I am having one of those weeks where I am ten steps behind everything. Yesterday the book study with Greg from Kindergarten Smorgasboard, Teaching with Intention began. The first chapter was all about what our ideal classroom would like. This was the perfect thing to start with. This year I will only be teaching math, science, social studies, handwriting, and Bible so the way my room looks and is structured will need to change.
My ideal classroom for my little firsties has a lot of open space. I am not a big fan of little ones spending a lot of time in desks so I would prefer to have several tables to use as workstations. Then kids could work at those or on the floor. I feel that kids need to have some say in how they work, especially when they are so young and are full of the wiggles. This comes with a higher noise level but I don't mind as long as their is learning going on.
The room would also be full of bright colors. Bright colors make me feel happy and I think that they would have the same effect on my little guys. I would also like to have lots of work displayed. They should be able to look all over the room and see stuff they have learned and created. I want them to develop a sense of pride in their work and I think seeing it displayed helps with that.
In my ideal classroom the students would be working independently, in small groups with peers, or with the teacher in a small group. I wouldn't spend a whole lot of time whole class teaching. Kids this little don't have the focus for that and I think they learn better when they are actively creating or using something to help them understand a concept. Listening to me talk continuously isn't going to help anyone.
I would be either working with a small group who is struggling with something or walking around the room assisting groups as they work through whatever activity we are working on.
For the last two years I have worked on moving away from whole class instruction all the time and moving to mini lessons and then group or center work. I have also been working on creating more hands on and interactive activities for them to help them understand lessons. This last year was probably the most hands on my classroom has been and I loved it. I had groups all over the room a lot of the time. This resulted in a lot of noise but we were having fun learning.
I really need to work more on organization.This last year I was a new mom working full time so I feel like I just shoved things in cupboards and drawers because of a lack of time and sleep. Now its time to deal with all my hidden stashes. I am hoping it will be easier now that I only have a few subjects.
I would also like to add more seating alternatives to my room. I have one table and desks and then lots of floor space. I would like more options so kids don't feel like they need to either sit on the floor or at a desk. I am not sure what that will look like yet but I am open to ideas.
I would also love to change the lighting in my room. I don't get very much outside light in my room so I have to rely on the overhead lights which just seem to bright and half the time are flickering. I usually only turn half of them on and that helps a little but I will be looking into a few lamps. My teaching partner has a few in her room and I love the vibe they give the room.
I am so looking forward to the rest of the book and all the changes that are happening in the way that I view my classroom and teaching. Its going to be a great summer of learning and a great year a changes. I hope you can join us on this adventure.