Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The 2016-2017 Classroom Reveal--that was NEVER shared.

SO unlike 99.8% of teacher bloggers out there, I didn't share my classroom reveal for 2016-2017. I wanted to. I even took the pictures; before and after. But then the school year started and I just put it off and off and off, until now it's Summer 2017 and I'm thinking about next years classroom set-up.

My OCD won't allow me to share next years classroom set-up with you in a few months before at least sharing this one!

So while I have NO desire to rewind my life to the start of last school year, I'm still going to share my classroom reveal with you, on a 10 month delay.

I walked into my new classroom, at a new school and was clearly dealt a challenge. The room was cold (not literally, the window unit wasn't running), dark, and extremely uninviting. It wasn't large by any means and was actually made up of 3 different rooms, not just 1. That part was kinda cool.

The lighting is not great on all of these photos. I just wanted to capture immediately what I saw when I came in. I didn't even snap photos all the way to the right (only part of the way on the next one)

You would think that those huge windows were awesome from letting in light--yes & no. I couldn't pull the blinds up or they'd get stuck there. I obviously learned that the way hard way. We could open up the slats though so that was nice. On a positive note there are some great furniture pieces here, I also had a sensory table that's not pictured.

Guys. I'm not even joking with you. I didn't touch a single thing before snapping these photos. This is EXACTLY how it was found...

What you can't see from this view is that to the left is a wall of hooks, where we hung backpacks and to the right the wall is full shelving-- great for storage! That door there goes into the hallway, but we never used it.

I probably should have turned the lights on in this room before snapping photos. Those chairs were an awesome find in there! The bottom fell out of that metal trashcan in the front when I picked it up. Just to give you a better idea of what I was working with..

Three years ago I visited this school with my principal when we were inquiring to nearby districts about their pre-school programs and how they ran them, what their class sizes were, etc. At that time I observed in their pre-school classroom. Coming into this I had a hunch that the room I had once observed in was going to be my new classroom. My hunch was right. It looked A LOT different from what I was walking into then, but I'd spent most of the summer thinking what I would do if that classroom ended up being mine.

As with any teacher I bugged, and bugged, and bugged some more about getting into that classroom before the school year started. I knew it needed a lot of work and I had SO much stuff to move into it at the same time.

My wishes were granted. I'm still not sure how I managed to pull it off, but I got a majority of my stuff moved in and a complete classroom overhaul done just in time! Let me show you the after!

Again-- lighting isn't great in all of these photos but I was so happy with the turn out! 

These ball chairs were amazing to have for our group time. I didn't have a classroom rug, but found these blue carpet rectangles at Ollies and they were perfect for marking where to sit. I could put them in front of the ball chairs too so they knew where their spot was.

That back corner housed our kitchen play area and toys available on the other shelf. I was working with a pre-k, k, and 1st group so this was still important to incorporate. Under the yellow sheets were our workboxes. I didn't want those to be seen/available until we used them and they understood that they were for play/recreation time.

Again, with the lighting! I don't know why I didn't think to open up those blinds! There was no kid friendly book shelf in my classroom. I purchased that one myself from Amazon for about $30. Total great deal if you find yourself in need of something similiar!

There was a great sized bulletin board by my desk space so I designated that to our data clipboards. It made them easy to grab when I was working at the computer and inputting data.

This cabinet was awesome. I was able to lock the bottom with a key for storage of extra materials. I could store curriculum materials on the top, and in the main part I locked it with a child-proof safety lock and inside were preferred toy items for play/recreation time. This created the perfect communication opportunity as students couldn't just access the cabinet themselves, they had to request. The child lock made it quick and easy for us to get in, but not the students.

I filled the shelves on the wall with books, puzzles, etc. for my storage purposes and then covered them with black shower curtains. My idea was to use this room as our sensory space. We had 2 large yoga balls, the mini trampoline, a climbing tunnel and body sock were also available.

I feel like at some point in time this must have been an observation room and that giant cork space must have been the 2 way viewing window. I have no idea why else this space would have the set up that it does. Later in the year I utilized that cork space, but to start, it was empty.

Here's another view of the classroom from a different angle.

And the last shot, straight ahead of the smart board. You can tell the room was not very large at all, but the additional 2 rooms made up for it.

I guess I never snapped an after photo of the back "kitchen space". I did have a small table back there with a few chairs. My initial plan was to use this space for cooking activities, but that never happened...we did use it for science and any painting activities!

So that was my VERY unique classroom for the 2016-2017 school year. As with most special education rooms I'm sure, we had a few minor re-arrangements here and there as student needs changed and more students were added to our group.

The multiple room set-up ended up being a lifesaver for us. I'm returning to my previous school district in the fall so I had to move EVERYTHING out, again. For the sake of the next person to walk into the room I left up my black bulletin paper and the colorful borders. I hope it helps make the classroom feel more inviting versus the sight I walked into!

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