The whole group area is important for developing a sense of community and for delivering instruction in a comfortable, intimate manner. I love doing read aloud and holding class meetings in my whole group area. This needs to be one of the first areas that you establish because it has specific needs.
Try to select your meeting area so that the students are not facing out into the hallway or anywhere else there will be distractions.
Set it up so that there is minimal opportunity for hands to wander. For example, do not have kids sitting up against tubs of math manipulatives.
Define the area with a rug.
Ideally you want to have...
- enough space to house your entire class
- a few seating options~not all kids are comfortable or have the trunk support to sit "criss-cross-applesauce" and your little ladies in dresses should have the opportunity to sit in a chair.
- a comfy place for you to sit
- a way to define seating so that your friends know where to place their bottoms
- a focal point for instruction (pocket charts, dry erase board, smartboard, easel or all of the above)
- enough room for traffic flow when tissues are needed
- easy access to the supplies you'll need (dry erase markers, read aloud books, etc)
I like the way Booky4First has made the group area the center of the classroom. Also, I really like the use of the linking mats as a "rug." They define the space as a whole, provide smaller spaces for bodies, and cushion the bottoms as well. :)
Um, can I live in this classroom? Gorgeous!!!
I featured Beth's classroom when I did my space theme post. Even if you aren't doing a space theme you need to stop by and see her classroom pics. They are awesome. Her group meeting area certainly does not disappoint either. I like the educational rug and the way she incorporated her meeting area into her classroom library. She also did a great job of facing the meeting area so that there is minimal distraction for the students.
Check out the rain gutter bookshelves. What a great way to customize the space around the smartboard.
For more ideas and pictures to help organize and manage your classroom, please check out my book: The Clutter-Free Guide to Classroom Organization and Management by clicking here. It is available as an instant download.