We get lots of questions about our classroom design. Specifically, the how and why of each area of the classroom. Today we’re doing to show you our student materials areas and give you some specifics on why we set up our student materials areas the way we do and how it works. We actually have 3 specific areas for student materials: centers, supplies and QR codes!
These areas are where students get the materials they need for their centers and any work they need to complete. These areas and their design are meant to foster independence, cooperation and conversation.
Classroom Design: Student Materials -Centers
This area is where students keep their unfinished center work, they get their write the room recording sheets and write the room props. They also keep their morning journals here.
When students are working in centers/workstations/hippopotamuses, they always have a recording sheet. All of our centers include recording sheets because it gives students accountability, slows them down and provides an accountability piece. When the clean up song comes on during centers, any unfinished center work recording sheets go in the baskets. Those will be finished the next day.
For a VERY detailed explanation of our center management system, visit our center management blog post which is linked at the end of this post.
Write The Room
Also located in this area are materials for write the room and count the room. These are choices on our center wheel. As with all of our centers, write and count the room are differentiated and color coded. In the buckets, students find their write the room recording sheets. They choose from 3-4 different write the room activities. After they choose their activity they can choose 1 (and only 1) prop. The props are meant to bring a sense of fun to write the room. I mean, who doesn’t like to play dress up?!
Also in this area are morning journals. Morning journals are the morning work work our class. No packets. No worksheets. No copies to make. No directions to give. Students write and draw in the journal each day!
Classroom Design: Student Materials-Supplies
In our classroom we use community supplies to promote sharing and responsibility. (NOTE: This blog post is written during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is written BEFORE we have any details about a return to school and details on what that return will look like)
Everything that the students need to do their work is located right here on these shelves. No hunting for stuff. Nothing to pass out. They grab what they need, when they need it. And by forcing them to share we have less issues with supplies being lost or broken. And note that our supplies are watched over by Norman The Gnome. Why? Just because it’s fun. And sometimes Norman moves and really messes with the kids. Just sayin…
I won’t get into details of everything here since most of it is self-explanatory. But let’s address a few things:
- Frisbees-these make GREAT dry erase boards. We have regular dry erase boards too. So when we want to make a lesson more fun, we use Frisbees. CLICK HERE TO GET THEM ON AMAZON!
- Socks-ya’ll, don’t spend money on erasers for your dry erase boards. Just use old socks. I have students bring them. I use our old socks. Neighbors donate them. We wash them and they make great erasers for dry erase boards. TRUE STORY!
- Crayon boxes-1 box for every 2-3 kids. Each box contains 3 packages of crayons
- Pens-my students can use pens to do their center work, write the room, etc.
- Dice cages-because dice rolling all over is one of the most irritating sounds ever. These are just baskets from Dollar Tree lined with felt. Students roll dice in here. No noise. Trust me. You want these.
- Mini-erasers from Target are PERFECT for math counters and work PERFECTLY with our ten frame cards!
We have a VERY detailed post about community supplies. It is linked at the end of this post.
Classroom Design: Student Materials-QR Codes
Our final student materials area is this amazing shelf from our friends at National Business Furniture.
This shelf is two sided and on wheels. It provides a great deal of storage and because it’s on wheels I can easily shove it out of the way when we need more space!
The main use for this shelf is storing our QR codes. QR codes are one of our center activities so it’s nice to have them in a dedicated space. Storing these activities was always a pain for me. Now we have them in these great craft boxes that fit nicely on our shelf. Students can grab a box and get to work.
Also on the shelves are a bin of books for independent reading. The students can choose ANY book from our classroom library to read, but this bin is for all of the books that go with our current theme/unit. The bin might be full of holidays around the world books or plant books, depending on the theme. And to go along with the books are stuffed food buddies. We have a taco, french fries, hamburger, hot chips and noodles! The stuffed food is from Kid Robot.
And finally, we keep a set of chalkboards here. Chalkboards are great writing tools because the friction is great for muscle memory so it really helps with handwriting. I made these with my dad using wood that was donated by the company my mom worked for. Ya’ll, painted them with chalkboard paint. BAM! Done. We’ve used these for like 8 years!
We also like to decorate the shelf for each holiday using a vinyl tablecloth. Our class plant also sits on top of the shelf!
For more information on our classroom, check out these posts:
For resources mentioned in this post, check out these creations: