Name: Amanda Carney
Job Title: first grade teacher
School Location: Lexington, Kentucky
How did you design your classroom? What prompted you to want to arrange your room this way?
My room is arranged in pods and stations. The pods in my room are in reference to the way our student desks are arranged. As opposed to rows, we've pushed the desks together to form a large square that seats 8 students. This helps to promote a community and improves social skills in many ways. It encourages collaboration and problem solving.
The stations I referenced are to aid in Daily 5. In my room, we have a shelf dedicated to Word Work, a table to hold our computers and iPads, a reading nook, a shelf dedicated to Work on Writing, and a similar setup for Math, too! By having designated areas for students to find materials, students are independent and able to begin work without question. The predictability of their materials helps every student to feel successful.
I also have our classroom rug facing the board rather than laying parallel. This provides a more distinct separation from my guided reading table and also lets students have more space for their little wiggle bodies when we are at the carpet!
What are some of the important spaces in your room? What are your favorite parts of the room? What are your students’ favorite parts of the room?
I work hard to make sure that our class library is enjoyable for the kids...and they love it. I have a run of our weekly read alouds that students may choose from, lots of reading buddies (stuffed animals and book characters), bean bags, and pillows. The kids love to curl up with a friend and their book boxes in our nook.
Do your students have assigned seats? Do you rotate stations? Do students have free reign of where to go in the room?
students have assigned seats but are not required to use them all day. Essentially, students have a “home base” that they keep their pencil box and complete their morning work at when they arrive. Throughout the day, students are given a choice to work at their desk or to find a space in the classroom that they feel makes them more productive.
Have you always arranged your room this way? Have you slowly moved to this design? Have you noticed a mood change in your classroom or what are you expecting to change with this setup?
No, I am constantly changing my space! The space described above was the most conducive to work flow that I've seen. Students were calm, quiet, and independent.
Where did you get the materials for your room?
LOTS of shopping. Some materials were provided by school, however, the majority were purchased by me. I have materials from Costco, Target, Dollar Tree, Kohls, and Amazon mostly.
What else should we know about your classroom?
I keep a set of wooden hearts dangling at the front of the room. These three wooden hearts are attached to a ribbon and have been painted to say, “You are loved.” My grandmother made ours for us but it would be so easy for others to recreate. I frequently catch students reading the hearts and smiling. It's such a small addition to our room but is certainly a powerful one!
Can we see more from you on social media or Teachers pay Teachers?
Yes! My blog is kykinder.wordpress.com and my TpT is Kentucky Kinder.