I've never been much of an artist and I'm not much of a doodler either, but when it comes to physical classroom structure I always start with a sketch. Last year I did it the old fashion way with paper and pencil but this year I got a little more "sophisticated" and used Microsoft Excel to help me.
The first thing I do is measure the room, which is quite easy since the floor tiles are 1'x1' squares. This year my room is 23' x 20'. The following sketch is the room as is, without movable furniture.
Here is the first sketch I had drawn up. When I inherited this room it came with 4 tables where the students sat for everything from work to lunch. I really wanted desks for the students instead of tables so I designed my room based on desks. The area between the permanent dividers had been previously used as a quiet area for the kids, but I opted to make it another work station and intended to create an alternate quiet area in another area of the room. This design would also require me to obtain 2 move divider walls...which I planned on grabbing from my old classroom anyway. Oh-and it required the bulletin board to be removed. This design was based on having12 students.
But as with all good plans comes bumps in the road. I was unable to obtain desks in place of my tables from the school so I then had to redesign the room based on tables. This design also would require me to obtain 2 additional divider walls. This design was also based on having 12 students.
And then I found out that I will have 14 students and I had to start planning from scratch. It actually worked out perfectly, and I decided to implement the TEACCH method in the design. I purchased 8 desks from IKEA (with my own money) and my husband helped me build 2 dividers for the room. This design also only required me to obtain one additional divider from my previous room as opposed to 2 for the other designs.
So, I have implemented this sketch as my room design. There are a few pieces off missing furniture from this sketch such as the book bag cubbies, the lunch table area, and the shelves that hold work boxes, but this is the general idea.
I'll be heading back in to the classroom this week to finish up the structure so that I can focus on curriculum design next week. Make sure to stop by next week to see pictures of the completed room and see how it all came together.