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Pictures of My Dragon Den (Classroom)

© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
panoramic view of classroom
© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
Creating an attractive and functional learning environment was my top priority, when I moved from my large primary classroom to a much smaller resource room. I wanted a warm and inviting classroom atmosphere that was conducive for reading, learning, and sharing ideas.

© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
Note: Click the below images to view them full size.

Room divider display My office space Magnetic chalkboard holding pocketcharts
As you walk through the doorway, this room divider is the first thing you see.
© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
Behind the room divider is my office space. It has my teacher desk, computer, mini-refrigerator, microwave, and 3 file cabinets. Students may sit at my desk when they need to take a Reading Counts quiz or desire a quiet work space that is free from distraction.

© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
At the front of the room is my magnetic chalkboard, holding pocket charts hung on magnetic hooks. The storage compartments beneath hold student audio book cassettes. Clipboards, stored on hooks underneath the chalkboard, are used during the Independent Reading rotation. They provide a hard, smooth, writing surface for students who prefer to read and write while sitting on the couch or beanbag chairs rather than at a table.Bottom of pageTop of page

Colored containers filled with chapter books My classroom library Another view of my classroom library
These colored containers are filled with chapter books that students may choose for homework reading. The books have been categorized by Lexile level. The rolling container separates the front of my classroom, where I do small-group lessons, from the independent reading area.
© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
This view shows my classroom library. I am an avid collector of children's literature. I have been buying children's books since my daughter was born. She's now in college so I decided to bring many of her books to school. (Both my classroom and home benefited from the reorganization.) The books have been organized by genre, theme, and for author studies. The books are stored in Rubbermaid ice cube bins. I have begun to Lexile the books but that is still a work in progress. Another view of my classroom library. The green boxes on the rolling cabinets hold miscellaneous books. Some of the books are duplicates of books in the ice cube bins but most are oversized picture books that do not comfortably fit those containers. Students select these books for free reading activities.
© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission

Chinese dragon on wall above computer stations Divider where students record books they've read View of cabinet doors
Above the computer station is a huge Chinese dragon with my classroom theme, "Catch a Dragon by the Tale". I found a great source on the Internet for displaying books using rain gutters. My wall space is extremely limited so I was unable to build the fantastic display as shown on the Trelease website. (There is a link to this site on My Favorite Reading Web Sites page.)The only wall in the classroom is between the drops for the computers. I was able to fit in two rows of rain gutters to hold a selection of Dragon books.
© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
The orange room divider shows a display where students record the books they have read. I used Ellison open book and hand die cuts. I placed a dragon sticker in the center of the hand to support my classroom theme "Catch a Dragon by the Tale". As students complete a book, they write the book title, author, and genre on a colored die cut and add it to their ring. Our school goal is to have each child read a minimum of 25 books per school year.

© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
This is a view of the cabinets in the back of the room. The cabinet doors were originally a combination of harvest gold and bright orange Formica. Having two shades of blue on the walls, brown carpet, mauve blinds and orange and gold cabinet doors were more colors than I could comfortably handle. I had the classroom walls and cabinet doors painted white. I solicited book covers from various vendors. The students created self-portraits complete with wiggly eyes and yarn hair. They cut out a tracing of their hands to hold the book covers. (An unanticipated but pleasant outcome, of allowing the students to select a book cover for display, was that it motivated students to read the book.)Bottom of pageTop of page

Small-group table and bookshelves Couch and beanbag chairs READ 180 audio and paperback book collections
You catch a glimpse of a table in front of this set of four, back-to-back bookshelves. The table is used for small-group work and for conferencing with students. The bookshelves hold my classroom sets of paperback books and trade books. The couch and beanbag chairs make a comfortable area for independent reading.
© illustration by Kevin Palivec, used with permission
Behind the couch are the READ 180 audio and paperback book collections. The boxes separate the computer stations from the independent reading section.

Independent reading/writing table and bookshelves Boxes separating the independent reading area Large beanbag chair
This small table, in the back of the classroom, is used by students during their independent reading/writing rotation. The bookshelves, holding class sets of books, divide the work space from the rolling carts that store the students' file folders. These black plastic boxes, which are stacked 2 high, are arranged behind the couch to separate the independent reading area from the computer area. These boxes hold the READ 180 audio books. This large beanbag chair can provide comfortable seating for two elementary students. I also have two smaller beanbag chairs, which are stored in the closet, for students who prefer an informal seating arrangement.

Loveseat-sized couch Table used for center activities My classroom mantra
This loveseat-sized couch allows students to read in comfort. The kids love to snuggle with the pillows while reading. I find the greater the comfort level, the longer students remain focused on their reading. This table is used for center activities. Presently it holds books dealing with letter writing, various writing supplies, and language arts manipulatives. This saying, from a teacher in my district, has become my classroom mantra. The display encourages students to write using expressive vocabulary even if they don't know how to correctly spell the words.

Listening center Cabinet doors word wall Reading charts displayed near small-group table
The listening center is arranged so that two students can "buddy read". During school year 2004-05, the cabinet doors have become a word wall. Reading charts are displayed near my small-group table.

Summer storage - front of room by windows Summer storage - back of room by windows Summer storage - floor cleared for carpet cleaning
Closing down for the summer - furniture stacked and bookshelves covered with paper in the front of the room by the windows. Closing down for the summer - bookshelves covered with paper in the back of the room by the windows to protect the books from dust during cleaning. Closing down for the summer - furniture and large items stacked and covered with paper in the front of the room to allow for carpet cleaning.

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