Trading Spaces: Classroom Edition Part I — Just Kindergarten

Wow, oh wow!! Did you all ever do an amazing job on the classroom spaces this year!! I am impressed beyond words. We arrived with only a couple of days before the children were arriving to find the building all topsy-turvy — desks were turned on end, materials were piled everywhere, boxes and crates abounded. And within hours (okay, days) magic had happened and the classrooms looked and felt like the most magical learning places in the world.

I took a few pictures — and I’m taking some more — and wow, oh, wow are they ever terrific. Here’s a look at just our kindergarten spaces (the post won’t let me fit mo -re in one post) I’ll post the other grade levels later.

Check out Janet’s word wall. Her room has this terrific orange theme going on. It is bright, citrusy and fun . What a great space for kindergarteners. You have to see her birthday board too — it looks absolutely yummy!

I can’t wait to see this when it has everyone’s celebrations on it. She’s put it right near the block corner too — so that it can be a part of everyday life in the classroom play area.

Next door, Liz’s room looks like heaven itself! I love the cloud bulletin boards!! They’re all over the room.

The clouds make this absolutely float.

Can you believe this is that huge gray cabinet that has always dominated that room?? Liz has turned it into a terrific and functional wordwall.
Can you believe this is that huge gray cabinet that has always dominated that room?? Liz has turned it into a terrific and functional wordwall.

Jackie’s Kindergarten room looks great too! Check out the cozy reading nook and the waiting listener!

Doesn't he look like he's just waiting for the KD children to arrive and read him a story?

Doesn't he look like he's just patiently waiting for someone to come and read him a story?

Daily Five -- here we come!!  We have listening to books, read to self, browsing boxes all at the ready.  First day of school, here we come!

Daily Five -- here we come!! We have listening to books, read to self, browsing boxes all at the ready. First day of school, here we come!

Louise has done some super stuff too. She has a cozy nook that just begs readers to come inside and a special listener for stories too. But you won’t believe who’s listening to the K readers in her room! See for yourself.

I love these chairs.  All I'd need is a great book and a glass of iced tea.

I love these chairs. All I'd need is a great book and a glass of iced tea.

Did you ever think??  I would never have guessed!!  What a great listener for the readers in KW.  Its like escaping to the North Country for a mini vacation.

Did you ever think?? I would never have guessed!! What a great listener for the readers in KW. Its like escaping to the North Country for a mini vacation.

Trading Spaces: We are not alone.

I couldn’t resist that title — sorry.  The whole internet thing always has this slightly sci-fi feeling for me — very “we are not alone” with some spooky sounding John Williams music as the soundtrack. 

Moving right along —– Karen from Literate Lives dropped us a comment on our classroom design notes.  She noted that  Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee over at A Year of Reading are having a Trading Spaces session on the blog.  They’ve invited readers to post photos of classroom spaces after a re-do.  (Karen has some of her ideas and photos on Literate Lives too!!  Go see and remember:  the best teachers are not born, they’re made by the teacher next door!  In other words, it’s not “stealing” if you use one of her ideas — it just makes you a better teacher.  And she does have some ideas worth using!)  Check out the links below for some of the other folks that have added their ideas to the pool. 

Bill — also writes at Literate Lives — you gotta love his library PIT here

Katie D has some terrific photos — I’m personally on the hunt for the beanbag cubes she has — I’ll figure out how I’m dealing with the fire marshall later…..  Check out her classroom here

Now I know that many of you are doing some amazing things again this year (despite the challenges of the asbestos removal and other construction work this summer!)  And I really think that some of you should send in some of the ideas you use in your rooms…. I’ll even help you take the snapshots!!   We can set up a post her to link over to A Year of Reading and participate in this fun event.

More Classroom Design Stuff

Apparently the Debbie Diller book is hot, hot, hot.  We talked a little bit about it just before school ended, but it wasn’t quite out yet.  (I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive — I’ll let you know).  But for now, there is video feed on the Stenhouse website that you can watch.  She walks you through organization and room set up ideas.  The video is only about 3 minutes long — so its really just a teaser to get you to buy the book — but its fun for this time of the year when we’re all starting to dream and to make New Year’s resolutions (the kind that only teachers get to make!!)  See what you think of it — let me know.  Watch it here.

New Classroom Organizing Book

This looks like a must-read!! Especially for those of us who really got into the whole Trading Spaces: Classroom Edition last summer.

Debbie Diller is doing some amazing classsroom makeovers. She’s written a book about the process. Right now, one chapter is available online at Stenhouse. You can read for free. You can even download and save it for future reading. The only thing you can’t do is print it (that would be a copyright violation, now wouldn’t it?).

This is certainly a summer reading idea — sort of like reading a decorating magazine about classrooms (hmmm, wonder if that idea would sell?). It will definitely be in my bookbag this summer. If you don’t get to it yourself, you can stop in and visit and browse mine in the fall. But at least take advantage of the free preview from Stenhouse.

Debbie Diller has also got some terrific photos on her blog. You can see the before and after shots of some common areas of the classroom and how she organizes and thinks through making them more beautiful and more useable.

Don’t forget that Choice Literacy has some of the classroom makeovers from the Sisters as part of their archives.