September 12, 2017

New Classroom!

I got kicked out of the penthouse since I'm teaching mostly Algebra 2 this year (9th grade classes are on the third floor) and am back to my old wing of the school. I've now inhabited all three classrooms on my side of the hallway: 135, 134 and now 136. I've been at this school for seven years which is more than enough time to accumulate a lot of stuff. But also plenty of time to figure out how to use the standard furniture so moving was mostly a process of putting things back on their same shelf in the closet or bookcase. Here are the big decisions I made as I decided what should change or stay the same:

Student Desks
I've always done pairs in the past but I have almost all juniors and seniors this year. Plus my student teacher switched my pairs to groups last year and it worked well. So I set up (okay, Jordan set up) 7 groups of 4 for my classes of 15-25. I wanted to have groups of 3 with a seat available for me which will work for precalc (class of 15) but not for my biggest algebra 2 (class of 25). I labeled the groups with playing cards. Table 1 has desks with the ace of spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds. Last week I called on tables by number but I also look forward to asking all the hearts to share an idea or all the clubs to go get materials. I used the mini decks of cards I got from Delta (why do I have these?) so they tuck into the corner nicely.

Teacher Desk
We get a desk plus a computer table. The computer table has to be along a certain wall since that's where all the plugs are. Typically I've created a teacher corner with the two desks together either in an L or parallel with the chairs in the middle. This year my classroom is smaller and so I turned both desks to face the wall. I'm rarely sitting at my desk during class, and even when I do sit and grade while they take tests I often ended up at my big table of student desks anyway. Sadly I lost that too since this room is smaller and my classes are bigger but it is more important to me not to block the white boards than to have a teacher corner so I'll find somewhere to sit when I really need to face kids.

Bulletin Board
I loved my "extra copies" folders on the wall. I used to have algebra every day (I teach on an alternating day block but I had regular class one day and support the other day) so it took up my whole board. Now all my classes are alternating day so I can have extra copies for Algebra 2 and Precalc. After the two weeks are full I'll continue putting spare copies in an accordion folder. Fun feature - most stuff like that I labeled "Algebra" which still applies despite switching from Algebra 1 to Algebra 2. The other bulletin board is a random assortment of posters - nothing to be excited about but not blank and boring looking. I of course still have my standards of math practice up as well as my precalc graphing pictures projects.

I loved the idea as soon as I saw Joel's tweet. We have limited bulletin boards in the hall so I decided to take over a section of wall instead (don't tell the fire marshal). I learned this week that the sticky notes don't stay on the cinder block with that much traffic so I'm going to track down a roll of paper to cover the wall and try again. For the first round I made it part of my algebra 2 class (we studied the graphs first, they wrote the sticky in class and then went out into the hall to stick them up). I'm curious what will happen next.

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