Monday, July 7, 2014

Small Room Solutions...

When I moved to my new school I moved into a smaller room but with a much larger closet. It wasn't too big of an adjustment but it always just felt "tight."

Next year, I will be moving into an even smaller room. Like, WAY smaller. With a teeny tiny closet. I know I will have to do a lot of problem solving to figure out how I can get all the things I want into this little room.

Bye bye old room :(

Before school ended, I took a few pictures of what will soon be my new room. The previous teacher's things are still in the room in these photos. I thought I took a from-the-door shot so you could get an idea of the general size but apparently that was too depressing I forgot.

So my plan here is to compare areas of my old and new rooms and hopefully in the process, work out what I will need to consider as I make plans about furniture placement, storage, etc. Where to start? How about storage...
The old room had one small built-in bookcase. Kinda stupid actually. Really annoying that I couldn't move it somewhere else, shelves not adjustable, and too small.

The new room has one built-in shelf as well. It is much bigger though and I like that it is tucked away behind the closet door. But look at all those text books! I loathe text books. I'm thinking of using this shelf to house all my guided reading materials and then putting a small round table here for reading groups. A horse-shoe or kidney table is out of the question. Just too big.

Let's move on to cubbies. In my old room I had 27 cubbies. But 4 of them were hidden behind the door and another 3 were too close to the floor. What was great about these cubbies was all that wonderful built-in shelving above! That's where I stored all my read-aloud books separated by theme, text books, binders, etc.

Here you can kinda see the 3 cubbies that were too low for my taste. It wasn't really a problem since my book baskets fit 2 to a cubby just fine.

Here is the cubby situation in the new room. Notice anything missing? How about all those beautiful shelves!? And in their place, I will get a bulletin board that is impossible to reach. Gee thanks. Who designs these rooms anyway? On the plus side, I'll have 30 cubbies, all usable. Which is good because I'm thinking of putting textbooks in the cubbies with the book baskets. I'd like this bulletin board to be a place to display student work but it's not easy to get to. So it will have to be something I won't need to change very often.

Here's some more storage comparisons....
Old room...

New room...
Now, it may look like more at first glance. But don't forget that I'm loosing all the space above the cubbies as well. See how the shelving in this picture is divided into 4 sections? In my old room I had 8 sections just like these. So my shelving is cut in half. I guess a little less than half if you take the taller bookcase into account. Which I don't.

OK. Let's move on to technology. In my old room, I had this nice little computer nook. Every classroom in the building has a built-in desk like this. In fact, every elementary classroom I've seen in the COUNTY has a built-in desk like this.

...Except mine (and the 4 other rooms in the new addition to the building). The teacher who was using this room decided that this was the best solution. She didn't have room for another table and there was no designated area with extra plugs or seating, so she keeps her laptops on top of her classroom library shelves.

This. would. drive. me. nuts.
Chairs blocking the books, feet in my book baskets.

Oh, the HORROR.

No offense to this lovely teacher who will be one of my new teammates. This worked for her, and I won't really understand what sacrifices I will have to make until I get into my room in late August. Who knows, maybe I will have to keep the laptops on the windowsill....
I'm pretty sure that's a fire hazard though.


I love my teacher area. Not too big, not too small, Desk not too crowded with wires and computer parts. All the cables and cords reach. The shortness of cables always seems to be a problem for me.

Here is my new teammate after a long day of administering state tests. Humoring me while I wallow in self-room pity. I'm such a brat. Anyway, her computer is on a small rolling cart (which I kinda like) and the desk is set up in an L shape with the cart.

I've already decided that I do not want a teacher desk next year. The rolling cart, one of my daddy's bookcases, and my little filing cabinet should be enough for me.


Here is the area I used for small reading groups and math groups last year. Pretty straight forward.

The current teacher in my new room uses this small rectangular table with bucket seats in one corner of the room. I'm thinking this might be where I put the computers next year and the small group area will be near the tall bookcase.


Love my old library. Since my daddy made these shelves they will definitely be moving to the new room. I have 4 of these shelves. One is back by my teacher desk.

Since I already showed you where this teacher had her library (underneath the laptops) then I will show you the area in the room where I think the library will be. I generally like the library to be at the front of the classroom and spread out in a line like above rather than in a "nook" shape. The reason being it gets crowded really fast. This way kids aren't pushing and shoving each other to find a book.

Since I've already decided that this is also where I want to put my small group table I may split the library and put some shelves on the other side of the promethean board.

...but then that will get crammed into the computer space. Ugh. I just don't know yet.


Old room...
Apparently I didn't take a picture of my closet for my room reveal. This was taken before I moved in. Look at all that glorious, glorious, space!

New room...
Poof! Magical shrinking closet trick.

I get one shelf now. The janitor is going to see if he can find an extra shelf somewhere in the building to put on the opposite side. But it may not fit. There has to be so much space between the shelving and the electrical box blah blah blah.


 There really wasn't a good way to get a shot of her seating arrangement. The room is so narrow it is difficult to photograph large areas. I'm definitely planning on switching to tables and getting rid of those desks.

So that's what I will be working with for the 2014-2015 school year. I would love to be visited by some magical "room fairy who could attack all these challenges for me and help me make my room beautiful.

Any pointers from fellow small room teachers? My extensive research on this issue (searching "small classroom solutions" on Pinterest) just turns up SMALL rooms. Like private schools and resource teachers who have small rooms because they have a small number of students. So that's not very helpful. I still need to find a way to accommodate 25-30 kiddos here.

There has to be some reality TV show about this right? A contest I can enter? Anything?

This brat is signing off. But before I go, let me leave you with these lovely images of Georgia snapped today (I couldn't choose just one!) :)

And since I have hardly even begun tacking my new room challenge I'm linking up with Just a Primary Girl in the hopes of getting some ideas to help me with this space!


  1. Yow! But getting rid of the teacher desk is a good idea. We'll have to put some learning spaces magic on this...
    The Meek Moose

  2. Well, I think the room has a lot of potential! But then, I teach in a one hundred year old building with no air & two insufficient windows, no cubbies, no closet, and lots of other not so perfect things ha. And yet, we still get the job done. It'll be ok, and remember, it's all about your perspective! I think you'll do great things. ��

  3. I really like your small group area and your rainbow chevron rug!
    Becky (Kinder Korner)