Exciting lesson ideas, classroom strategies, book lists, videos, and reproducibles in a daily blog by teachers


I live in New York

I teach third grade

I am an almost-digital-native and Ms. Frizzle wannabe


I live in New Jersey

I teach sixth grade literacy

I am passionate about my students becoming lifelong readers and writers


I live in New York

I teach K-5

I am a proud supporter of American public education and a tech integrationist


I live in Michigan

I teach second grade

I am a Tweet loving, technology integrating, mom of two with a passion for classroom design!


I live in Nevada

I teach PreK-K

I am a loving, enthusiastic teacher whose goal is to make learning exciting for every child


I live in Michigan

I teach third grade

I am seriously addicted to all things technology in my teaching


I live in California

I teach second and third grades

I am an eager educator, on the hunt to find the brilliance in all


I live in North Carolina

I teach kindergarten

I am a kindergarten teacher who takes creating a fun, engaging classroom seriously


I live in Illinois

I teach fourth grade

I am a theme-weaving, bargain-hunting, creative public educator

Setting Up With Students in Mind

By Kriscia Cabral on August 29, 2013
  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

One goal I made at the end of the school year was to reconfigure my classroom. I wanted every area of space to serve a purpose. My classroom was missing fluidity and range. Over the summer I researched and devised a plan. Here is a tour of the finished product along with highlights to my reasoning. My focus is more on the idea of what can be done to better meet the needs of all students.

Away with Permanent Seating

My team and I are working towards more individualized instruction for our students. While I want my students to feel a sense of ownership in our classroom, I do not want them to feel as though they must hoard and guard their seating area. This year we have created places for students to sit, but no permanent desk space. There are desks throughout the classroom, but they are all facing in. I want my students to come in every day and find a place to sit. This allows for movement throughout the room and the opportunity to get to know each other better. Students have the flexibility to move to a new seat when needed.

Teachable Space for Students

I’ve had a whiteboard in my room since I inherited the space seven years ago. The problem has always been its location. It was at a teacher’s level in an area also occupied by many student desks. Oftentimes, the kiddos who were sitting on the same side as the board had to crane their necks in order to see what was on it.

In many of the learning modules we use with our students, their final step is to teach someone what they have learned. Before moving the large whiteboard, students shared small student whiteboards, which they had to crowd around. They would also use the main whiteboard. This worked, but oftentimes space was limited due to mini-lessons and small group teaching I was doing at the front of the room.

After pleading and a little bribe of homemade chocolate chip cookies, my teammate's husband graciously came in and made the tedious move. Not only did I get the board lowered, I moved it to the opposite side of my classroom. I now have a nook of empty space that is begging for the company of 4th and 5th graders.

The board looks great and serves its purpose. Students have free range to use it when needed. They have complete access from top to bottom with supplies and manipulative at their level. This was by far one of the best revamp ideas for my classroom.

Tools Within Their Reach

I enjoy watching my students problem solve. How wonderful it is to see that spark in their eyes when they have worked out their own solutions! For this reason, and for my sanity (having 35 kids ask me where things are every day would drive me over the edge), I created a place to store the classroom essentials.

On one side of my room sits a long shelf created to house computers. The shelf covers ¾ of the length of my classroom. I love this area because underneath it there is a long and open space large enough for students to access. Originally, used this space to store my classroom center items and used the shelf above for subject materials. Because these centers will now be located in our community room, I now get to use the space for other purposes.

This really worked out in my favor because of the "no permanent" seating arrangement. The drawers act as lockers where students store their tools and supplies. Students have access to portable desks, which they use often for small group instruction and sitting around the classroom. Our classes do a lot of switching throughout the day and the portable desks are key to quick and easy accessible seating.

Another great tool students love are the privacy boards. I made these by cutting science fair project boards in half. These are great for independent work days when kids do not want to be disturbed. This area also houses clipboards, extra art supplies, and reading phones.

Having tools within their reach is a great way to teach students independence and problem solving. If students are aware of the expectation (we go over this often), they use the tools appropriately. It is important to note that these are all things that kids can get and put back on their own without the help of the teacher. This is one way to help students feel as though they are at the center of their learning.

