2017-2018 Classroom Tour

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Back to school always makes me feel like a little girl again – a fresh start with shiny new school supplies and a laundry list of goals and resolutions. Of course, one of the best things about being a teacher is getting my classroom set up! 

This year, I have eliminated chairs from my classroom with the exception of my computer station. Each student table has a different seating option: standing desk, stools, cubes, balance balls, or seat cushions at a low table. I’m going to integrate my behavior management and flexible seating to make it more manageable. Students will be in teams each week and will work together to earn points. On Friday, the team with the most points will get to pick their option for the next week first. 

Our school theme this year is “Learning is Our Ticket to the World.” I have decided to use an adventure spin on my door display. I’ll probably change out the pennant banners in October and do something for Halloween. 

This is the view from the door as you walk in my room. To the left are storage cubbies for backpacks and lunch boxes. 

I post any important flyers on our news board as well as our monthly newsletter and calendar, which I purchased from Learning in Wonderland. I also have my classroom information flipbook displayed for now, which I also purchased from Learning in Wonderland. 

This is our reading nook. I use Fountas and Pinnell to level my books. The bulletin board will become home for anchor charts and old morning messages. The smaller bookshelf is new this year. I will be keeping my read-aloud books in there for easy access during units. 

Something I’m really excited about is my new lightbox! I purchased a bundle of inserts for it from Learning in Wonderland (are you seeing a trend?). So far, I’ve just printed transparencies for fall, birthdays, and student of the month. I’m so excited to use it to make my kids feel special for their birthdays and behavior! 

This is my favorite place in my room and where the magic happens! Our stools are new. Right now I have things set out for Meet the Teacher. Behind the table, I keep math centers, my guided reading toolkit, Fountas and Pinnell kit, and some other literacy resources. You can also see our objectives to the left and our Waterford clip chart to the right. Students in our district spend two 20 minute sessions on the computer, and the clip chart helps me track who has and has not gotten their time in. 

Here is our writing station! I change the cards monthly. Right now, I have different writing activities in the paper trays. As students become more independent writers, I will put in different types of writing paper and move away from generated activities. 

And these are just some views from the back of our room. Only two more workdays until go time! 

Five for Friday

Five for Friday Header

New to Five for Friday? Head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching for an explanation.


Before/After Photos

I know I already uploaded pictures of my classroom last night, but let’s be real. Before and after photos always put things in perspective!


This Recipe

I probably make this dinner twice a month, at least. Probably more like three times a month (thrice?). Is there any kitchen appliance better than a crockpot? Well. Besides a Keurig… I think not. I threw this together yesterday morning, thought to myself on my drive home about how much I didn’t want to deal with cooking, then smelled its deliciously Tex-Mex aroma when I opened the door. Bliss. It’s also cheap and decently healthy if you want it to be!


The Daily Five

I’m one of seven first-grade teachers at my school, so we’ve split up lesson planning to simplify our lives. Each person has a subject to plan, but we independently plan interventions and literacy centers depending on where the students are. Our district has a literacy model to follow, and it turns out that The Daily Five jives with it beautifully! I did not use this method last year, but I have heard so much about it in the teacher blogosphere I decided to check it out. Turns out our professional library at school had the first edition, and I will say, I’m a convert. I can’t wait to implement it with my firsties! There are A TON of resources for it online, especially at the Sisters’ website linked in the title above.


THE Wedding Binder

I think I wrote on my last Five for Friday (in July…oops.) about how I was debating about getting a wedding binder or just using The Knot. I don’t know why I was ever unsure, because I am the essence of an obsessively organized pencil-and-paper person. I caved and bought The Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer, and oh my goodness, it is wonderful. I like that it coincides well with The Knot website. Everything is already organized into tabs and it has informational sheets and worksheets to do before, during, and after making big decisions on vendors. Jeff totally loved filling out the wedding color inspiration worksheet with me… 🙂



Have you heard of Songza? It’s like Pandora’s underrated sibling. You get one commercial before your music starts playing, but I think that’s only when using the app. I’ve never heard commercials while using it on the computer, which is saying something because I’ve used it for lesson planning music since my sophomore year of college. It’s not really a new discovery, but I’m listening to it while typing this up and tackling the rest of my to-do list and decided to share the love. You can browse by genre, decade, activity, and mood. My personal favorite playlist on there is Harvest Moon. I can listen to it and pretend it’s fall, which is always a win.

