Mapping our classroom is a great way to get to know where everything is, and to chat about teacher and student expectations as we head back to school. This activity is super for a whole class activity or for working in small groups. You can incorporate a simple mapping grid if you want, or leave it out for younger ones.
Firstly, decide whether you want to approach this as a whole class activity or for smaller groups or pairs. For Kinders and younger I suggest working on it together since mapping as a concept is quite difficult.
Whole group activity
- Grab a large piece of card or poster board. If your classroom is not rectangular, trim the board so it’s the approximate shape of your classroom. If you wish to, draw a grid onto the card so that you can point to different spots in the classroom similar to the grid that’s included in the printable. For younger children, instead of using the alphabet and number system on the sides you could write a number or draw a different tiny picture in each square for reference. So instead of saying ‘our books are in A4’ you can say ‘our books are in this cat section.’
- Print off the page of classroom areas (below) included in the free Mapping Our Classroom printable. Choose colour if you want to manage the activity more quickly, and black and white if you’d like your kids to colour an area each to contribute to the poster.
- Cut apart all the pictures so they’re ready to use.
- Gather your kids together and talk about the classroom in general. Will they do specific activities in particular areas? How can they find the resources they will need? How will they know where to put things away to keep the classroom clean and tidy?
- Start with the door, back pack and lining up areas. Have the group decide where to glue these pictures onto the card so that it starts to look like their classroom.
- Give each child (or pair of children) a picture, asking them to move around the classroom to see if they can find where that area is. Then they can quickly colour it and return it to be glued to the poster board in the approximately correct place.
- Your classroom will probably not have all the areas included in the graphics so skip those. But you also may have special areas in your classroom that you’d like to emphasise so you or your kids can draw those in.
- Also, you may not have a tap in your classroom but it would be a good time to make sure your kids know exactly where they may wash their hands, and how often they should be doing it.
- If you’re really brave you could ask for suggestions for how the classroom should be laid out, and have the kids help you re-design the space to see if it works and why or why not!
Take the opportunity to talk about related expectations in the classroom such as:
- cleaning up
- acceptable noise levels in the classroom and how they might differ through the day
- healthy snacks and lunch
- how we line up
- respecting each other
- and so on…
Working in small groups
This can be used as an individual activity with older children, but would be more collaborative to work on together.
- Either use a large piece of card for the base (as above) or print off the grid page from the Mapping Our Classroom download. In the picture below I have enlarged the grid page, but not the pictures, to allow more room.
- Gather the class together to talk about how to complete the activity and give a demonstration to make it clearer.
- Encourage them to start with the door since it should help them picture the classroom more clearly. If you have 2 doors, they can draw the second one in.
- Encourage them to use the grid numbers to describe where each picture should be placed, particularly if they are Grade 1 or older.
- If they have a specific place to sit they might like to write their name on that spot.
- Hang the poster just outside your classroom as a visual guide to your classroom and ask your kids to explain where everything is to their parents.
- This activity involves mathematical and higher order thinking so it’s a great one for hanging in your classroom, demonstrating a mix of academic thinking with a simple ‘getting to know the classroom’ activity.
- If children make their own poster, send them home so kids can use it to describe their classroom to their families, and as an indicator of the kinds of things they’ll be learning and experiencing in the coming year.
How else could you use this activity to help kids transitioning into your classroom? We love to read your comments!
Did you download this printable yet? If not, here it is again. Just click on this Mapping Our Classroom link!
Looking for more back to school activities?
Check out these terrific games, craft projects, printables and more from some of my favourite kid bloggers.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
School Bus Color Match Puzzles // Modern Preschool
3 Word Cloud Back to School Puzzles // Lalymom
Back to School Process Art // Still Playing School
Morning Routine Story Stones // Sugar Aunts
Fun Ways to Teach Kids to Pack Their Lunch // Study at Home Mama
Easy, Kid-Made Phone Number Bracelets // Mama. Papa. Bubba.
Back to School Bingo // Playdough to Plato
Back to School I Spy // The Pleasantest Thing
ABC Photo Book // Powerful Mothering
Back to School Puzzles for Counting to 10 // Life Over C’s
Patterns with Erasers // Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails
Shape Puzzles Busy Bag // Teach Me Mommy
Back to School Name Practice with Playdough // Stay at Home Educator
Back to School File Folder Games // Itsy Bitsy Fun
Back to School Mapping Our Classroom // Liz’s Early Learning Spot
Back to School Teacher Gift // Think Magnet
Free Back to School Memory Book // DIY Farm Wife
Flower Craftivity // Fairy Poppins
Free Alphabet Book // The Kindergarten Connection
Back to School Memory Game // Play and Learn Everyday
DIY Name Stamps // Preschool Inspirations
I wish you happy teaching and learning!