For me, the most important part of setting up for Workshop - is the gathering space. This is where our mini-lessons happen, students work in pairs, read/write or work on math independently, and where we convene for our closure discussions. In my classroom we have tiled floors, so a large carpet is a necessity for students to sit on and get comfortable. Also, some special and unique seating options are fun to have on the perimeter of the carpet for select students. We have a "Sit around the Room" chart where each day different students are chosen for the special spots. I pull sticks each morning, the sticks fit in the pockets of the chart. The next morning, those sticks go into a separate basket until all students have had a chance to sit around the room. Then we start over.
Here is my dream carpet - to go along with my black/white zebra theme. Also, some fun seating options that I've pinned on pinterest.
Here is some of the fun seating we used last year. We kept the seating in the library area but pulled it out to the main carpet during Workshop times. We also had several black bean bags.
Secondly a teacher chair (you can see my rocking chair above) is a must to sit in during mini-lessons and read aloud times. The teacher chair is also on our "sit around the room chart" to be used during Workshop times when I'm meeting with small groups.
Third, an easel is a must for creating anchor charts as a class, recording student's thinking, taking notes, and teaching new concepts.
Fourthly (is that a word?), materials - a classroom library for Reader's Workshop (see mine above), a writing station for Writer's Workshop, and lots of manipulatives stored in an organized area for Math Workshop.
Lastly, a place to meet with small groups for strategy work, intervention, and enrichment. Our classrooms are pretty small, so some of my colleagues meet with their small groups on the carpet during workshop time. You can also have a table area space too. That's what I prefer, that way I can keep my small group instruction materials nearby. Seating for 5-6 is preferable. The stools I posted above are perfect for saving space at a small group area.
Whew! That's it. Now I really want to get into my classroom and start setting up LOL. I love new beginnings. It's one of the many great parts of being a teacher.
But right now, I'm on summer break (another great part) in Northern Michagan and enjoying a beautiful week on Higgin's Lake!