And there’s the week in a nutshell! I haven’t seen much of the outside world, so my five this week is sort of unexciting. I’m sure next week will be much more eventful! Here’s to the last weekend of summer before the next adventure begins! 🙂


Do you use the Daily Five? What’s your experience been with it? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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Classroom Tour 2015-2016!

Whew! It has been a whirlwind two weeks. The beginning of the school year is sort of like Chinese takeout rice: the more you finish, the more there seems to be left. I started casually working on my room two weeks ago, but last week I got Back to School Fever and devoted all of my time to my classroom. You know how it is. I was squeezing in an hour here and there after district workshops, printing and Pinteresting until all hours of the night, questioning my life/classroom choices. Tomorrow is my last day of pre-planning before the kiddos arrive on Monday, and I think I’m pretty much set. All that’s left to do is prep for my lessons, put together backpack tags, and type up some beginning-of-year paperwork. I’m waiting to put nametags and number labels on my tables until Tuesday when my roster is set.

Our school is turning 80 this year, so we’re celebrating with a Hollywood theme! I figured since I have a totally clean slate in my room, I’d coordinate it with the school theme. Some of the products you’ll see in my pictures are ones I made using personal licenses (so they aren’t in my TpT store), and some I purchased from other teacher-authors. You’ll find the link to each product below the picture showing it.

And now… Lights, camera, action! 
Previously, that back wall in the picture above was a green chalkboard with a hunk of showerboard bolted in the middle. With the help of one of the veteran teachers on my AMAZING team, we tore that down and repainted with black chalkboard paint!     Students, parents, and families stopped in yesterday after registration to check out our room, fill out interest inventories, and grab a wishlist star. 🙂

Small group/intervention table…Where the magic happens!

I have a fully functioning SmartBoard. It’s a beautiful thing.
  My behavior/control center board has a transportation clip chart, rules, rewards, noise control and question sign language banners, and popcorn bags to hold good behavior tickets (more on this later). I noticed after the picture was taken that the banner on the left’s parts are out of order. Oops. That’s summer brain for ya.

I ❤ Dollar Tree.
Our reading nook and writing center. And some of my lovely storage.

Yeah, still need to put paper in those trays…
  The view from the rug.

 I’m totally excited about this. I had two of these carts last year in third grade for our interactive notebooks. However, first grade will be different, so I chose to put a cart at each table this year that will hold all the materials for each day. I’ll have six students at each table. I hot glued a plastic cup in the center of a pencil tray (another idea from a different veteran teacher on my AWESOME team!). Each child will have one pencil and one pair of scissors in the cup and one glue stick on their side of the basket. This way, no one is playing with their scissors and making confetti in/under their desk. 🙂

I made a few changes after these pictures were taken, starting with my messed-up sign language banner. I also hot glued number tags for my backpack hooks and hung paper hangers from my ceiling tiles for an activity we’ll be doing on Monday. I’m sure I’ll be making more changes to it in the coming weeks, but this is a great room. I don’t have an attached bathroom, so in its place I have extra storage. Right now, it’s mostly empty, since I haven’t amassed a lot of “stuff” yet, but that should change this year. I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having flooring instead of carpet. The awesome maintenance team put tennis balls on the bottom of all our desks and chairs, so we’ll be quiet and scratch-free! 🙂

If you’re interested in the products you saw above, here they are! The majority of my classroom decor is from one of Clutter Free Classroom‘s decoration bundles, which I highly recommend.

My classroom decor resources:

Clutter Free Classroom Bundle

Writing Center Bundle

Daily Five Clip Chart


What theme are you doing in your classroom this year? Do you change your theme yearly? I’d love to hear your two cents in the comments below!

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