Monday, January 23, 2012

the superhero room.

One of the joys of teaching first graders is that I get to utilize every single color of the spectrum without fear that it will ever be "too much". If I had as much color in my house as I have in my classroom, I think I would be an excellent candidate for TLC's "Trading Spaces". But to a first grader, if every color of the rainbow is not in their immediate line of sight, they consider the space to be useless - "muted color scheme" is not in their vocabulary.

With that said, welcome to the Superhero Room. I snapped a couple of quick shots of the room to give you an idea of what our room looks like on a day-to-day basis. I wanted to give you just a quick overview of our room, and later we will dive into more specific areas of the room that either work or still need help!

As soon as the kids walk in, this is what they see - it's our main "drop zone". They stop and turn their homework in, submit any notes from home, choose their lunch for the day, and turn in their library books. It's a one-stop-shop. It is so helpful that it's right inside the door, because the kids don't have the chance to miss it!

The main focal point of our room is our front wall - it holds our alphabet and digraph cards, our ActivBoard, our calendar board, and our Bucket Fillers. If the kids need to know anything, it's on this wall!

Here is a close-up shot of our calendar. We complete our Morning Meeting and all of our Morning Jobs on the ActivBoard, but this board is always a reference point for finding the date, the day of the week, types of weather, etc. It also houses our coin posters.

Here is our Superheroes board which is our main spot to display student work. This wall also has three clocks that show important times in our day that the kids are always asking about (lunch, specials, and dismissal). It also houses our "pledges" to one another, or our class rules, as well as our patched-up heart which serves as a reminder that we will always use our kind words! 

Right below our Superhero board are our math tubs where we can always find any math manipulative we could ever dream of! The tubs are clearly labeled so that the kids can easily find whatever tool they need.

We spend a whole lot of time in our next area: Word Work! I love that all of our tools to help us spell and be good writers are right in this area. Our Word Wall is in this area, as well as our Sound Board which shows all of our first grade spelling patterns! This is also where the kids come for their Word Work rotation. All of the supplies they need are in the bookcases and drawers!

Our next stop is the Teacher Table where the kids come for reading groups. Right behind my table, I have all of my Guided Reading materials (multiple copies of books, our Journeys series, etc.) so that everything I need is within reach. This space is functional, but I am definitely anxious to make it more organized and "clean" looking!

Right next to our Teacher Table is my desk area and our Genre Board where we display all of the books we have read together this year classified under their respective genre.

The final stop on our tour is our world famous Reading Loft! This is one of the highlights of first grade! Each first grade classroom has a Reading Loft that houses their classroom library and also serves as a reward system for reading at home. Students earn days up in the loft by reading a certain number of minutes at home with their parents. The kids LOVE it! 

The library underneath it, however, is the bane of my existence. I have tried so many different organizational systems in this area, and no matter what we try, the kids have such a hard time maintaining it. We've tried buckets categorized by author and subject, shelves for varying reading levels, etc. You can see that books are hanging off the shelves, stacked on top of each other, and squished so tightly that the kids can't see what books are available. This is a project that I am hoping to take on as soon as I can find a new system that might work. Any ideas?

So there's a tour around the Superhero room - lightning round style. There is so much work to do to make it more functional and easy to maintain for the kids! I definitely have a lot of room to grow. Let's say that this post serves as my pledge to start researching better ways to organize all of our room's spaces so that the kids can enjoy our room to it's fullest!


  1. Thank you for not mentioning my "drop" over "the drop zone"...that library bin looks ever so innocent in that picture!

  2. Can you tell me where you got the clocks that show the times for lunch, recess,etc. Thanks. Holly

  3. Hi Holly! I actually just made those clocks using power point shapes (circle, arrows, etc.) for the appropriate times during our day!

  4. I think you might the following for help with your classroom library organization. It might even work with little ones. :D