I love this simple classroom. It is bright, it is cheery, and it is organized. I found this picture on a quick google search, but I really think it hits the nail on the head for this post.
There are a million amazing ideas for classrooms- especially on Pinterest. With endless creativity, endless funds, and endless time, you can make an awe-inspiring room for you to enjoy. However, no matter how magical and matched your classroom might be, your students do not require an over-the-top room in order to be successful.
They do require a clear & clean room.
They do require an organized room.
They do require a space in which they know where items belong.
They do require a room that they can focus on the point of instruction without distraction from cuteness overload.
They require a spot to call their own.
Keep reading to find out a little bit more about keeping a simple classroom.
They do require a clear & clean room: I love to use bins; bins for everything! Ideally, I keep one task or one activity in each bin. This allows students to easily grab a desired or assigned task without rummaging through a million items. Grab the bin and sit back down :) I use bins for books- not 25 books, just a few books in each bin. The books are clumped on levels and topics. I keep it clear and simple. In terms of cleaning, bins make it easy to have students return everything on their own and for me to check and ensure everything is accounted for.
They do require an organized room: Everything has its spot. I do not have a lot of items on display, but everything is stored in a consistent spot. By keeping items and returning items to a consistent spot, all myself students learn where different items belong. I keep a small table for pencils, paper, daily journals and a bin for communication bags. Nothing else goes on this table. It is small, easy to navigate for all, and unobtrusive. Nothing is colour coded, I use what I have, but I keep items in bins, in consistent spots, and clutter free.
They do require a space in which they know where items belong: Like with the previous point, keeping items in consistent spots allows easy access for every student. Some of our kiddos require more support with routines and organization, keeping things in their directed location allows students to easily and independently grab necessary items.
They do require a room that they can focus on the point of instruction without distraction from cuteness overload: I keep instructional areas clear of posters, charts, cute magnets, and anything else. One side of the board has a class schedule, I have a few magnetic counters along the top, and nothing else along the board or the wall. I want to ensure all students can easily see any messages or materials written or placed on the board. Obviously not all lessons are taught from the front for the class, so any area or materials I use for lessons are clear of distractions. Some kiddos can easily navigate stimulus, but not everyone. I believe in simplicity and building in routines and resources that can support all- keeping items stimulus free (or with minimal stimulus) allows access for more kiddos.
They require a spot to call their own: Kiddos need to know the classroom is their space- let the class grow as the year progresses. Keep kiddos at the centre of your classroom. Make decisions about set-up, materials/furniture placement, and routines thinking like a student. Doing this simple practice will help you keep simplicity at the centre.