Bright Ideas: A 5th Grade!

When I tell people that I have a rug in my 5th grade classroom, they look at me as if I suddenly sprouted two heads.  "What do you mean a rug?  Like the kind the little kids sit on?  What could you possibly do with a rug with FIFTH graders????"

What I do with my rug is simple....everything.  The rug is a place we regularly use in my class.  I pull small groups to the rug.  Kids work in partners or triads.  When they need to get closer to the board, they sit there.  When reviewing Calendar, or reading a story in our basal, the students come to the rug.  The rug is used in my classroom 2 or 3 times a day.  I honestly don't know how I would survive without it!

The next thing people usually say is, "How do you fit the rug in your room with all those kids?" (because we all know that the upper grades are overflowing with children...another post for another day)  It all boils down to space planning.  I had 36 children in my room a few years ago and still had the room for a rug.  I did have to give up the kidney table...but that is OK!  I used the rug, had the kids bring clipboards, and we all sat in a circle to work.  I never once felt like I was slighting my children of a small group experience because of the lack of a table.  I just used the rug space instead!

So the next time you are planning your upper grade room, don't forget to include a rug.  You will thank me for it later :)

Want to read some more bright ideas?  Head on over to Mrs. Albanese's Kindergarten Class to read about displaying daily writing in your classroom.

And then you can hop on over to 130 of my other friends....all of whom have some great ideas that you can implement in your own classrooms tomorrow!


  1. I agree, Dear Steph!
    We are on the rug for different activities all day and I am so glad to know I am not the only one. This year's group has complained even once!
    As always, I love reading about the happenings in your class... and your room looks great!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. So true, Stephanie! I love and use my rug daily, too. Our kids might be 'big' but they still love the sense of community that a rug can offer. And 36?!?! I'm at 30 now, and adding 6 more seems crazy. Bless you.

    The Brown-Bag Teacher

  3. I TOTALLY agree! I had a carpet in my classroom when I taught 5th grade and I have one in my current classroom of 3rd/4th. ALL KIDS need that experience of sitting in close proximity to the teacher as a community of students at the carpet. I actually do the majority of my teaching at the carpet between my smart board and easle. I feel like the kids are so much more "with me" when they're so close.

    BTW, I LOVE your rug!!!! It is perfect!

  4. I actually just had a conversation with my principal about getting rid of desks nearly completely in my classroom next year. I teach 6-8th grade math, but do not do much "direct instruction" like you would see in a traditional middle school math classroom. I had talked to her about the idea of mini lessons on a carpet, and then breaking off to different areas. Kids even in middle school need to spread out get comfortable just as much as 1st graders. I did some of my field work in a Montessori classroom that had only 4 desks in the room and I was amazed by the amount of learning that took place sans "desks." I love the case that Amy @ Juice Boxes and Crayola's said about all kids needing to experience sitting near the teacher.

    My brain juices are running freely now!
    Lessons With Coffee

  5. I LOVE this post and couldn't agree with you more! I have taught upper elementary with a rug for years and don't know what I would do without it!! It is especially perfect for my writing/reading/language mini lessons. It's so easy for students to turn and talk about their thinking. It's great at the end of every workshop too! The kids LOVE to talk and the rug makes sharing quick and easy for everyone's voice to be heard. And, it's great to assess which students understand the objectives and which may need more teaching. Great post:)

  6. I too am a fifth grade and I have a big area rug we use. I LOVE it for literature circles especially since we don't have and never had a kidney table. I also use the rug for religion class, and the kids LOVE to work on the rug during independent work time.

    Amy Decker

  7. I agree! I bought a rug this year for my fifth graders and was disappointed when it turned out to be a lot smaller than I realized. I put it down anyways and the kids squish onto it during silent reading time.

    Sara :)
    The Colorful Apple

  8. I agree with you completely Stephanie!! My 5th graders love working on the carpet and I can't imagine having a room without one! I always love seeing your classroom :) :)

  9. Love this! I couldn't imagine my class without a rug.

  10. We don't have a rug, but habits are hard to break after teaching little kids for so long. I call the kids to the "carpet" empty space I keep for a meeting area. We head there many times a day. I couldn't ever not have that space in my room.
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  11. I would not be able to function without a rug/carpet area. I teach 4th and both my kids and I love it. Thank you for writing about is a simple concept, but really...the rug in my class brings us all together.


  12. Couldn't agree more! My 4th graders and I would be lost without our rug. It's their first choice when they get a chance to spread out! I traded out my desk for a kidney bean table, which has worked out really well too!

  13. I teach 5th and 6th grade ELA and I have two rugs in my room! I got rid of my teacher desk to make room!


  14. I have 6th graders and I have two small rugs-one in my library and one in a different corner. When we group up, this is one space that I send a group to. I'm adding two more rugs this year...but I'm sure how they'll fit. We have small classrooms at our school. I kind of want to get rid of all my desks and use rugs, regular chairs, and a couch or two--but I doubt that will ever get approved!


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