Thursday, August 19, 2010

Room Set- Up

Every year I am faced with the daunting challenge of setting up my room for the upcoming year. Why, I ask myself, is this so hard?

I have the same furniture, in the same room, as I have had for the last several years. So, why oh why is this such a hard task??

A couple of years ago, a colleague's daughter was in my room as I complained that I couldn't remember how the room was arranged the previous year. She came up with the genius idea to take pictures of the room so I could remember how it was set up. Have I ever followed this very clever bit of advice? No, not once.

Why do I have to set up my room every year? Because every summer each classroom is emptied of all the furniture so the floors can be stripped and waxed. So every fall, we have to set up the classrooms again.

Each year I have visions of how I want the room to look. I plan it out mentally in the shower for weeks. I get excited to finally be able to arrange the room to look like the vision that is in my head.

And, inevitably, a few things happen...

I forget to include a center (who needs an art center?)
I think the room is bigger than it is (why don't these two extra bookshelves fit?)
I forget where things are (I guess I shouldn't put the easel where it blocks the bathroom door)

So, I spend endless amounts of time moving around shelves and tables and rugs, and then getting on my knees to see what a three-year-old would see, then moving everything around again.

But, quite frankly, all of this is an exercise in futility. Because I don't know how this new group of kids is going to be. Will they spend lots of time enjoying my carefully designed library, or will it collect cobwebs from lack of use? Will they love all the room in the block center or will they take all the blocks to a quiet corner to build with? Will having a music center be just too loud to handle?

All questions which cannot be answered until my new students come into the classroom and begin to explore. I know it will take a few weeks for me to get a feel for this new group and to design my classroom in a way that will be best for them.

So, why do I spend all this time the week before school starts rearranging my room 600 times?

I need to take pictures this year...


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