When it comes to creating a productive classroom for your students, the greatest piece of advice I can offer is that everything should have a place!
While your mind has probably immediately sprung to teacher trolleys and classroom labels, I’m not just talking about organising resources - but also creating areas in your classroom dedicated to different activities or subjects.
Setting up specific spaces intended for specific learning objectives is not only helpful for keeping you organised and keeping your classroom looking spick and span, but it’s also a great way for your students to enhance their learning by having easy access to the information and resources they need for whatever they’re working on.
By the end of this blog, you’ll be inspired to create your own learning areas in the classroom! Here’s an incredible classroom library from my BFF @lololoveslearning.
What is a Learning Area in the Classroom?
I’m so glad you asked, BFF.
Learning areas involve creating a designated space within the classroom (usually within a cosy nook) where your little learners can find resources and information dedicated to a specific subject.
I personally love creating learning areas at the start of the year, as they’re great for helping to enhance your students’ learning without needing your direct input or assistance all the time. And for those students who need a little extra help, it’s the perfect way for to give them access to what they need, when they need it.
Plus, we know kids can get distracted by just about anything, so in a more engaging setting, you just might be able to keep them on track!
Your learning areas can cover a whole range of activities and curriculum! I can just imagine this word wall by @lololoveslearning gets so much use in her classroom.
So, I’ve sold you on the idea - but how can you get these set up in your own classroom? Don’t worry, BFF, I’ve got more than a couple of classroom area ideas up my sleeve to help you turn your space into a learning haven that’ll have your students eager to learn (crazy, I know!).
From the fictional worlds of the classroom library, to maths and numeracy walls, read on below to learn how to set up learning areas in your classroom that your students will love. Feel free to get creative and adjust to your classroom too - after all, no one knows what your kids need better than you!
The Library Corner
Reading is one of the greatest joys of childhood and I can’t think of anything more magical than exploring the fictional worlds of a book through the eyes of a child.
As a teacher, I absolutely loved getting to foster that love of reading within my students and a top-notch classroom library is a great way to do this!
I have *not* been able to get this classroom library out of my head! @lololoveslearning has absolutely knocked it out of the park with this set up.
Comfy bean bags and cushions aside (because duh!), the key to setting up your classroom library is investing in some seriously good organisational tools like these Reading Group Organisers. Perfect for keeping your reading resources neat and tidy, these allow your students to find the right books for their reading level and leave the library organised for the next student.
My editable labels in my best-selling Boho Rainbow classroom decor range come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can label tubs, books, organisers - just about anything, really! Simply customise with your text, print and stick - my BFF Lauren is a fan of using cable ties to adhere labels to baskets like the ones in the images above.
To bring your library corner together, use my Bulletin Board Lettering Pack to create a display for a nearby wall or whiteboard. One of the cutest displays I’ve seen in a few classrooms is the saying “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader” above the library corner - so inspiring for your little learners!
The Writing Corner
One of the most magical parts of being a teacher is getting to nurture your students' creative sides and watching their little personalities come to life on paper (seriously, some of the things I’ve read during narrative tasks though!).
While structured writing classes are an important part of the curriculum, one of the benefits of having a writing corner is that they’re the perfect environment for your students to be able to freely express themselves and explore their writing interests outside of a structured task.
A great resource to create for your writing corner are these Word Lists. With 35 cards covering a wide range of topics from verbs and shapes to farm animals and space, these lists will encourage even your most reluctant writers to have a go!
You can also add a personal touch to your writing corner with these Alphabet Desk Strips - simply edit with your students’ names, print and laminate for an easily accessible resource that helps with handwriting and letter formation. There are four different versions in this pack, including one with dotted thirds that is really helpful for your kids to break down each letter when recreating it for themselves.
If your creativity is usually powered by caffeine, you are *exactly* the teacher I created this Writing Templates bundle for! Reduce your mental load and inspire your students to create a range of written resources, all with one resource.
To assist with self-directed learning in your writing corner, have some resources available that your students can pick up and work from at any time.
My Writing Templates Bundle includes 120 pages’ worth of ideas, covering 8 different text types so even the most avid student writer will have something new to tackle each time. And for those kids who aren’t as keen on writing? A little structure can suddenly make the blank page much less daunting!
You know I’m all about wall displays that bring your learning area together, so for your writing corner I’d suggest creating a Word Wall.
Lauren keeps a folder full of words for her wall printed and ready to go, making it easy to update when required!
Displaying a list of words that begin with each letter, you can inspire (or challenge) your students to expand their vocabulary and improve their literacy each time they write. You could update the words each term to reflect the topics you’re learning about, or pick a set of evergreen words to leave up through the year.
The Inquiry Topic Bulletin Board
If you’ve ever felt like you’ve spent an entire term banging on about a topic, and it hasn’t seemed to sink in the way you wanted? A bulletin board dedicated to your curriculum might help to pick up some of the slack, and remind your little learners of all the wonderful interesting things you’ve taught them (because your lessons ARE interesting BFF, I promise!!)
I have a whole section on my website dedicated to inquiry topic packs, that include a whole range of resources that you could use to create a display in conjunction with my Bulletin Board Lettering Packs.
One of my favourites for those of you down under - my Australian Animals pack is an absolute crowd-favourite among the prep - year 2 crowd! This pack has everything you need to create a display and word wall for this topic, and if a trip to the zoo or sanctuary is on the cards? I’ve got you covered for that, too!
The Math and Numeracy Corner
Numbers can be intimidating for students (and for teachers, too… just me?) which is why it’s important to have them set out nicely in an easily digestible way.
Not only is my Maths Poster Bundle beautiful, it’s also great value with 12 poster packs, covering everything from fractions to times tables. Paired with the Skip Counting Number Display and the Classroom Number Line Display, you’ve got yourself one truly good lookin’ maths corner!
Having a display with the topics you’re covering in class (or the ones you know your students struggle with) means that your students will always have access to the information they need, when they need it. Image by @thatmodernteacher
When it comes to your worksheets and tangible maths resources, make sure everything is organised - and stays that way - with my editable labels. Consider using a dedicated teacher trolley for your maths corner and use these labels for each drawer - these have been tried and tested, and will fit most standard 10-drawer trolleys!
The Growth Mindset Corner
Never hear your students utter the words ‘I can’t do it!’ again, with this genius classroom area idea. My Growth Mindset Display is one of my absolute favourite resources to see in your classrooms, as it encourages students to change their mindset when it comes to their capabilities in the classroom. This lesson is probably one of the most important things you’ll ever teach!
@mycozyclassroom_ has set her little learners up for success with this beautiful Growth Mindset corner!
Studies have shown that implementing a growth mindset in your classrooms increases motivation levels and productivity - what more could we ask for as teachers?
Now while we can’t pick favourite students (not out loud, anyway) I do have a resource that I’m *particularly* fond of: the Affirmation Station.
Not only does an Affirmation Station make for an important lesson with your little learners, it makes for a great selfie spot! @msstokesclass
Creating an intentional space in your classroom for your students to empower themselves through positive affirmations is an absolute game-changer! All you need is a full length mirror and your affirmations, and voilá, let the budding self esteems grow.
So there you have it, BFFS, my tips and resources for how to set up learning areas in your classroom that your students will love! Have you set up something like this in your classroom? I’d love to hear what areas you’ve got, and how your students found them - come and tell me in my Facebook Group!