Setting Up Your Classroom

Classroom setup can dramatically affect students' attitudes toward and habits of learning. Students need an environment that is organized, stimulating, and comfortable in order to learn effectively. Creating such an environment entails arranging a practical physical layout, supplying diverse materials and supplies, and encouraging students to have a sense of belonging and ownership.

Tips for Getting Started

Arranging the Learning Centers

Take the physical features of your classroom into account when planning. As the year progresses, you can add different kinds of learning centers to fit your class's evolving needs.

Arranging the Whole-Group Area

Learning Areas

Whole-Group Area

For whole=class lessons -- this includes informal discussion, direct instruction, and student presentations. This is a good place for an Author's Chair from which students can read their writing to the class.

Small-Group Area

Here you can give small-group instruction or allow groups of students to gather for peer-led discussions.

Reading Area

This is a place for students to read independently or quietly with a partner. It should provide comfortable seating, a variety of books, and a quiet, secluded atmosphere.

Writing Center

Here students write independently and collaboratively. The area should contain comfortable space for writing and a variety of supplies.

Cross-Curricular Center

This is an active center where students explore relationships across different curricula, including literature, science, social studies, art, and math.

Computer Station

This area is for computer use in writing, math, reading, keyboard practice, research, telecommunications, and creative games.

Creative Arts Center

This area is where students can get involved in visual art and dramatic play. It should have a variety of art supplies, costumes, and props.

Communication Area/Post Office

This area has mail slots for students and teacher to exchange written messages and suggestions.

Listening Station

Here students listen to tapes of books, stories, songs, and poems.

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