This year, I decided to make some unused classroom spaces into small interactive centers that could serve as the perfect little transition activities or warm-ups. Instead of hanging pictures or decorations in these spaces, I wanted them to have a purpose. Below are some examples of how you can turn those unused spaces into workspaces, while still creating fun, eye-catching decorations for your classroom.
Interactive books are all the rage right now, and why wouldn't they be - they.are.fabulous!
Instead of keeping them in a bin so they never get touched, put them on display! Students will love looking through the different books during down time reading center, transitions. You could even make a choice board for students to request certain books that may be hung out of their reach.
For the first two years I was in my classroom, I never touched the giant dry/erase board that took up an entire wall of my classroom. This year, I have used it to house all my sorting tasks. Shown above are from my shapes clothespin sorting task pack. I also use the numbers clothespin sorting task pack on the other side of this board. Use magnet letters and word strips and have students spell sight words or even practice spelling their names. There are so many options and all you need is some cheap magnet tape from Amazon (click below).
Oil drip pans are AMAZING giant magnet trays. I'm sure they serve a wonderful purpose with mechanics; however, they are pretty spectacular for teachers as well. We attached this baby to the back of a shelf and it is it's own little center. Right now, I have beginning sound sorts up on ours from my beginning sounds clothespin pack, but I change it all the time!
I'm all about hanging our artwork in the halls and on the walls and doors in our classroom. Although most people like to put their air on bulletin boards, in our classroom, our bulletin board is a center full of activities! Currently, I'm using tasks from Melissa's Interactive Bulletin Board Packs.
Again, interactive books are super functional for our students to learn those basic print concepts and to get some extra basic skill practice. More importantly, THEY ARE ADORABLE. A lot of shelves in elementary schools have these holes in the backing (I have no clue what the name is but I know there is one). Grab some hooks from the hardware store and a bean bag and you have yourself a book nook. In this little area, I'm using my interactive alphabet books. I also have books for colors, shapes, and numbers.
We have a few of these lower shelves around our classroom. I put some of my sorting tasks out on them, covered with contact paper, and added some containers to make it a standing work station. Another perfect little transition activity for students. In the picture above, I am using the jar sort from my colors clothespin sorting activities.
Do you have any unconventional centers in your classroom? I'm always looking for more ideas!