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Writing my class room photos

Writing my class room photos Things that make me smile

It’;s that time of year. Time to take down all of the bulletin boards that were so cute in August, but are torn and sun-faded now. Time to clean up all of the broken crayons and lost game pieces–how did those get THERE anyway? Time to sweep up the dust bunnies. And time to pile all your furniture in one corner of the room so the summer cleaning crews can work their magic. 

It’;s so bittersweet. Trust me–I am READY for summer! But it’;s always a little sad tearing things off the walls, packing things away and saying goodbye to these little people that you have not only taught–but cared for and nurtured for the last 9 months. But I’;ll get over it.

Before I take it all down and pack it all up, I thought I would give you a quick tour. It sure isn’;t as pretty as it was at the beginning of the year. And I’;m going to warn you–I am NOT a professional film maker. It looks and sounds as if I am drunk! I DO NOT sound that way in real life (at least I don’;t think I do). But if you’;re nosy like me. you might enjoy it.

I’;m making BIG changes next year–I’;m trying out flexible classroom seating (which is both exciting and completely terrifying). So check back in the fall to follow me on that adventure!



Today I thought I would show you my desk area. It will never be this clean and organized again. so enjoy!

I spend more time at work during the school year than I do at home, so I need my space to be comfy and cozy with a few personal touches. Things that make me smile. family photos, quotes from Pinterest, and more of that silly garland that I made.

Here’;s a close-up of my shelf with my favorite teacher books, office supplies, etc. Now imagine it with piles and piles of papers that I know I shouldn’;t throw away but don’;t really know what to do with either.

Writing my class room photos each year only

that’;s reality!

Here’;s one thing I could never live with out– my Raskog cart from Ikea. It’;s my portable teacher desk. I wheel it to my teacher table when I work with small groups; I wheel it to the kids’; tables when I conference; I wheel it to my easel when I’;m teaching whole group. It has everything I need, so I don’;t have to waste time running around the room trying to find things. 

The top shelf has pens, pencils, stapler, date stamp, scissors, etc.

The middle shelf has teaching and assessment aides–magnetic letters, pointers, flashcards, etc.

The bottom shelf has all of my monitoring notebooks and anecdotal notes.

I’;ve had it for 2 years now and can honestly say that I’;m in love. Even if the middle shelf is a little wonky because I cannot put Ikea stuff together without messing something up. Oh well. nobody’;s perfect.

School starts in exactly one week for me. That thought is absolutely terrifying. I think I’;ll go to bed and try not to think about it.



I’;m still working away in my room. I had a meeting all day long, so I didn’;t accomplish much. But I’;m not freaking out. not at all!

So as promised, here is the entryway to my room. The kids’; cubbies are right inside the door. I covered the bulletin board in the same burlap that I used outside and added an owl that I made a few years ago.

Writing my class room photos readers, magazines

I’;m going to put our class pledge up there so that it’;s the first thing people see when they come in the room. I will write the pledge with the kids on the first day of school.

The little banner is for our gold stars. Our school hands out gold stars as a whole-class reward for walking quietly in the hall or doing a great job in the cafeteria, library, etc. (They come from other teachers and adults in the school–not me.) When we get 10, we get a treat, like lunch in the classroom or pajama day. Every time we get a star, I clip it to the banner. The numbers help the kids quickly see how many more stars we need to get our prize. Bonus–it really helps them develop ten-ness!

I have a little basket to put box tops in, a basket with my Diet Coke money (super important), pens, nurse and library passes, hand sanitizer and anything else we might need on the way out the door.

A note about the pens: I never have any grown-up pens in my room. I have a million pencils and every color of crayon and marker you could imagine–but never any regular pens. It’;s embarrasing when you have to sign an important document with a cherry-scented Mr. Sketch marker. So this year, I fancied up a bunch of pens by wrapping them in yarn and attaching pom-poms and flowers. We’;ll see how many I have left come October.

And here’;s my bulletin board tip of the day: I have been using a lot of black die-cut letters. The staples stood out and were really distracting. So I colored them with a black Sharpie. It was so quick and easy. The staples blend in now. (Okay–maybe not close-up, but they do from a few feet away–I promise!)

I’;m going back in tomorrow and I’;ll be sure to update you on my progress. But now–I’;m going to go watch Project Runway. See you soon!



Hello! I’;m back.

I cannot believe it has almost been a full year since my last post. Last year was a crazy year for me, personally and professionally. Some good, some bad, mostly just super busy. But I never forget about my little blog. I’;m always snapping pictures and jotting down ideas in the hopes of posting again. 

I’;ve been setting up my room this week and decided it was time to stop planning and start doing. So I thought I would take a few pictures every day and show you what I’;ve been up to. 

The first thing I did this year, before I even unpacked one box, was decorate the bulletin board outside my classroom. 

