Friday, August 5, 2016

Math/STEAM Year: Classroom Set-Up

Initial plans are set for the new school year, and now it's time to get in there and set up the classroom. Last year I changed the room around a lot as I got used to a room focused mainly on math and STEAM study. I ended up with the set-up above, a set-up that served the many ways we teach and learn well.

Important areas of consideration include the following:

STEAM Supplies
I have a good collection of STEAM (science, tech, engineering, art, and math) supplies. I also have lots of containers and shelving to host the supplies. The job before school starts will be to organize those supplies in a way that makes it easy for students to find what they are looking for. I plan to use zip-lock bags for many supplies, and then I plan to put those zip-lock bags into draws and baskets for easy access. This list of supplies is a starting point if you're just beginning to create your STEAM Center.

Maker Math Supplies
I have a good collection of math tools and supplies including graph paper, rulers, scissors, colored pencils, calculators, protractors, tiles, grid white boards, and more. I will place those in the front of the room for easy access to support our math exploration, investigation, and project work.

Individual Supplies
The students who are in my homeroom will store their supplies in student desks (we still have the old fashion desks, but if I were choosing I'd order tables and chairs with wheels for flexible set up). Students who come to my class for STEAM and math, each have a colorful drawer to store their individual notebooks and baggy of supplies. 

Presentation Space
The presentation space includes the document camera, cart, white board, and student desks. We'll use this area to present learning, foster class discussions and debates, and learn together.

Rug and Book Space
This will be a cozy space for reading and working together. The space will include cozy bean bag chairs and other comfy furniture. There's also a book shelf and baskets of books.

Coach's Corner
There's a space in the back corner of the room with a big desk, white board, shelving, and a rug. This is where the teaching assistant will sit and it will be known as the coaching corner--a place for students to receive extra support and help. 

Often students are invited to choose their work space. The tables will provide a space for students to work on projects together or to spread out when they need more space.

The check-in space will give students a space to sign in each morning, read important notices, and collect important supplies and information.

Tech Cabinets
I have a number of small tech cabinets that store the tech equipment we have. I'll place those in the back near the coaching corner for easy teacher/student access.

Fortunately the classroom is located next to the playground. We'll often use the playground for our investigation, exploration, creative, and energized learning activities. 

There will be many signs to encourage students' positive mindsets and choices. Signage will include:
  • List of names
  • Schedule
  • Growth mindset reminders
  • Inspiring quotes from notable individuals
  • Notes outlining routines
Students will create a lot of signage throughout the year to guide our collective efforts and learning. 

The plan is set and time has been set aside to create the space. I want to make it as inviting and welcoming as possible to help every child begin the year in a positive way.