Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Classroom it or hate it?


So last night I had a dream that it was the first day of school, and I forgot my classroom keys at home. I couldn't get into my room, and all my students were waiting by the door. 

Does anyone else have these kinds of dreams right before the new school year? This happens to me every year, and I'm sure to have more before the first day of school, which is WEDNESDAY! 

Although the beginning of the year is stressful, I must admit that I LOVE setting up my classroom. I love organizing all my books and supplies. It's so fun for me to think of a new set up and a new theme.

And now I must stop and take a minute to thank my mom, my mother-in-law, and my husband who helped me tremendously and put up with all my control-freak tendencies! 

This year my theme is "Reading Around the World." I included lots of maps and postcards to decorate. And I have some awesome airplane material that I'm going to add up around the windows. 

It's not finished...but here's what I have so far. 

On my door are my students' names on tickets and the Earth. I added postcards from around the world.

My front bulletin board has a map of the U.S. and of the world. As we read, I want to put in pins to mark the settings of each book. My goal is to share read alouds from around the world.

My classroom rug just happens to fit the theme perfectly. That was a convenient accident! 

Part of my classroom library. I love organization and labels. It really is a fool proof system, I want to really train my kids this year to put the books back in the right places! A realistic goal??

This year I tried putting my computers in a quad instead of lined up against the back wall. I like the change, but we'll see how it works. And the bulletin boarder is just a big map that we cut into strips.  

Classroom mailboxes and clipboard holders. I scored on these mailboxes. Our old church was getting rid of them, so I snached them up for free! I put my genre posters on the heater.

I saw another teacher do this and I love the idea. The word wall is on the front white board. Since we use the smart board for everything, the white board usually just becomes a place to hang stuff. So using it for the word wall frees up a whole back bulletin board. Also I can just write the words on. I have these sticky words to start the year, but later on I can easily add new words. 

Here are my name tags. This is new for me too. I found the idea on pintrest. I HATE that the kids pick at all the clear tape that I usually put over name tags. About two months into the year they are destroyed. So I went searching for an idea and found this. It's a name badge that usually hangs from a lanyard. I just cut off the top, put in the name tag, and then stuck velcro on the back. 

I haven't stuck them to the desks yet, but the velcro we got was heavy duty, so hopefully they will stay put. But, if I do need to switch them, the velcro will easily pull off. Also (HOPEFULLY) the kids won't be able to mess with them as much.  

I found this idea via Pintrest, you can view it here. "New Student" bags. This is helpful for those times when a new student shows up at your door and you only had about a five minute heads up! (This seems to happen a lot at my school.) But it's also helpful for new students in general. Instead of running around tons of places to find what you need, just pre-stock this at the beginning of the year, then it's ready to go! I created five extra of everything to put in these bags and I KNOW they will come in handy! 


  1. I LOVE your classroom! How on earth did you manage to find so many postcards and maps? They all look great. I want to be in your class.

    I also get "teacher brain" the nights leading up to the first day of school. My mind just does not turn off and can't stop thinking about school stuff I need to accomplish.

  2. Your classroom looks awesome!! I love your theme.. what a creative way to do read alouds and use the pin to mark the setting.. I Love that!

    I also love your idea of the new student bags. That is such a great idea and one that I should now when I have the time. Its so true when a new students comes in you scramble to find all those things you set up at the beginning of the year and you can never find them all!

    And to answer your questions.. I LOVE Classroom Set-up! Here is a link to my blog about my classroom set up

  3. Your room looks great! I've been hesitant to use themes for my middle school room, but this one looks mature enough to work. Those mailboxes really are a great find! They can be pretty expensive. Did they already have such bright colors on them or did you cover them?

  4. Beautiful and organized! A reasonable goal for kids to put books in the right bin....I had preschoolers doing that! Oh and the lady I work for is a teacher and is jealous of your beautiful work!

  5. Love your classroom. Can I come and be a kid again? ? ? The environment we teach in is as important as what we teach! All your organizational tips are excellent. Fun and inviting, kids should feel right at home on their first day. I love classroom set up, I was feeling overwhelmed this week with all I had to do. By today I walked into my classroom and was feeling great, I cannot wait until the first day!! I want my students to love being in school.

  6. I looked at the pictures of your classroom and had two thoughts: 1 - That looks awesome and your kids are going to have a great year. 2 - I'm so glad I teach middle school and can get away with a little bit less elaborate decorations. I don't know how some of you do it. I've been watching my wife cut out laminated bees for the past two evenings. I'll be sticking my usual posters to the wall next week and we'll take it from there.

  7. What great pictures! I wish I was in your class! Love the idea of reading around the world! Also, I'm totally loving the new student bag idea and sharing it in my building! Awesome post!

  8. I love your classroom. It is very cute! I like how you cut up the map to make a border- way more interesting than the bought borders. I just saw the same bag idea for new students and started mine today... I think they are going to be very helpful (we seem to have the same problem at our school).