Classroom Tour

I've been working all week to get my room ready for the first day of school on Monday. Check out the video tour above, or scroll down for pictures and descriptions.

The clip boards and dry erase calendar are on the right as you walk inside the door to my classroom. On the clipboards, I keep the school phone logs/room numbers, a tardy sign-in, sign-up sheets for events, etc. On the calendar, I write any important dates for the month including assignments and events for my class, and other things happening around the school.

The kids put their bags under this cute little shelf. Before having digital music on devices, this is where the folder cubbies lived. I usually tape off the floor with painter's tape, and kids have to put their bags behind the line, but I'm going to see if they can handle putting them in the right place without bright blue tape on the floor this year...we'll see how it goes.

The string lights are new. I added them for times when I want the overhead lights off, but I don't want the room completely dark (because I NEVER want the room completely dark when kids are in here!). I don't have overhead lights that are dimmable, so these in combination with my interactive projector should give us enough light when we're doing activities like Karaoke Friday.

...Also, they're just super cute.

This back wall isn't complete! On the first day of class, each student will get a note made out of white card stock to design and decorate. Then, they get to cut their note out, and put it where they want it to go on the wall. If you look reeeeeaaaallly closely, you can see the sample note I made right next to the treble clef.

After everyone sticks their notes to the wall, we should have over 200 different note designs. I can't wait to see how it's going to turn out!

I have 50 student chairs in my room. I don't currently have any classes that fill all of them, but I like having them all out to make it easier to move people around as I needed. I'm sure you've noticed the fifty million labels on the chairs by now. I put these on in alphabetical order for the first day so that everyone has a specific spot to go to, and to make attendance a little quicker the first day. By the end of the week, I will start voicing and moving everyone around into sections, so these labels are only temporary.

A three row formation has been my go-to for several years now. In my particular situation, three rows seems to provide enough volume around everyone that they feel comfortable singing out, while also still being able to listen fairly well.

I used to have platform risers, but I took those down. I enjoy being able to stack the chairs for movement activities, or using risers throughout the semester. Once in a blue moon, I'll arrange the chairs in a circle, or in two semi-arched rows for a different listening experience.

To be honest, sometimes this bulletin board never gets decorated. (I just run out of time, and then have other things to do.) But not this year! I want to use this board to post pictures from our chorus Instagram account as the year goes on. If I can remember, I might even take pictures of each class on the first day of school. 

Don't hold me to that, though.

The piano mural was painted two years ago. It's really helpful for teaching the relationship between whole and half steps, and is much fancier than the original piano I put over there that I made out of electrical tape and construction paper.

This probably seems really picky and specific, but I thought really carefully about moving my clock to this spot. In the past, it's been on the back wall where the staff is, which worked great for me because I could check it to gauge how much time I had left in class. But, the kids had to turn all the way around to see it, and that could be a little distracting. Here, I can see it, they can see it, and we can all be less obvious about checking it. 

Although, many of my students tell me they can't read an analog clock...but that's another story for another day!

Things to notice about this bookshelf:

  1.  The forest creature on the top of the bookshelf is a fox! He's also a wax warmer. A middle school chorus room gets lots of interesting smells, so I try to be proactive to make sure the overall smell is pleasant :)

  2. Pencil sharpener- Surprisingly doesn't get used much, since we are primarily paperless, but I only allow students to use it at the beginning or end of class. There's nothing worse than hearing ZRRRRRRRRRRRR! when you're in the middle of teaching something.

  3. Paper holder- I have three types of paper: notebook paper, staff paper, and computer paper. The notebook paper is for kids that forget their devices, so that they can still complete their bell work. Staff paper is available for composition projects (which I don't often do, but I have big plans this year). Computer paper is on the bottom for whatever else we need paper for.

  4. Pencil jars- ...Let's take a bet on how long before all of those go mysteriously missing.

  5. Scissors- I have those on the shelf for the project we're doing the first day of school. I'm not sure if they'll stay there all year, because I don't want anyone messing around with them.

THINGS NOT ON THE SHELF, BUT WILL BE:

  1. A bucket of tennis balls- I bought tennis balls for movement activities this year. Don't worry, I'll fill you in on the deets when we get there. 

  2. Folders with paper scores- This is a necessity to have as a back-up for kids who either don't have their device, or forgot to charge it the night before.

These two small bulletin boards are on either side of my dry-erase boards. I purposefully left off labels for each rhythm. Here's why:

  • I want the kids to know what they are without having to reference a bulletin board to remember names.

  • I'm lazy.

NOT PICUTRED, BUT HIGHLY IMPORTANT: solfege hand signs. I'm re-designing them, and I'll have them back up, soon!

You'll get a little more info about some of these things in the video at the top, but this picture includes:

  • My desk-(It's that little table at the front of the picture). I added this last year, because I felt really closed off sitting in my office to do everything. I keep my laptop there, which is hooked up to my interactive projector right behind it.

  • Clavinova- I have a digital piano in my room. It's great for class, because I can easily make recordings to use for rehearsal so the students  get used to watching me conduct.

  • Agenda- I put the EQ (Essential Question) and the agenda for the day up for each grade in the center of the board. Everyone knows what to expect, and the structure is always clear.

  • Fan- It's in the back, right in front of the bookshelf. My room can get humid, and with all of us in here moving around, it's nice to get some air circulation.

  • E-mail address- Since we are digital, students e-mail me a lot of things. It's just easier to have my e-mail address up on the wall so they can easily see what it is, and most importantly, how to spell it correctly. Shiflett gets misspelled A LOT!

I don't have any practice rooms, so I've been thinking about turning my office into one. Another laptop will go in between the printer and phone that can be used to make recordings or videos. It's also really great because half of the front wall is a window, so I can see everything going on in here if I send someone in.

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