Saturday, August 25, 2012

Classroom Set-Up

Part of what will make our year successful is the physical set-up of our space.  Our classroom is in fact two standard size classrooms joined together with two openings and a breakout space in the middle.  In the picture above you can see the two openings on the right and left of the white board.  The breakout space is the room behind the white board.

 The north room, pictured to the left, is our main whole group teaching room.  There are five tables for five of our groups of four to sit at, as well as two extra tables for small group instruction.



We have soft tiles (which we call "carpet squares") for the children to sit at during whole group instruction.  There is a separate square for each child, each corresponding to their color table group (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, lime, black, and gray).
In the picture to the left you can see the students' cubbies.  This is where the children keep their individual notebooks, workbooks, folders, and books.  We purposefully chose for the students to have tables rather then desks.  One of our main goals this year is to have the students be successful in working in teams.  We feel that tables are just one part in helping us reach our goal.  If students however need some time to work on their own, there are many other spaces throughout both rooms for them to work.


 The south room also houses five tables for groups of four to work at.  It also contains a large classroom leveled library, a listening center station and our teacher desks.
Our computer station is in the opening between the two classrooms behind the breakout room.  You can see it in the third picture on the right hand side.  Eight laptops will be available for the students on each individual desk.

 Our breakout room is a private room with a windowed door for us to use in many different ways.  We can assess in this room, use for small group instruction, have available for students who need more of a quiet space to work, as well as a quiet recording space when used in technology pieces.
The breakout room sits directly across from our "front door" to our classroom.  In our "lobby" we have our student mailboxes, where individual work is sorted, a calendar, homework return basket, and an area for parents to receive extra materials if the need arises.
 Because we are using our classroom cubbies for the students personal items, we have put hooks outside the front of our classroom for the students' backpacks.  This has been very helpful in removing clutter from the room, which is important when you have at least 42 people moving about daily.
An easy way for us to take roll every morning is to give each student a "magnet person" with their name on it.  When they arrive in the morning they grab their magnet person and place it on the white board in a "ten block" (shown in the first picture on the right hand side of the white board.)  Any magnet person not claimed will let us know who is either tardy or absent.






It's been a lot of fun setting up our classroom, and so far the layout seems to be working great!  We've had to move a table and adjust where we put the projector by our carpet squares so that we can fit all 40 students in a circle for morning meeting, but that is about all the changes we've had to make. We have only completed three days so far but we are constantly surprised and pleased by how well the students, as well as ourselves are adapting to our ECP classroom.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Welcome to Our Collaborative Classroom!

Welcome to the Neil Cummins 2nd Grade ECP Classroom Blog.  ECP stands for Expanded Collaborative Practices.  Our school is embarking on an exciting journey as we open three ECP classrooms in grades 1, 2, and 4 made up of a team of two teachers each.  This blog will mainly focus on the 2nd grade ECP classroom as each team has a different vision of how we wish to collaborate both with each other as educators and with our students.  To take a look at our vision as well as our colleagues, please see our presentations at the following website: http://www.larkspurschools.org/ncs/cwp/view.asp?A=3&Q=286744

Our goal with this blog is to inform our community of teachers, parents, students, administrators, families, friends, and educators across the world what a collaborative classroom could look like with. . . . . . . . two teachers. . . . . . . . . . and 41 students!  Here we go!