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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Renovating the Room for Tests and STEAM

If you read my blog, you know that I've been working on creating a good STEAM schedule and lab for quite some time. It hasn't been easy knowing exactly how to organize the materials and create a creative exploration and investigation space in the classroom.  Right now if you visit my classroom you'll notice a divide of three sections including a traditional desk and chairs listening/working area, a comfy, cozy area, and a supply/project/building STEAM area.

The challenge is that the STEAM area always looks messy since space is limited and numerous projects and project supplies are strewn throughout the area.

Even though I really don't want to go in during vacation, I'm going to make the time to go in and revise the classroom space again with the following actions.

STEAM Space
We're getting ready for the Rube Goldberg Marble Maze activity. So I need to organize all the supplies in ways that make sense. I'll clear all the shelves in that area and move the more traditional academic supplies and books to the other side of the room. I'll go through each STEAM supply draw and closet organizing materials with the following titles:
  • Adhesives: tape, staplers, brass fasteners, glue, duct tape, clay, paper mache material. . . .
  • Building Materials: cardboard, tubes, blocks, boxes, legos, K'nex, wood, old toys/appliances.
  • Decorative Materials: paint, feathers, shiny beads, markers. . .
  • Tools: scissors, hammers (nails), screwdrivers (screws). . .
  • Storage Shelves
  • Tables
Traditional Learning Space
With upcoming tests and needed time for explicit teaching, meeting and organization, this area is important.
  • Desks and chairs arranged in order that fits current focus.
  • White board.
  • Supply table in front of room with boxes for homework, extra paper, assignments, and sign-in.
  • Storage/Materials closet and carts at side of room for easy access.
  • Pencil sharpener, pencils, erasers at side of room.
Cozy Corner
A place to relax, learn, and play with friends.
  • Rugs
  • Cozy chairs, cushions
  • Computer Cart
  • Book Shelves
  • Games
As I create this new set-up, I'm thinking that there's lots of materials I don't use in the classroom, yet if my grade switches again, I may need those materials next year so I'll have to put many materials away for now.

It will be worth a day to go in and remake the room again--a renovation that will set the stage for standardized tests, STEAM exploration/investigation, reading, games, creativity, and more. 

It's better to do this during the cold days of winter than the hot, sticky days of summer. Onward.