Monday, August 10, 2015

Classroom Reveal: It’s going to be SUPER in SECOND!

Hi, Friends! How are you? It’s been a busy last week or so here. After getting those golden keys in my hand, I began to plan…unpack, find, move, lift, staple, purge and OBSSESS about putting my new classroom together. NOW…the foundation has been laid to set the stage to engage a new batch of kiddos! Putting my classroom together is one of those things that just makes me happy! I can get lost in there for hours….and I did!

Now that my little home away from home is ready….


…come on in and have a look see!


These cabinets store our classroom stations and curriculum pieces. We also use them as command central for our transportation list, class jobs and CHAMPS expectations. The black “call to action” poster is one of ONLY two commercially made posters you’ll find in our classroom. Well, not counting the pledge posters…so I guess it’s one of only 4. Our walls and classroom surfaces are prime real estate for displaying our learning….so once, you enter our room….you’ll notice there’s LOTS of blank space for creating and displaying what we will learn together.


This is our little library. Last year, I used the blue bins to hold books organized by theme and the black ones to house leveled books. This year, I wanted our classroom library to more closely resemble a real library, so I organized the entire selection of books by theme. There are still a few more boxes of books to add. We will have leveled books in the classroom, BUT they’ll be stored separately and used for small group instruction.


Our Dollar Tree and IKEA book boxes are hanging out in perfect harmony! I brought this little collection of pink, orange, blue and white together with coordinating labels. Morning work journals and Daily 5 folders have been inserted too. I’ll choose books for student book boxes for the first week. Beginning in the second week, after teaching kiddos how to browse the library, they’ll get to choose their own.


This is our infamous ENTIRE….WHOLE word WALL, lol! This sucker is HUGE! We’ll be hanging our alphabet line after completing a little ABC fun on the first day of school. I want the kids to help with completing this task so they’ll take ownership of it and to develop interest in use of the word wall. The two tables you see pictured here will be the two seating choices for ‘work on writing’ when choice becomes available during our literacy block. We’re not bound to tables in our classroom, so if students opt to, they may also utilize the floor space. I’ve got a couple pretty pink pillows that will be tossed into this space too.


Don’t you just love the smell of new crayons? Supplies are being organized for their big introduction in week 2! Last year, one of my class favorites was our Word Helper board. They used it so much that I had to make a new one to start this year. It’s a simple tool that has a BIG impact! When there is a frequently used word that students just aren’t quite sure yet about how to spell, they can pull the laminated white card from the appropriate pocket, bring it to me and I add the word with a sharpie. Once I’ve added a word to the card, they can no longer ask me how to spell it, but must instead use the Spell Help board as an additional resource for finding correct spellings. Simple. Effective. Loved!


Kids ever argue over where to sit when they visit the teacher table? Slap a symbol on the back of each of the chairs. In our classroom, the symbols we use are vowels. Each time a student comes to the teacher table, they are expected to sit in the same chair, with the same vowel…each and every time. Give it a try…it works [most of the time]! =)

The two small boards in the background will house standards for each of the units we’ll be working through in reading and math. When we complete a unit or ‘unpack the standards’ as a class, the poster will go on the board as a reference. When we begin the next unit, the next poster will be stapled right over it. If students need to refer back to a previous poster, they can simply walk over, give a lift and review what we previously learned. By the end of the year…there will be a stack of posters stapled one on top of the other on each board.


We use Wilson Fundations for word work in our district. It’s perfect for small group differentiation, so I keep their alphabet visible at the small group table for easy reference.


The two tables closest to the teacher table are used for ‘word work’ once all literacy center choices have been introduced. Keep in mind, because we use flexible seating, when I say…tables…what I really mean is any space within the vicinity of that table. As long as students are engaged and productive, they have complete choice of where exactly they park their bottoms to get to work. Standing is an option too!

The standing shelf in the middle of the room will house math station review activities. It’s also holding a space for our media cart. We’ll get that little diddy from our librarian once we’re officially back at work.

This picture is also a great example of my view from the teacher table. I HATE CLUTTER! It gives me the heebie jeebies! Despise it….so I enjoy having a clear, unobstructed view of the classroom. No matter where a student is working, I can look out across the classroom and see everyone and they can see me, to know I can see them! =)


I thought our ceiling medallions might’ve been a little too busy, but I really like the way they turned out! Usually, I use fishing line to hang them but keeping with the chalk and brights theme, I used black curling ribbon.

After posting a couple sneak peeks to Facebook, a few friends asked me where I got the wall clings. They actually aren’t wall clings at all! Being the doodler that I am, I took large cuts of black butcher paper and free-hand cut out doodle frames, then added embellishments with a chalk marker…that’s it…and stapled them to the wall. What do you think?

Here’s one last glance from the doorway….

You might’ve noticed the words ‘I Can…” spread throughout our room. It’s the guiding principle of our classroom. Success comes in CANS…and I always want my students to know how much I believe in each of them. It also pays homage to one of my favorite bible verses. I CAN….do all things through Christ who strengthens me! {Philippians 4:13}

Knowing that we can and creating an atmosphere driven by engaging students through personal choice is what makes our classroom tick! While my goal this week, will be to enjoy as many days as possible in pjs…once we’re officially back on Monday and preparing for students, I’ll be excited to meet my new batch! The foundation is laid; it’s similar to what I used last year and I can’t wait to use it again!

Have you ever considered utilizing alternative seating in your classroom? Here’s a great video that explains why it works. Don’t be afraid! Step outside of your comfort zone. Throw out that old “box”. Let your students make choices and watch them shine! Enjoy the video and have a great year!


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