Here is the basic layout of my classroom. I exchanged student desks for eight trapezoid tables. The classroom library is in the back corner with a small rug. Math stations and manipulatives are in the green tubs (cool storage I got from Ikea). There are three computers (not pictured) along the wall on the side, and a laptop on my desk in the opposite corner. My entire class can fit on the large rug directly in front of the SmartBoard, where I teach all mini-lessons from.
I have a slight obsession with children's books. Three-fourths of my classroom library is personal books I've accumulated over the years, mostly at thrift stores and yard sales. All of my books were sorted by genre with color coded stickers on the spine, and labeled with the AR levels. This year we were required to use Fountas & Pinell levels, so I spent several hours converting all of the book labels to guided reading levels before school started. My library is my favorite area of the classroom!
For years I have been looking for one of those wooden mailboxes to sort papers and such. I've never found one for a good deal. After making myself crazy with piles of papers over a foot tall on my desk, I bought the organizer below at a local teacher store. It is made of a thick cardboard and cost $25, but it is seriously one of the best purchases I've made for my classroom. I wasted so much time looking for everything. It's amazing how much paperwork a teacher has to keep up with!
Now I have a slot for reading, social studies, math, science, and writing handouts on one side. The other side has slots for papers I need to copy, grade, pass out, file, and a section for referrals/ parent contacts. My desk has stayed clean all week! And it makes me much more conscious of how much I have to grade, so I've stayed on top of all my grading.