Lexiled Library

My classroom library has gone through a revamping stage every single year that I’ve been a teacher. How do I set up the books? Do I go by genre? Do I go by author? Should I let the kids do it? I’ve tried them all. This year, using the Book Wizard tool I’ve decided to put the majority of my books together based on their lexile. I’ve started from a low to a high and put a sticker on each book to identify what the level is.

One thing I added to the library this year is a large amount of nonfiction and historical fiction books. Besides correlating with Common Core, I want my students to comprehend the difference. We will also be creating book reviews connected with Augmented Reality and QR codes. This is a project that I will share about in a later post.

Again, my library is at the level of my students. The books are both easy to get to and easy to put back. The check-in and check-out procedure is all done on a Google form that I have a parent volunteer check weekly.

Creating a library space where students have full access and understand the layout is essential to their ability to apply what they know.


The last wall I’d like to share with you is my “Weekly Wall.” This wall is where students go to work on activities that are assigned on a weekly basis (Weekly Grammar, Problem of the Week, and Paragraph of the Week). A large portion of work that my students do is at the independent level. The beginning of the year is spent scaffolding and going over procedure, but by October we are getting into the swing of how our classroom works. Last year I posted all three weekly activities on my back wall. It was an area in my classroom with a lot of wall space. The problem with this was there was too much information in one space. Students were scrunched together at the back of the room and there was lots of chatter. It didn’t work as planned.

This year I have made the attempt to spread the weekly activities throughout the classroom. One wall houses each weekly. This gives students the opportunity to move around the room. It also gives students choice. If a student sees more than five kids at one wall, they know they need to choose another wall to work on.

Community Center

Our Community (Common) Room has been the “Flip this House” of the summer. My team and I researched ways to create spaces that were geared toward student learning and success. One area we knew was lacking vision was our Common Room.

The Common Room is shared among four teachers within it and two on the outside of it. It is a great area of space for many reasons: students can use it for group work, parents have ample space for volunteering, and teachers can join classes together and team-teach lessons. We have used this common space for all of these things, but never had much organization to it. The walls were decorated but not with anything specific. There were areas for students to work, but nothing designated or purposeful. Parents had space for volunteering but their location changed often.

Our goal this summer was to revamp this space and we did it! We started by taking out everything that was inside since we all used it as a storage center. We cleaned out every cabinet, drawer, corner, and shelf. We then created a blueprint for what we wanted to use the space for. We wanted a place where students could dig deeper into their learning. We wanted a place where they could access manipulatives and other hands-on learning devices to find a better understanding in any subject they needed to approach.

We divided the Common Room into centers. Each of us took on the challenge to bring our assigned center to life. In the end, the Common Room now has a Science, Math, Reading, Writing, Art, Media, and Volunteer center housed inside of it. Every corner has been created with student learning in mind.

These are just a few of the ways I took my classroom space and made it more student-friendly. “How does this help the students in my classroom learn?” is the question I often ask myself before making any decisions on my classroom setup. When the kids are physically in the arrangement, I re-evaluate what I have done. I ask the same question and decide if I should keep it the same or try something else. As with lessons and classroom instruction, you adjust to the needs of your students. The important thing to always keep in mind is only make changes if that change will serve a purpose.

What are your tips for classroom set-up? How do you create a space that is student friendly? Please comment and share.





Comments (425)

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own BlogEngine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.
hotels in old san juan near the cruise port

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
green holiday

this is really nice page for getting all information about academics

free xbox live gold

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this articl. vivie sin ansiedad descargar gratis

Took personal time to peruse all the remarks, yet I truly reveled in the article. It turned out to be Very useful to me veneer

Should there be another persuasive post you can share next time, I’ll be surely waiting for it.
Madagascar trekking

So luck to come across your excellent blog. Your blog brings me a great deal of fun.. Good luck with the site.