I’;m going with a burlap and brown kraft paper theme this year. And yarn. I’;m digging yarn right now. I don’;t know why. I’;m weird like that. I covered the bulletin board with the burlap ($3.99/yard. Cheap. Even cheaper with a 40% off coupon!). I used a plain black border left over from previous years and crumpled up brown kraft paper strips for a ruffled look. 

I cut the K from a cardboard box and wrapped it in colored yarn. I cut the frames out of random scrapbook paper. Later, I’;ll put black and white pictures of my kids there. (Black and white because color photos would be too busy. LOL).

As a final touch, I strung a garland across one corner. I made the garland by punching circles from scrapbook paper and sandwiching string in between them. I also threaded on pom-poms and styrofoam balls wrapped in more yarn. I love that garland. I made a lot more! You’;ll see it all over my room. (Squee!)

So tomorrow I’;ll show you the area right inside my classroom door. Another bulletin board. And more burlap. Seriously–who chooses burlap as a classroom theme? I think I’;ve really lost it this time. Stay tuned!



And so it begins once again.

The smell of fresh wax. Freshly painted walls. All of my furniture stacked in the middle of the room.

I don’;t think most civilians understand that we have to pack everything up at the end of each year only to unpack it a few months later. Doesn’;t it feel like we JUST did this?

I do love having a fresh start, though. I mix things up just a little each year.

So armed with the necessities.

I’;ve started in.

I’;m not even close to being done. but I thought I’;d share a few sneak peeks. I never posted pictures of my new classroom last year, so this will be all new to you!

Can you tell my favorite color is aqua blue? And lucky me–that’;s the color of my cabinets! So it was meant to be that I move to this school.

As soon as I’;m done, I’;ll post the finished pics. I promise! But for now. sleep.

PS. I just saw this post (kind of) goes along with Blog Hoppin’;s Teacher week today. so I linked up!



But I got all of my stuff moved over from my old school to my new one. In 100+ degrees and crazy high humidity.

I’;ve been in professional development for the last 2 weeks.

Now the real fun begins.

Here are a few Day 1 pictures. It’;s a disaster.

I’;m not going to panic. I’;m not going to panic.

I love, love, LOVE how much storage I have! And I love the pretty teal blue color.

I’;m going to miss my huge windows. I had 4 at my old school. But I love that I have so much wall space. So many places to hang anchor charts! (And that whole back wall is a bulletin board. No more cinder block. )

I’;m going to miss my team at my old school so much! They’;ve been so much more than co-workers. they are my good friends.

But I love my new team and look forward to getting to know them better.

School starts 2 weeks from today!

I’;ll post pictures as I go. Hopefully, tomorrow you’;ll see some progress!

But right now, I’;m gonna go take a hot bath.



How do you organize your books?

I love this question, because I struggled with it for years. For so long, I treated my books like they were priceless treasures. I read them to my class, but wouldn’;t put them out in my classroom library. I was afraid they would get ripped, or bent, or smudged with little fingerprints. I stocked my classroom library with rejects–hand-me-downs or books I picked up at garage sales. Hardly what I would call quality literature.

Then I started reading people like Debbie Miller. I fell in love with Reading Workshop, and all of the sudden, I wanted my kids to READ. Not just the crap books I put out, but rich, deep, engaging literature. I wanted the kids to love reading as much as I do, and I wanted them to fall in love with books. So away went the crappy books and out went my favorites.

Now I don’;t have to store a lot of books, because most of my books are out for the kids to read and put in their book boxes. I have books of every genre out–fiction, fairy tales, leveled readers, magazines, author collections. This year, I set up a whole non-fiction section in another part of my classroom. My classroom library keeps expanding and expanding, like a living, growing thing.

There are some books, mostly holiday books or seasonal books, that only come out for part of the year. They go on this book stand. This picture was taken at the beginning of the year, so all of the back-to-school books are out.

When they’;re not out, I store those books on my bookshelves, but as you can see, there are not that many.

By the way, even though I spend a lot of time establishing expectations for how to treat books (read here), they still get ripped and bent and smudged with little fingerprints. But they get READ!

They are well-loved.

Besides, there’;s nothing a little packing tape can’;t fix!

Next year, I’;m moving to a new school and will have a new classroom. I can’;t wait to set up my classroom library and will post pictures as soon as I can. In the meantime–get those books off your teacher shelf and out where the kids can READ them!



  I cannot post pictures of my classroom yet, because.

  1. Today was the first day of school and it looks like a small tornado hit.
  2. Most of my shelves are completely empty. Seriously, this is how I start school. I don’;t put out anything until we have gone over the expectations for it.

Exhibit A: Art Center

Exhibit B: Writing Center

We learned about crayons. gluesticks and scissors today, so they are now in the table buckets. But we don’;t even have pencils, yet! (We have to learn about the sharp/not sharp bucket–tomorrow!) We will also do the whole dried out marker lesson, and then we will add those to the shelves, as well.

