It is important that you organise your classroom to maximise the opportunities for learning. You need to think carefully about how to arrange the tables so that they can be used for individual, paired, group and whole class work. It is also vital to ensure that any resources are clearly labelled to promote independent learning. The class need to be able to easily access materials that they might require when completing tasks.
You can also set up different learning zones in the classroom so that you separate written activities from more messy activities such as art and design and technology. A well organised classroom will create a peaceful and productive learning environment to support the children’s learning. Use displays on the classroom walls to provide further support by displaying vocabulary and information related to classroom topics. Bring your classroom alive by displaying examples of the children’s work and models. Remember the classroom needs to evolve and change throughout the school year so don’t be afraid of making adjustments to the organisation to match the changing needs of your class.
You need to carefully arrange the tables in your classroom to support the children’s learning by providing opportunities for different types of work. It is advisable to avoid sitting the children in rows as this will weaken their abilities in sharing and co-operating with their classmates. It is also a good idea to make sure that each child can view the board and the front of the classroom when sat at their desks. You can arrange the tables into horseshoe shapes to make sure that everyone can see the board whilst still allowing the children to discuss and work with other pupils in their table group. However, the most useful table arrangement is a bank of tables arranged in rectangle groups. You need to train the class to turn their chairs when needed so that they can view what is happening at the front o the classroom. If you build banks of two and, three and four tables then you can build learning activities for different group sizes. Don’t forget to have a single table somewhere in the classroom where you can separate any children who need some time by themselves to reflect on their behaviour and work attitude.
It is important that all of the trays of resources are correctly labelled to make it easier for the children to access materials needed to support their learning. You can group trays of resources for different subjects so that you can have a bank of materials suitable for numeracy, literacy and topic activities. Select some children to be in charge of making sure that the trays are topped up with the required resources. At the start of the school year, you can send the children on a scavenger hunt to help them locate different resources in the classroom. If you are worried about lots of movement during a particular lesson then you can leave some trays out on the children’s tables containing materials needed for a specific lesson. However, we would recommend allowing the children to select their own lesson materials to promote independent learning whilst monitoring to ensure that certain children are not using the opportunity to have a chat with their friends as they wander around the classroom looking for something.
Select some areas of the classroom to promote different subject areas and activities. Set up a reading corner in the classroom with a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books. Add some cushions and stools to the book corner to make some cosy reading nooks. Select some children to be in charge of keeping the book corner tidy and choose books for the shelves. You can also have a messy area in the classroom where children can complete artwork and model making without disrupting the rest of the classroom. It is also a good idea to have a central area in the classroom where the children can sit together in a group when working as a whole class. You can reward some children by allowing them to sit on chairs at the back of the group whilst the remainder of the class sit on the floor. Grouping the class together can help the children focus more closely on a particular lesson rather than having the class sat at the tables.
You can use the display boards in the classroom to support the children’s learning. At the start of term, you can display some pictures and vocabulary about the forthcoming class topics but these can be replaced with the children’s own work over the course of the term. Select different display boards to host materials from Maths, English and topic work. Use one board for a working wall where you can add materials related to the current classroom and attach work and pictures as the class learn more about a specific topic. Some of the displays can be interactive by displaying examples of vocabulary that the children could use in their own work. You could even display examples of maths calculations that the class can use use when practising a specific method. Select some children to be in charge of making sure that any display boards are tidy and well presented.
It is important that the children understand that the classroom is their working and learning space and that they are responsible for its upkeep and maintenance. At the start of the school year, you can establish good classroom routines in consolidation with the children about how to perform different activities in the classroom such as using the book corner, lining up to exit the classroom etc. Allow the class to suggest ideas for routines so that they can take ownership of the classroom. You can also select some monitors each term to be in charge of maintaining and tidying different areas in the classroom. The children also need to be trained how to tidy the classroom at the end of an activity. You can play a piece of music to signal to the class that they need to tidy up before going out to play or home. Gradually, shorten the piece of music over the course of the school year as the class get used to the tidying routine.