Alexandra Brady

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This post is part of our summer 2020 series showcasing unique classrooms. Be sure to check out all our teachers who have been selected to see what they’ve done in their rooms.

Describe your classroom set up:

In my physical classroom, I have two Long tables consisting of 12 to 13 desks. At the long table, students are broken up into smaller groups of 4-5 students. Each student has a letter which corresponds to the job that they have in their group for that day. Some jobs include: rubric monitor, work recorder, fact checker, and vocab checker.

On the walls you’ll see a word wall, concept board, shout out wall and a class charter. You’ll also see student work and the rubric my school follows for student work. There is a kidney table for small group work and conferences and a centers area with games and activities organized by standard domain.

There is an early finisher folder on the wall that contains math challenges for students to complete. Table rallies are posted on the board by class and table. Tickets are all over for students to earn for various reasons.

Why did you choose this particular layout?

I like the community feel of it. Students can ask other tables if their table is struggling. I also like teaching my model with students in the middle of the room on the floor. I call it the “meeting area” and it has really eliminated distractions when I’m teaching!

What is your favorite part of your design?

My favorite part is the accessibility to manipulatives (In the middle of the room) and the community feel. Students have each other to work with and learn together.

Did anything surprise you about how your students reacted to your classroom (behavior, enjoyment, etc.)?

They worked really well together and understood expectations which was nice. I like having them learn at the meeting area when it’s time for the model because they can engage more with me and have an assigned partner to talk to when it is time.

What is the biggest piece of design advice you can provide for someone who is just starting to think “outside of the box” in terms of classroom design?

Definitely give students the change to collaborate if you can! Also kids are never too old for a meeting area in the middle of the room. My suggestion is to get as many cushions as you can!

Alexandra Brady is a grade 4/5 math teacher in New York. You can follow her on Instagram @techaboutmath.

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