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Classroom changes


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  • 1. Brie DucampNovember 29, 2006Supervised Practicum Classroom Changes My goals for my classroom layout are to create an environment suited to facilitate studentlearning and to balance flexibility with predictability. These are goals which can never truly bemet, but for which I always strive. Flexibility involves the continuous evolution of the layoutand contents of the classroom. As students grow and the curriculum changes, so the room mustadapt to meet the students’ different needs. Predictability necessitates that materials andactivities to be easily accessible and consistent over time. This helps students independentlypredict where materials are located, and be familiar with routines and activities that they canemploy in their quest to construct meaning. The permanent fixtures in the room remain much the same as they were in the beginningof the school year. Large cabinets hold materials not currently being used by students or myself.Closets are filled with student backpacks and coats as the weather gets cooler. The wall-mounted bookshelf serves as the math center, where manipulatives are housed. The materialscart near the front board continues to be where most construction paper and lined paper arestored, though I am encouraging students to get these materials from the writing center at theother end of the room, giving me some workspace away from the computer. The job chartreminds students of their jobs, which are applied for and undertaken for a month. Some resources that were in the room at the beginning of the year are being used moreregularly and efficiently. Clipboards have been gathered, and each holds assessment forms for adifferent literacy activity: literature circles, writing status of the class, guided reading, etc. Thestereo is used more often to provide background music, which helps settle distracted students and
  • 2. keep talking down a bit. Students use the repaired hanging chart to make lists of words or ideaswhen several children are writing about similar topics. Boxes of books have been moved fromatop of cabinets and integrated into the class library. Tables have been relocated (one to the frontand one to the back of the room) to allow less distraction when groups meet simultaneously. Themaps on the back wall now label locations of some texts we are reading and people with whomwe are writing. New materials have been brought in to the classroom environment for student use. Avariety of posters have been made to create a more stimulating environment and display a varietyof information. One set of posters describes the steps in the writing process, displaying them in acircular pattern to reinforce the continuous movement from prewriting to reflection. Velcro hasmade signs that show literature circle and guided reading group members adaptable as membersand texts change. Class created charts (such as expectations for literature circles) are beinglaminated for more permanent presentation, and quotations about reading and writing are meantto inspire students. Two lamps (a pencil and thumb tack) have been introduced to give studentsvisual reminders for behavior during certain activities (no talking and workshop). A notebook atthe writing center now compiles the postcards we have received from various people for quickreference. Forty cassettes of classical and children’s music have been purchased for backgroundsounds. A variety of books and videos have also been acquired for our unit on folktales. The most drastic and significant change in the classroom has been in the library, whichhas become a focal point. One large bookshelf remains on the left wall, while the other has beenmoved parallel to it in order to more clearly define the library area. Books not currently incirculation are stored behind displayed books on the left shelf. Teacher materials and texts arestored on the outside of the shelf on the right, facing the window. This allows the entire area
  • 3. facing the library and the area on top of the shelves to exhibit children’s literature. Plasticbaskets have been purchased to organize the books by genre or topic. Many books are beinglabeled with their genre, so students will learn where to return them. A colorful carpet lines thefloor of the library for seating during independent reading and read-alouds. Ambient lightingand plants set a welcoming tone in the library area. Inspiring quotations about reading andwriting line the back wall. As the room evolves, there are changes I will continue to make to the classroomenvironment. I hope to build or purchase a better location to display big books. I would like tomove the listening center away from the computers to lessen traffic in that area. The writingcenter needs to be stocked with more materials (highlighters, colored pens, post-its, etc.). Alarger carpet and more varied seating might make read-alouds and independent reading morecomfortable. As students respond positively to changes in the room, I am enthusiastic tocontinuously adapt the classroom environment to the needs of my students.