Friday, July 22, 2016

Decorating My Classroom (Part 2.5)

After I cut out the Word Wall title and unit numbers this morning, I headed back to school.  I absolutely LOVE the way the title looks with the pocket chart.

I centered my calendar with Command hooks and it looks better.  I also used a black marker to color the bright white hooks.  

I relocated my computer and printer to my podium.  I think it's gonna work better because I always stand up to use it with my Promethean board and my printer is out of sight too.  My document camera is now on a regular student desk.  I need to neaten up the cords and redecorate the front of it.  I think I'm gonna leave the COTTON sign (my maiden name), but the flowers are a little crumpled from being shoved into the storage room.

I still need to finish spray painting my mismatched file cabinets, but I'm contemplating relocating them in the storage room.  It would either look cleaner or more bare.  I won't be able to move my computer any further back because the cord coming from the board is tight now.  Maybe when I neaten up the cords, I can find some slack.

Decorating My Classroom (Part 2)

Well, I went back to my classroom today.  This time the A/C was on and it felt good!!  The only bad thing is they were testing the bells and I realized I only have one more week at home before I go back to work on August 2nd! Ugh!

I stopped by the Dollar Tree beforehand, picking up 2 magazine holders (small, only a little over 8.5"), some party birthday cups (in red, yellow and green) and a new bulletin board border.

These were too cute to resist with their mathy decor.  You can see in the second picture that I put a yard stick next to it so you could see the width.

I have resisted the use of red, yellow and green cups in groups for years.  My Mom used them over 10 years ago in the computer lab at an elementary school.  I plan on using them when students are in groups, each group getting one of each color.  Green means they are doing fine, yellow means they may need help soon and red means they are stuck.  I want my students to learn to communicate and work together, so they must come to a consensus about what they want to ask before they put the red cup on top.  When I get to the group, I will answer questions from one person.  This means that they will have needed to discuss it prior to me coming over.

I used this new border to cover up some of the (ugly) burgundy around this window.  I don't like that the calendar isn't centered.  Right now its held up with strong magnet clips, but I'm going to try to get command hooks to stick to it.

I am the most proud of this section of the room.  I freaking LOVE these colors together and am amazed that they match so well, being made of plastic tablecloth, paper, duct tape (on top of table) and tutu netting!  

The day before, I created many posters, some inspirational (in blue, teal and lime green) and some necessary rules (in yellow, oranges, red and hot pink on another wall).  Some of those posters were found from different sources on the internet.  The 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th posters are from Light Bulbs and Laughter and is a free download.  The "Strengthen a Dendrite" poster was downloaded free from here (as soon as I find the tweet/blog I found the link in, I will give credit...SORRY!).   At the end I will give links to the posters I created for free download.

I love this set of posters about respect and the main color is lime green!  I downloaded it for free from Digital Divide and Conquer.  I printed them two-to-a-page so they are half the size they were designed to be.  I wanted them to line up with the side of my assignment board.

The WELCOME posters on the front of my desk came from Sarah Carter at @mathequalslove.

I have an unhealthy love of pocket charts!  This one is huge and will hold the vocabulary for multiple units.  Each unit is a different color, so there are 5 units shown here.  The remaining units of vocabulary words are in the container sitting on the end of the table.

I've now designed the WORD WALL title and unit numbers and will cut them out with my Silhouette Cameo (a machine that no teacher should be without!!).  You can see the measurements on both the title and the group of unit numbers.  (More pics later...)

This is a view of my assignment board (still waiting on my magnet strips to come in!), the RESPECT posters and the word wall.

The Mathematical Practices are on the posters below the board.  My new last name is on teal chevron party plates above the board and at the top is a sign I made last year.  It says, "Make Yourself Proud".  I think it fits in well with my Growth Mindset approach and inspirational posters.

And of course, we have to have rules and expectations.  Here are posters of the policies: for tardies, for cell phones, for food/drink, for restroom passes and for backpacks and purses.

Still on my list of things to do:
  • Put teacher computer on the podium (large one I built several years ago)
  • Spray paint file cabinets (not inside, even though Magic Erasers help get overspray off the freshly waxed floors)
  • Put up Word Wall title and unit numbers
  • Finish the assignment board, including titles: M, T, W, T, F, Agenda, I Can, EQ, Power Hour Schedule, etc.
  • Draw out the brain (using the projector) and finish Growth Mindset bulletin board
  • Hang my ROBERTS pegboards (4 of the 7 fell using Command velcro, UGH!)
  • And any other crazy idea I can come up with!