Amazing knowledge and I like to share this kind of information with my friends and hope they like it they why I do. Forex Trading Strategy

I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. buy website traffic

Find out that organization travel is just not without their risk plus the potential pertaining to crisis, then you'll want to read this information. http://www.claif2013.com/seduccion-elite-mi-opinion-de-este-programa/

Such a very useful article. Very interesting to read this article.I would like to thank you for the efforts you had made for writing this awesome article.
american warranty
home warranty america

this is really nice to read..informative post is very good to read..thanks a lot!
How To Get More Free Buy Twitter Followers

If only all bloggers offered the same level of content as you, the internet would be a much better place. Please keep it up! get the facts

My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more!
Minuman Berenergi Aman tidak Berbahaya

It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commentators here!
loft conversions london

Even if you haven’t started it yet and you want the process to go as smoothly as possible, this book is perfect for you.http://eubookshop.com/carol-clines-start-potty-training-review/

Interesting post. I Have Been wondering about this issue, so thanks for posting. Pretty cool post.It 's really very nice and Useful post.Thanks
Prawo http://dpmkancelaria.pl

Great things you’ve always shared with us. Just keep writing this kind of posts.The time which was wasted in traveling for tuition now it can be used for studies.Thanks
Loft conversions Wandsworth

I’ve been searching for some decent stuff on the subject and haven't had any luck up until this point, You just got a new biggest fan!..
samsung fridge repairs london

On the other hand, with the many fun along with excitement, organizing the right family take a trip plan is often a huge risk and also a big accountability. www.claif2013.com/revertir-la-diabetes-funciona-mira-esto/

This is a great post. I like this topic.This site has lots of advantage.I found many interesting things from this site. It helps me in many ways.Thanks for posting this again.
insurance commercials

Appreciate the kind of topics you post here. Thanks for sharing us a great information that is actually helpful..
Elma Mini-Storage

Yes, great US Military force. Also, in his post you have given a chance to listen about US Military. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing it.
Minuman Berenergi Aman tidak Berbahaya

I think that thanks for the valuabe information and insights you have so provided here.
loft conversions

Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer!..
Hindi Sms

The classroom seems ver nice. thank you for all your efforts. Please keep sharing such type of info with us in the future.. bir sevgili bul

the classroom seems very nice. thank you for all your efforts.
bir arkadas bul

Great article Lot's of information to Read...Great Man Keep Posting and update to People..Thanks employment news

Our services are top notch, and quality of materials used for packing is excellent. packers and movers hadapsar pune

Interesting and amazing how your post is! It Is Useful and helpful for me That I like it very much, and I am looking forward to Hearing from your next..
loft extenions london

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.
www.immortalart salon tatuażu

This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post!

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.
loft conversions north London

They make sure that your goods are loaded on the vehicle with utmost safety. This process is very important, and we make it sure that the goods reach their destination without any damage. Our Loading Staff are technically trained to handle delicate goods with care.packers and movers hadapsar pune

24 optionI definitely really liked every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to look at new information in your site.

Wonderful illustrated information. I thank you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject! furniture hire

Unlike additional blogs I have read which are really not tht good.
Loft conversions Fulham

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

Moscato Wine

This truly is such a kosher inquire too we've been indeed very awestruck employing this website attendant for that ponder, acknowledges regarding talking about the skill This really is merely the dexterity I mind be exploring in many scenes.
silver bullion coins

That is the excellent mindset, nonetheless is just not help to make every sence whatsoever preaching about that mather.penghilang bulu

Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching for such kinda informative post and your post looks very interesting for me.
dalaman transfer

A plucky Polish puppy has become a Web star after he was filmed spectacularly failing to move an ornery cat out of his bed.Cat Bed

I came onto your blog while focusing just slightly submits. Nice strategy for next, I will be bookmarking at once seize your complete rises
marmaris airport transfer

Great job for publishing such a beneficial web site. Your web log isn’t only useful but it is additionally really creative too. There tend to be not many people who can certainly write not so simple posts that artistically. Continue the nice writing

Thanks for writing such a good article, I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing...
corsi di massaggio

Hi there, I found your blog via Google while searching for such kinda informative post and your post looks very interesting for me.
Film recommendation

I really thank you for the valuable info on this great subject and look forward to more great posts. Thanks a lot for enjoying this beauty article with me. I am appreciating it very much! Looking forward to another great article. Good luck to the author! All the best!
loftplan liquidation

This was really an interesting topic and I kinda agree with what you have mentioned here!
freestanding baths

Should there be another persuasive post you can share next time, I’ll be surely waiting for it.
instagram followers hack free blogspot

Thank you for sharing such great information with us. I really appreciate everything that you’ve done here and am glad to know that you really care about the world that we live in voyance pas cher

Post a Comment
(Please sign in to leave a comment. Privacy Policy)
Back to Top