Monday, August 11, 2014

Classroom Set-Up with a "Rest Area"

There's just something about stapling freshly laundered and ironed fabric onto a blank canvas of cork board.  I enjoy setting up my classroom because it symbolizes a fresh start, as mentioned in my last post.  Here are a few pictures of the music room so far.

The white sides read "What do you want to learn in music class this year?"  I want students to write responses on the boards (made of white paper) as a way for me to hear and respond to student voices, interests, and goals.  

 My favorite part of my room so far is the "Rest Area."  I've always had this chair and desk where students come when they need to get away, but it's never been a very therapeutic or helpful area, rather than being away from the class.  I added stuffed animals, a calming jar (tons of these are on Pinterest), a feelings chart, and--not pictured--some stress balls made of balloons and flour.

I plan to tell students to visit the rest area when they feel that they need to calm down or simply get away from the group.  I also added a board game timer to the table, so students can start the timer, write, draw, or respond to their emotions in other acceptable ways at the table, then rejoin the class when the timer's up.

I also added some foam squares where students can sit if they prefer.  I hope to add pillows eventually.  I'm thinking that I might spend some time in the Rest Area!  :)


  1. Thanks so much for your beautiful ideas! Can you tell me where you found the singing kids on your bulletin board? Also, where did you order your rug? How many kids can sit on there comfortably (a few of my classes are up to 32).


    1. Thank you for the sweet compliment, Carol. The singing kids...well, my mom found those for me and gave them to me. I think she found them at a teacher store. (I know that's incredibly vague.)

      The rug has 24 squares. I found it in one of our school's supply books (J. Green, maybe?). I do not have the luxury of having only 24 students in each class, though. I find that I can fit a class of 26 or so kindergarteners around the outside of the carpet comfortably. I have classes of 30 fourth graders. Those kids have to scoot back from the carpet a foot or so in order to ensure that all kids are in the circle.

      Even with big classes like yours of 32, the carpet is super handy and wonderful. It helps kids stay in a circle when playing games and moving, and I like to use it for assessment, too when identifying music symbols, pitches, and such.

      I hope you can get it! (The assessment argument really helped sell it for my principal, just fyi.) :)

  2. Great ideas. Thanks.