Free Poster Downloads (all in PDF form):

Choices, Chances, Changes

Before You Leave

Cell Phone Consequences

No Cell Phones

Challenge & Change


Easy Learning


Fair Is...

Not Willing, Determined

Instead of...

Make Mistakes


No Purses/Backpacks

Restroom Passes

Results or Excuses

Tardy Policy

Food/Drink Policy



Math Anxiety

Relationships & Using a Formula

Sorry about the crazy formatting of the posters.  I wanted to go ahead and publish this post, so I'll work on the formatting later to satisfy my OCD-ness!!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Decorating My Classwork (Part 1)

Today, while my husband went on a fishing trip, I decided to go to my classroom and get some decorating done. I didn't think about it being on the weekend and the A/C not being on!! I had so much to do, so the heat didn't scare me away.  I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish in Google Keep and didn't even consult that list until I thought I was done.  Of the 15 things on my list, I completed 11 plus other things I noticed once I got in there.

For a few years now, my colors have been turquoise, teal and lime green.  Every year I buy new variations of those colors and freshen up the decor.  I found a new pattern of duct tape at Walmart the other day.  It's black geometric designs with turquoise and lime green!  After I added this new light turquoise fabric to a table, I used the duct tape to add pizzazz to the top of the fabric on this table and the lime green one.

Around Christmastime, I bought a whole bunch of pegboards from Target.  I gave my daughters enough to cross-stitch their kids' names and I had enough left over to stitch my new married name.  I chose to sew with 1/8" ribbon in the space around each letter.  I also didn't center the letters to add variety.  I used Command picture hanging strip to stick them to the wall.

This is a 'sketch' of my assignment board.  I wanted to switch up the layout of it this year.  In the past, I've used Washi tape to create the separations between the sections.  Last year I had bought lime chevron magnetic strips that I thought were cool.  I used those to lay out my design.  In doing that, I realized I didn't have enough, so as soon as I got home I looked them up online and ordered 2 pks of turquoise and 2 pks of magenta.  I got them here.  Once I have the three colors, I can finalize my design.  The reason I love the magnetic strips so much is that I can rearrange my board EVERYDAY if I wanted to!!  So much better than taping (that's never straight!) and having to buy more when I want to redo it!

This is a view from my door.  The table on the left under the bulletin board will be getting a tutu skirt around it on the next trip.  A sample of the tutu is shown below.

Because my teacher-neighbor won't be returning next year, I raided his classroom to get tables that matched mine.  I took my mismatched ones over to his old room!  I'm a little bit OCD and last year the tables drove me crazy!!  Now I have 14 2-person tables, which I set up into 7 4-person groups. There is so much room to walk around the tables so I shouldn't be tripping on backpacks all year!

Behind my GATOR flag was a huge mess of blue internet cables.  This was one of the things not on my list but needed to be cleaned up.  It took about 10 minutes to get them either pushed into the ceiling or tucked into the grey sleeves.  It was such an improvement.  I moved my flag into this spot to kinda hide the grey sleeves.  Now I have a huge blank space on that wall.  I look forward to creating something to fill it!

This is one of my MANY pocket charts.  This year I am pulling it back out for a Word Wall.  I have hundreds (no kidding) of sentence strips from Dollar Tree that I will be writing all the vocabulary words on, to place in the clear pockets.  This was another thing not on my list.

I haven't decided what I want to put on this bulletin board.  Last year, I titled it DATA CENTER and put grades (by lunch number) or my list of clicker numbers on there as needed.  Sometimes it contained a new seating chart when I got tired of the current one.  The table held all the handouts for that day, so students would picked them up as they walked in.  It saved time and disruptions by not having to pass papers out.

This board is actually a whiteboard whose surface has seen better days.  I can't even use it without having to spray cleaner on it to get marker off.  I hot glued black bulletin board paper over it to create a Growth Mindset bulletin board I purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers (link).

I'm contemplating whether or not I want to use this owl border for the Growth Mindset bulletin board.  I'll probably create the board then decide.  The colors do match perfectly though!

And finally, a panoramic photo right before I left for the day.  I truly hate the mauve and burgundy countertop and cabinets!  They seriously clash with my awesome blues and greens!!!  If I could cover or paint them, I certainly would!