In a few weeks, the shelves will be full of paper, stamps, drippy glue, fun foam, watercolors, even glitter and a stapler! And the kids will be able to use them as they need/want. But the key is laying a strong foundation and going over expectations explicitly. That takes time–but it’;s worth it. The kids become extremely independent.

So, I promise I will get some good pictures of my room soon. In the meantime, here’;s a sneak peek of my new Expedit shelves in the library:

And here’;s a link to last years pictures:

I am exhausted and am off to bed now!

I’;m sure there are lots of finshed rooms over on the Blog Hoppin’; Blog. Check it out! 




I’;m in my classroom today. I’;m trying some new things–we’;ll see how it goes. I got some new Expedit shelves from Ikea–they make me happy. Here’;s my progress so far (pics from my iPhone. sorry). I’;ll post some good pictures when I’;m all done.

Here’;s my big project. See that mess–those are my paper files. I’;m going through them, purging most of it, and making electronic versions of what I can. My goal is to get down to a quarter or less of what you see.  So I’;d better get busy. Have fun in your own classrooms!



I’;m finally back!

I had to take a little blog vacation. I wish I could say that I’;ve been relaxing on some tropical beach, drinking margaritas and reading trashy romance novels. But I know you know what I’;ve been doing, because you’;ve been doing exactly the same thing! I’;ve been teaching 5 year-olds how to walk in line. how to get their lunch tray to the table without dropping it. how to find the next black page in their journal. how to sit on the rug without being a wiggle-bottom. And I’;m exhausted!

But, as promised, I’;m back with pictures of my classroom. As I was taking pictures today (with my horrible, grainy school camera), I realized that 12 days of school really takes its toll on a classroom! Things aren’;t nearly as crisp and clean. there are already so many smudges and stains and messes. Oh well..all in the name of learning, right?

So. Welcome to my room!

I’;m very lucky to have lots of windows!

Here are the cubbies as you enter the room.

Here is my calendar wall. I’;ve really simplified it this year. I’;ll go over my calendar wall and routine in detail in the coming weeks.

Here is Baxter–our class mascot!

We keep our Legos and other building toys in the green bins. 

Here are my shelves with many of my books and other supplies. The tubs on top are full of thematic theme stuff. The kids hang their backpacks underneath.

I’;ve been collecting stuffed animal characters for a few years now.

Here’;s our sink. Sadly, there’;s no water fountain.

Here’;s my teaching table.

Here are the tubs I keep my materials for each day in. I bought them with my PTA money last year. Thank-you PTA!

I keep my guided reading materials in these drawers, sorted by reading group. (Although this year, I hope to do more individual reading conferences with books the kids choose themselves).

This is my Ready to Read and Write center. At the beginning of the year, it’;s a lot of fine motor activities and puzzles. As the year progresses, I add rhyming and other phonemic awareness activities. Then, I add lots and lots of onset/rhyme word work. It’;s kind of a hodge-podge, hence the name!

You may notice that my centers are color-coded. This helps the kids figure out what center they’;re at and which activities they can do. This is our green center!

Our ABC center is red! It has lots of letter/sound activities and ABC puzzles. I will go over each center and the activities in them in the coming weeks.

This is our classroom library. The tree is my favorite thing in the room! It’;s a cat scratch thingy I bought at IKEA two summers ago. (I haven’;t seen them there, lately. Maybe they’;ve been discontinued?) I added the green circles made from scrapbook paper. They’;re attached with magnets, so I can change them with the seasons.

My books are sorted by theme and authors. I’;m going to add more author boxes as the year progresses.

I also have leveled books and a shelf with seasonal or theme books.

Here is the stand I keep my poem charts on.

Here are our book boxes. So cute!

Here is my writing center and word wall. We will add our names and start adding words this week. I like for my kids to be as independent as possible, so I put out almost all my supplies for them to use (slowly, as we learn the expectations for using them!)

Everything is clearly labeled. (I’;ll make my labels available to download. Give me a few days!)

Ahhh. the most popular center in the room: The Art Center! Again–I eventually put out all the supplies for the kids to use independently (although I introduce them slowly. It will be a few weeks before we get the watercolors or glitter out!)

Here is my math center and my soon-to-be-filled Math Word Wall.

Here are tubs of manipulatives–easy access for the kids.

Here are the tubs we use for our problem-solving tools.

Little birdies hold student work.

My teacher desk. which I got rid of last year only to have it forced back on me this year! 

So, now that I’;m settled in, look for regular blog posts again! I will post more problem-solving this weekend. And if you haven’;t posted a link to pictures of your classroom yet, be sure to do so. We would all love to peek!

I hope you all have a wonderful, peaceful, first few weeks of school!


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