is a section for each period to leave their binders when I collect them for notebook checks. Some students choose to leave them in class when they don’t have homework.

4. Paper chains  – Each class has a paper chain; it’s length is determined by their behavior during class. I’ll write more about this topic in another post.

5. The Georgia Performance Standards – These are all of the standards that I teach my students during 8th grade. They cover the wall on both sides of the visible window. The set on the very right that are cut off is where they end. I use an arrow with silly putty to show the current standard or element.

6. My Desk – It’s in the back of the room rather than the front. I decided that I was sitting too much before or after school while doing work on my computer, so I moved my desk to the back. It serves a great purpose there by defending my cabinet and window from curious students; last year I was frequently bothered when students opened the window, but this year I haven’t had any problems. It is also currently serving at my student teacher’s desk since I rarely use it.

The view from the back. The previous picture was taken from the open door.

7. Word wall – The words for the current unit live behind the door. That way they are easy for everyone it see.

8. Shelf by the door – The pencil sharpener is on the shelf (in a plastic crate to prevent shavings from running amuck – it’s amazing!), as well as a sign-out sheet and three-hole punch for student use.

9. Small whiteboard – At the beginning of the year, I chose two students each week to be my classroom helpers. They would be the students I picked all week when I needed to hand out or collect papers, calculators, white boards, etc. I stopped using them consistently, so I changed the whiteboard to show the topic of the day, which I want students to write in their agenda daily. It also shows that night’s homework assignment.

10. Days of the week – I write upcoming events here for students to see, such as due dates, quizzes, or class events.

11. Whiteboard – This section of the whiteboard holds the date, essential question, and current standard (yes, again). I write the topic of the standard rather than the standard verbatim, and also list vocabulary that we will be using.

12. Smartboard – I wish it would calibrate properly and stay calibrated. I could teach without a Smartboard, but not without a projector. I do have a wireless slate from SmartTech, which I like a lot.

13. Clipboards – I use one for each class with a new page each week to record grades, attendance, and behavioral issues. This is a recently implemented system, and while I don’t love having to remember to grab the clipboard at the beginning of each class, it makes documentation and attendance a breeze. It also fits in the the school-wide PBIS revisions that I recently helped implement.

14. Laptop – While I moved my desk to the back of the class, my laptop had to stay at the front to connect to the projector. I used a short filing cabinet and two milk crates to create a standing desk. It prevents me from losing track of time before or after school because I have to stand to complete any work.

Now that you’ve seen mine, care to share and suggestions? How can I improve any of the systems I mentioned, or what do you have in your classroom that I could implement to make my life easier or my teaching better?


2 responses to “My Classroom

  1. tothesquareinch March 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    I am seriously loving your blog! I love the idea of clipboards. I teach so many classes I may need to start doing that!
    To The Square Inch

    • Nick April 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      It’s a huge help for attendance, behavior, and grades. I would recommend it to everyone who doesn’t love whatever system they currently use.

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