Video segment about me, by the school district

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Peek at my Room

Kristin (aka Little Miss Glamour) is hosting a terrific Classroom Setup Linky Party, and I thought it would be a terrific opportunity for me to answer people's questions about how I find things in my classroom as a blind teacher.

First of all, I think it's really important that the children know where everything is, and that they can easily take things out and put them away.  For example, I have purchased boxed items from teacher stores that are impossible, even for an adult, to fit back into the box.  It's very frustrating for the students, and annoying as an adult to have to spend ten minutes trying to fit pieces perfect back into a wooden box to slide the lid closed.  What I do now is just take the materials out of the store-bought box, and put them in a plastic bin that is also color-coordinated to go in a particular center.

Math Center with Green Bins
ABC Center with Red Bins
I just started color-coordinating my centers this year.  It has really helped with having the students put bins back in the right place.  I also made the signs for each center with the corresponding color, so that if the child did get confused they could just look up at the sign and match the color to the bin.

I don't have pictures of my classroom 20 years ago, but I was not as organized then as I was today.  I do remember that back then I had a dramatic play center that the kids really loved.  With Common Core, it doesn't seem like there's room anymore for dramatic play, and that makes me a little sad.

This is my writing center, and it's a thousand times better than it was 20 years ago!

Writing Center

I hope I don't make enemies here, but I took the crayons and colored pencils out of the writing center because they have them in their chair pockets anyway.  What I did that works really well for me is to put white boards with dry erase markers in writing center, as well as Magnadoodles, electronic writing toys, chalk, and chalk boards.  I did this because every year I found that if I had too many utensils in writing center they would end up on the floor, in the wrong bins, and just making a total mess.  So, I told my children that if they want to write with their colored pencils or crayons, they can do it at their seats, and if they want to write with chalk or dry erase markers they go to the writing center.  This worked SO much better for me.  I added  some electronic writing toys this year, and my kids would go ballistic when it was their turn for writing center, which was a dramatic turnaround from previous years when they weren't so enthusiastic about it.

Since I touched on children writing at their seats, another thing I found that really works for me is having chair pockets so that the students can just pull out their scissors, crayons, ABC folders, etc.

Table with Chair Pockets
I wish I could have made these chair pockets myself, but I am not talented at sewing or making crafty items. But I do think it would be a great business for some adventurous teacher.  These chair pockets cost a fortune when you buy them from teacher stores.

I have done library center in so many different ways in the past, including a swimming pool, a tree house, and a tent, but the one that I love the most is what I had this year, which is just making the library center look like a miniature version of their living room at home, complete with plush chairs, coffee table, etc.  Now my children flock to the library center as much as they would pick science center.

Library Center
I think I like it the best because instead of all the bells and whistles, the focus is more on sitting down with a beautiful book and being comfortable.  I just wish that I could also offer my kids tea and cookies.  :)  The children's "laptops" I just purchased from Target, and they are really sweet additions because the children play games that are differentiated already for them.  If they need help with letters, they play a letter game.  If they need help with rhyming, then they play that game.  When I buy toys for my students, I really try to think "Can I use this item immediately without much bother or fuss?"  To me, that's what makes a truly great investment, when I don't have to do anything else to the product.

I'm so glad that I found Kristin's linky party today.  If you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Your classroom looks beautiful! I love the color coded arrangement. :)

  2. Very organized. Love the reading/library center.

  3. Thanks, ladies, for your sweet comments. Sometimes I worry that, being blind, my room doesn't measure up to other sighted teachers.

  4. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog! I love your classroom! I always try to be super organized. I especially like your writing table! I'm your newest follower too!

    Teaching with Grace

    1. Thanks Jennifer. Accolades from other teachers are so special to me.

  5. I loved being able to take a peek into your classroom and see how you have it organized!
    Conversations in Literacy

    1. Lori, I really appreciate your comment, and thank you so much for following me!

  6. Love your room AND your blog!!! Thanks for finding my blog. It lead me to yours, which is amazing. :) Also, I fixed the link to my freebie. Thank you for letting me know!
    Preschool Wonders

    1. Lola, thank you so much! I'll come back and grab that freebie. It was just what I need for teaching summer school. Take care!