Archive for the ‘Great classroom spaces’ Category

A huge thank-you to Morgan Simoneoux, a first-grade teacher from Baton Rouge, LA, for sending in these photos of her classroom. I love how colorful all of this is! A truly warm, welcoming environment. Send your pics to d.diller@live.com



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It is so much fun to receive all of these great classroom photos from teachers across the country! These pictures are from Tara Leander who teaches second grade at Mother Teresa Academy in Clifton Park, NY. She sent in images of her classroom setup, library, and organizational system. If you would like to share your classroom photos, e-mail them to d.diller@live.com with a brief description.

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I love getting photos of various classrooms from around the country! Here is the latest batch from Traci McGraw’s classroom at Eastside Elementary in the Rogers Public Schools, Arkansas. If you want to share some classroom photos, send them to d.diller@live.com

These are the charts Traci uses to rotate her students through work stations


Traci's "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" tree that she uses for her behaviour system

Traci uses different colors on her word wall to help students find words easier

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As we begin a new school year, I am curious to hear from all of you about what changes you have made to your classroom. Have you created new areas for quiet reading, or for new work stations? Did you get a chance to declutter? What do you hope to accomplish with the changes? How do you think your students will benefit from the changes?

If you are still working on your classroom or you are trying to decide what to do, here are a couple of older posts from my blog where I talked about inspiring classroom spaces. As you browse through the pictures, I am sure you will find answers and inspirations. Send me your classroom photos to d.diller@live.com and I will post them to my blog!

Welcoming Classroom Environments in Denver, CO

A New Teacher Gets a Classroom Makeover in Ozark, MO

Inspiring Classroom Spaces from Cabot, AK

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Does your school have a book room or leveled book library for guided reading? Recently, I worked at Lovett Elementary in HISD (Houston) where they have a wonderful book room with guided reading books for teachers to check out. We held planning meetings in this room on my visit. So handy for being able to quickly refer to texts as we learned together about improving small group instruction.

Several years ago I worked with Spring Branch ISD in Houston and visited every elementary to help set up a leveled book library tailored to the needs of that school. It was such an interesting project! There were so many ways in which to organize the space and the books.

Here are a few photos of leveled book libraries used by entire schools.

Lovett Elementary's leveled book library

Close up of guided reading library shelves at McWhirter Elementary in Clear Creek ISD (Houston area)



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Recently I got a lovely email from Michelle O’Mara in the Fayetteville School District in Arkansas (right before my visit there). She told me that she knows how much I enjoy taking a little peek into classrooms and sent me a link to her website where she has posted many pictures of her kindergarten classroom. Hope you enjoy the visit as much as I did.

If you’d like to see other classrooms as inspiration (or for help) in setting up your room for back to school, check out our flickr site at www.flickr.com and look for the Spaces and Places group. Would love for you to join us!

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We ended our week of training in Humble ISD with the training that everyone wants at this time of year… how to set up your classroom space to maximize instruction! It’s the popular Spaces & Places training we do, based upon my book of the same title.

Teachers worked together mapping their classroom spaces on paper and were inspired to clean up their closets and get organized as the school year begins.

You might want to check out the Spaces and Places blog that Stenhouse Publishers has set up at www.flickr.com. Just look for the Spaces and Places group. You can post your own pics of your classroom, or check out what others are doing as they set up their classrooms. It’s a great site, and it’s free!

Teachers share what they’re thinking about as they prepare to set up their classrooms for the new school year

Teachers work with colleagues, mapping out their spaces on paper first

One teachers’s notes on where she'll put the whole group area

Teachers share ideas during the workshop

Here is another group of teachers sharing their thoughts

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Last week in Republic, MO I did training on Spaces & Places. We reflected on classroom essentials. We mapped out our classrooms and even set up two rooms as a group.

Here are some of the things K-5 teachers there said they would give up this year….

  • glitter! (much of it in the cabinet was dried up)
  • big birthday cake display on the wall (takes up too much space)
  • twirly stuff hanging from the ceiling (that distracts some students)
  • my big “Hoppy Helpers” frog chart (takes up more space than needed)
  • the 6 ft. tall chart with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division symbols on it (it serves no purpose except to cover up a wall)
  • my teacher desk (I just pile stuff on it)

One teacher told me, “I slept so soundly last night knowing that I don’t have to spend all that time decorating my walls before school begins!”

What will you give up this year, so you can leave space for children in your classroom?

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In my office

For much of this past week, I have been working away in my office. I’m finishing the photos for Math Work Stations. Yes, I’m near the end of it! I thought you might like to see what this process looks like– or at least the space in which it’s being created.

Yesterday I was getting frustrated. I had piles of stuff (math manipulatives and papers) everywhere and couldn’t find what I needed. So, I thought about my advice in Spaces and Places and did what Julie Morgenstern calls, “Equalize.” I put everything (almost) back where it belongs. And then I could think straight again. It’s amazing how our space can affect our thoughts!

With the end of school, things often look bad (or worse than normal) before they look good. Stay tuned for a special post coming soon. My friend, Mary Brown, is moving to a new school next year to become a Math Recovery teacher. Several of us are going to help her pack up her room later this week. I’ll post pictures to show you how we did it. Are you moving? Packing up your room? Check out the chapter in Spaces and Places called “Organizing Your Stuff.” There’s a whole section called “Packing and Moving.”

Part of my messy office with math manipulatives everywhere!


Aaah! A clean space. The corner with my paper cutter. Think I'll hang out here.

Or maybe I'll use my organized crayons to finish making that card. A few years ago, I labeled this big box of crayons I bought for my kids. I was tired of not being able to find the color I needed, so I added labels.

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Here’s some inspiration for getting organized! A first-year 4th grade teacher at Castro Elem. of Denver Public Schools in Denver, CO has been part of our CORE Matters training all year. Recently I had the privilege of visiting her classroom. Wow! Look at the ways she’s organized. (And you should see her teaching!) This school is using the Packing & Moving chapter from my book, Spaces & Places  for ideas on how to pack up their rooms. They’re getting new carpet this summer and must pack and move their whole classrooms!

Organized cabinets with sticky note labels so she can easily find teaching materials

Well-organized materials for math

Little books and questions from http://www.readinga-z.com are color-coded and stored in small boxes on a countertop for easy access

Organized guided reading materials are found in the small group teaching area

Clever storage in the classroom library- seating cubes that double as storage from WalMart


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