Tips For Supersizing a Cramped Classroom

We’ve all had the problem at stages of our career. We’ve been allocated a classroom that is far too small to comfortably teach in. There is insufficient room for mat time and the children, especially the very restless ones, need more space to work in.

I came across a piece that attempts to make this problem far more manageable:

Even if your classroom is much cozier than you imagined, there are ways to stretch the boundaries. These “big” ideas will help.

There’s no question that a small classroom is a real challenge to arrange. When I walked into my kindergarten classroom for the first time, there was wall-to-wall furniture! I had half of a room and 27 children; there simply was not enough space to set up a proper kindergarten room. With a little ingenuity, however, I was able to orchestrate a workable classroom layout that met all my — and my students’ — needs. Similar strategies just may work for your small classroom:

  • Remove excess or over-sized furniture. Instead of a large piano, I brought in my small keyboard, which could be stored in a cabinet. Round and kidney-shaped tables were quickly adopted by other teachers who had more space. I kept only rectangular tables and a few desks in the room.
  • Store rarely used equipment out of the way. I arranged for media equipment, which I don’t use on a daily basis, to be stored elsewhere. I did keep one student desk, which I made into a permanent listening center by removing the legs so that it sat only six inches above the ground. The cassette player sat on top of the desk and the headphones were stored in the desk.
  • Consider carefully your furniture needs. Midway through the year, I decided my students did not need to have their own individual desks or table spots. Eliminating just one table from the classroom and placing the other tables around the perimeter of the room opened up a large center area for whole-group activities and provided space for centers, math manipulatives, reading, and writing.
  • Explore creative management techniques. Without the traditional seat-for-every-student arrangement, I struggled with how to engage the entire class productively. I finally hit upon splitting the class; half would work at the tables and half would work in centers. I alternated the groups, so that everyone could participate in both activities on the same day.

If you’ve had this problem before and employed some strategies for maximising space I’d love to hear about it.

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2 Responses to “Tips For Supersizing a Cramped Classroom”

  1. austinsamiam Says:

    My school district recently increased our student teacher ratios. As a result, the classroom are the same size with more furniture and more students. I like your suggestions for making things work. Keep posting.

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