09 August 2014

2014-2015 Classroom Set-Up

I have officially survived the first week of school! And let's face it, I'm still exhausted. At any rate, it was a great first week of school, and I'm excited to get past routines and procedures (which my kiddos are totally rocking, for the most part), and actually dive in to some content. Going in to this year, I knew it would be challenging, however, I wasn't really mentally prepared for how challenging. I'm really going to have to stretch myself professionally, and figure out what will work best for my sweet babes. More on that later...my purpose for today is MY CLASSROOM!

About 3 weeks before teachers had to report, I decided to assess the status of my room. I was definitely not prepared for what I would see. Yikes. So glad I went in when I did. I spent quite a bit of time working on my room this year. This is the first time in five years I wasn't starting from scratch, and let me tell you...that allowed the process to be so.much.smoother. Anyway, here's was I saw when I first walked in.
In order to actually start moving furniture, I had to unstack everything and restock it somewhere else. It was kind of like a giant puzzle...move this to get to that. Move that, then get this. Thankfully, my sweet friend Chandra from Teaching with Crayons and Curls was at school that day, and was able to help unstack and then move the BIG furniture.
By the end of the first day, I was completely exhausted, but the furniture was pretty much in place. I moved a few minor things in the subsequent days, but nothing really worth noting. The rest of the time I spent really was about maximizing space and organization. With two full-time teachers, and a full-time paraprofessional, I knew I needed to have everything just so.

What southern girl doesn't need burlap bulletin boards? I knew, I wanted these small ones to have burlap on them. Easy and inexpensive...I'm hoping I won't have to change them out next year. One will be for our Student of the Week (you can read about it here), and one will most likely be for CAFE, but I'm not really sure at this point.
 Our classrooms have almost zero storage (a total culture shock coming from a school where every.single.classroom had a HUGE walking closet - totally spoiled me), so I traded my desk for an extra table I had. I have a large workspace, although this picture is still a work in progress. My favorite part is that underneath, I'm able to store lots of different things that would have previously been who knows where. Eventually, I'd like to have my mama make me a curtain to hide the stuff.

In addition, I normally have my kidney table where the round table is located, but I needed to have two areas where groups could meet, so I gave the kidney table to my co-teacher. Sad at first, but I actually really love the result!
My second year teaching, I started separating my white board. It allows for an organized space, and definitive sections. It helps my students remember where to look for specific things, and is aesthetically appealing. 
 The picture below shows how I use each section, and what stays on my board all the time. The middle section is great for notes, workspace, anchor charts...whatever we need it for. The left side of the board is for our calendar, date, and daily schedule. In addition, I keep our specials rotation chart, team captain chart, and brownie point pan on that side of the board. Essential questions and standards are displayed on the right side.
 Below the white board is where I keep track of Daily 5 choices. Each student's picture will be on a magnet and they will place it on the pan of the choice where they're going for that round. 
 One of my very favorite spots of my room is the classroom library. As you can see, I hadn't re-organized this yet when I took the pictures...but there are the baskets waiting for me. The table got lowered, and students will be able to sit on the floor around the table.
 Being short on storage space, I knew I needed somewhat that would help me organize my read-alouds (because they do NOT get mixed in with classroom library books). I also needed somewhere to put the guided reading book boxes you see sitting on the table above. So, I commissioned my sweet grandpa to make me some custom shelves, and let me tell you...they are PERFECT! Knowing they would be going under the SmartBoard, I asked that they be made without backs so that the plugs were still accessible. Genius, I tell you.
In addition to commissioning Grandpa, I also commissioned my mama. She made me valences to go on my door and windows. Also, the pom poms came from Hobby Lobby in a pack of the three colors you see. They're normally about $5, but I used my 40% off coupon, and picked up a pack at a time, on my way to the school, and ended up getting each pack for about $3! Also, I'm obsessed with that chevron bunting!!! I read an AMAZING blog post about using brads/fasteners to attach each piece together...GENIUS! It was so easy to hang, because each piece sort of moved on its own, and created the perfect look!
 Here's a look at the brownie pan I mentioned earlier. Also, pencils to be sharpened and ready to write baskets sit on top of two 3-drawer organizers. The supplies in the drawers refill the supplies that students have at their team organizers. They become totally self-sufficient in knowing when and where to get these things, and it makes my life much easier.
 Last year, I had the clinic passes up above where they are now. They weren't labeled, and my students couldn't ever see them...so I labeled them, and put them a bit lower. The multi-colored chevron paper is just laminated scrapbook paper. It's covering a really, really ugly blog of wood that had a pencil sharpener attached to it. Last year, I unscrewed the pencil sharpener, and covered that ugliness up!!! Right below the clinic passes, are hall passes...on color-coordinating hooks of course!
 Last year my kiddos changed their transportation home multiple times a week (and sometimes a day)! For access, and usability, I put the different ways students could get home on the side of my filing cabinet, and each students picture is on a magnet. Easy to use, easy to see. Above the SmartBoard are the classroom expectations. Also shown are writing supplies. This isn't where students would actually work, just where supplies are stored. What's there? Editing and revising pens,  writing paper, word work baskets, whisper phones (not writing related, but there was a space for them), books about writing and resources, and class journals.
 Love, love, love the alphabet!!! Absolutely HATED the black string and handle that was such an eyesore. So, I did what any normal person would do...I made a burlap bow with scraps from the bulletin boards and covered.up.the.ugliness.
After lots of work, many hours, and probably hundreds of hot glue sticks...here's what she looked like before Sneak-a-Peek.
And here's what the morning of the first day of school!

Hopefully, you're still enjoying your summer! But I know many of you are still getting your classrooms ready, meeting your new students, and trying to find some good deals!

Well, friends, look no further! Some of my sweet blogging friends and I participated in the Diggin' In Series all summer long, and what better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a HUGE giveaway! Take a look at the pictures below to see what all is up for grabs! Did I mention that every.single.winner will win a product from every blogger participating? I'm sad I can't enter for myself!!!
Be sure to stop by August 11 - 17 to enter!!!


  1. Theresa, I was reading through your post, admiring your classroom, when I saw the link to my bunting with brads blog post! Thank you so much for the link! I'm glad you were able to use my tip!! Your bunting turned out so adorable and I just LOVE the addition of bows on the ends! Too cute!

    Also, why didn't I think of putting my bathroom and hall passes on lanyards?! BRILLIANT! And having the clinic passes accessible to the kids is a great idea! So many great ideas that I can't wait to borrow :) Great post!!

    Mrs. Cain's Creations

  2. Wow! Your room looks great! So, would your Grandpa make some shelves for me??!! HA HA! I could totally use those in my room! Hope you have a fantastic year!

  3. Oh my goodness! I love those shelves under your white board!! Can you find out from your awesome Grandpa what supplies are needed to make them? Sorry, I am very challenged when it comes to making things like this, but I am hoping I can get enough information to ask someone to help me make these. Thanks, Tina Tina.petrick@dcsdk12.org

  4. What do you use the sterilite bins at each pod of desks for, out of curiosity! I happen to have bought 4 of them last year, but ended up not using them very effectively :S Love your room, by the way... I'm a tad envious!

    1. The 3-drawer containers house all sorts of supplies that we use pretty regularly like crayons, markers, scissors, glue, rulers, dry erase boards, and clip boards. You can read more about them here: <a href="http://www.truelifeimateacher.com/2015/06/how-to-keep-community-supplies-organized.html”>Organizing Community Supplies</a>

      Thank you so much for your sweet comments! I can't wait to show pictures from my room this year!


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