Thursday, October 20, 2016

Classroom Setup 2016

Salvete omnes! It's been a while, I know. My beginning of year has been tiring for mostly classroom management reasons. It's not really getting any less tiring, so I'm doing a kind of "for fun" post which I hope you'll enjoy.

I'm pretty happy with how my classroom looks this year. I'm generally a very disorganized person so I have been trying to streamline things a bit. I've also tried to give my classroom a more unified aesthetic. Below the cut are some images of my room with descriptions of what you see and why. If it looks great to you, thanks, but remember that it took me halfway through October to get it /even this/ together. If not... well, be nice.

 The overall setup

from the back door corner

from the front window corner

from the back window corner

from the front door corner

I wanted to go deskless, but I couldn't, so what I did instead was make a big "stage" area in the middle of the room. This setup means I can be closer to all my students and roam much more widely without having to slide between closely packed desks. I also got two column backdrops from Amazon and used them to cover my bulletin boards & hide my bookshelves. They really tie the room together.

Back of the room

The boards at the back are for Latin 2 & 3 (functionally the same class), me or general, and then Latin 1. On each class board are the proficiency goals as "I can" statements, and job lists.

The Latin 1 board also has a word wall and forms of the irregular verbs we've been working with so far. My students do not know all these words yet for sure, and certainly not all forms, but it gives me a place to point to for review or during class stories or PQA.

My act isn't together enough yet that the Latin 2/3 board has a word wall. We're doing tenses in a pretty traditional way right now, so eventually I'll get some verb endings charts up there I think.

The middle board is kind of TBD. I'd like to do thematic boards for each cultural unit, but I'm not there yet. For now, it's got things I need to look at often and two calendars. One of them was a fundraiser item; I only need one. On the calendar kids write their games and birthdays.

Side wall bulletin board

This board is where rejoinders, numbers, and colors live. Eventually it might have some other stuff. It's not very functional at the moment because some of the stuff on it is too hard to read so I need to redo them. I don't remember right now if I have any long term plans for it.


I use the whiteboard every day to supply English for new words, tell the kids the bellwork assignment (tintinnabulum), and recently, for class objectives & an agenda too.

The other things on the board are those little 8.5x11" status signs. These are visual cues for the students about what "mode" they should be in. I am not consistent enough with changing these, but they definitely help. I have signs for English is ok versus Latin only time, which we definitely use a lot. Another one is Seatbelts Fastened (stay where you are and listen) versus Unfastened (= okay time to go to the bathroom, etc.). I don't really enforce that one. There's also Talking Allowed versus No talking, which again I don't enforce very much, but it's useful sometimes. Finally there's Phones not allowed versus phones allowed only for Latin stuff. If I actually used these consistently I think they'd be very effective, but even as it is, they help quite a bit.

Above the whiteboard

Here are my question word posters and also behavior guidelines. The question words get a ton of use, but I haven't really reinforced the behavior ones and the "if... then..." ones enough. As with everything else, the goal is transparency and clarity of my expectations for students.

On the shelves

Mostly, the shelves hold student binders. Students keep their binders in the room. The binders have two sections: culture and Latin. Student work that's been corrected goes to live in the binders. In this way, students don't just throw out old assignments that they may need to look back at, and they can reference previously done work. Again, we mostly haven't used this system much except as storage.

You can also see my little novella library, such as it is. We haven't done any FVR yet but I may try it in the future. Cloelia isn't in there because I haven't gotten around to buying a class set of my own book yet. Whoops.

The other thing I use the shelves for is, well, storage. I have a great closet, but the shelves closest to the front of the class are where my props and individual whiteboards, game supplies, etc. live.

The story basket

This basket holds the tools I need when we are telling a story or doing PQA or otherwise staying in Latin. We've got the fish for throwing at me when I speak English during Latin-time, two gavels (one real, one foam hammer) for two of my classroom jobs, clicker counters, a stopwatch, and my laser pointer. Sometimes other stuff ends up in there too depending on what we're doing on a given day. I really like having one single place where all the stuff I need most often lives.

Anyway, that's my room right now. I hope you liked seeing my pictures! How do you use your space to help you teach?

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