I love thinking about spaces and how to arrange those spaces, especially my classroom. I think almost every teacher has some of this because we obsess about our classrooms or "space". Where will our teacher desk go, what is the best place for our large group time, what will my centers/ work stations look like? That is why when Debbie Diller's book Spaces & Places came out I was in heaven. Now I know most of you are reading Debbie Diller's new book, but if you have not read Spaces & Places please put it on your "To Be Read" pile.
This whole book is fabulous, and I review it every summer to refresh myself. However, my favorite section is Chapter 1 - Planning Your Space.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. When I first started teaching, every August I'd arrange my class, then I'd step back and look at what I did and I'd rearrange my class again. Then I'd step back look at what I did and I rearrange my class yet again. This went on and on until I got it right. Alright, this got old FAST. I got tired moving all that furniture around. Then I got little smarter and would make sketches of what I wanted my class to look like. This was MUCH better but not perfect because I used to go through A LOT of paper.
This is where the interior designer in me came out. :) I used to use graph paper and measure everything, then make my sketches scaled to size. I was a bit obsessive, but looking at them now, wow they are impressive. Well, to me they are.
Then came Debbie Diller's book Spaces & Places. As I read Chapter 1, I had a stoke of genius! Debbie Diller taught me to use one of my favorite office supply ever, POST-IT-NOTES! With Post-It-Notes you can move the furniture around over and over and over around and you wont hurt your back, you wont waste paper, and you can get the design you want before you even step foot into your classroom. Here is an example from Spaces & Places. It is actually page 19.
Now Debbie Diller's sells a fabulous product through Really Good Stuff that helps you do this exact same thing. It is called the Classroom Mapping Kit. Here is an image:
However, I being the thrifty person I am decided that I could use a file folder and different color Post-It-Notes. Here is a shot of what mine looked like:
Here is the one I made the year after.
Here are some things to consider. I write the name of the object on it because I have forgotten what that Post-It was supposed to be. Furniture that is odd shapes. For example, normally I cut the Post-Its to resemble the size of the furniture. However, there are a few exceptions, like kidney tables. Another thing I do is write in structural objects that don't move, ie: bulletin boards right on to the file folder. Just some things to keep in mind.
Here area a few reasons I used a file folder.
1. I can fold it closed and don't have to worry about the sticky notes falling off.
2. I can write notes for myself on the opposite side.
3. I write a color key for my Post-It's right on the folder and wont confuse myself when I forget what I used the pink notes for.
4. I keep several extra post it notes on the opposite page.
5. You can keep it and reuse it next year.
This year I will be making a new one because my school will be relocated while our building is under renovation. I got excited just thinking about it the other day. I hope you consider doing this, it really is a time saver, and so much fun. It is almost like paper dolls. :)
How do you plan the layout of your room?