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More classroom setup

Setting up an intermediate classroom for the first time?  Or maybe just looking for some new ideas?  This is the post for you.

Word Wall

Word Wall in an intermediate classroom
Front view of the room before school started.
First up, is my word wall.  I didn't have one last year.  I didn't really think you needed one in grade 4.  Then I saw this joke....

 This made me think maybe sending them to a dictionary wasn't the best idea.  

That board above the white boards never really seems to get a lot of use.  Last year, I had my alphabet above it, and my number line on the board.  The number line was too high up and wasn't really functional.  So now, I brought it down low where it can be used as a giant manipulative.  
I wanted my word wall to be functional, but also, it had to look pretty if it was going to become a part of my class.  I decided (in a moment of insanity) to purchase 26 shades of fabric in rainbow colours.  A local fabric store gave me great deals once I said I was a teacher.  Thank you Sew it Yourself Shop!  I cut them and sewed them into a giant 16 foot panel.   It took forever, but it won't fade as fast as paper and I hope I can use it for several years.  I started the year with some words my last year's class ALWAYS spelled incorrectly, and we will be adding to it as the year progresses.

Class Library, VOICES and Positive Notes

This is a view of my back set of boards.  

Back wall boards, class library, and games.
I kept my cursive alphabet up above here.  In grade 4, you do learn how to handwrite.  I haven't started teaching this yet, but will be soon.   The long yellow portion was used to display "About Me" crests all year long last year.  The "Positive Notes" board now displays lots of thoughtful notes from me to students, students to me, and best of all students to other students.  The blanks live in the blue bins you see on the ledge just below.  The could write a "bucket slip", "I noticed" or "thank you".  The kids really like it when they receive one, and I love it that they are noticing the positive things we do for each other.
I am using the large blue board for a writing VOICES board.  This is 6 Traits inspired.  It now also has pieces that say "Voice", "Organization", "Ideas" etc.  We are starting with ideas so some more pieces have been added related to that as well.  My hope with this board is that it can become a giant self-assessment tool.  Students can refer to it to see if their writing fits the criteria that will grow throughout the year.
Lastly in that photo is my class library - organized and labeled of course and games for inside days.

Brain Breaks

New brain breaks idea.  Thanks 3rd Grade Thoughts!
One more thing I wanted to share is my brain breaks jar.  This is not my idea.  See the photo caption for a link to the designer, 3rd Grade Thoughts.  Last year, we had a series of favourite brain breaks on a chart paper, but it took up so much room.  This year, we have used this a handful of times and the kids are loving it.  I have let good listeners pick out a stick and everyone wants to have that responsibility!  They are eager to know which ones get pulled and love watching the reactions of the "pullers" to see if they got something fun like penguin waddle, or something more strenuous such as push ups. 

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