Is it too late to do a classroom tour?

by becky on January 19, 2013

Hi Everyone! This post is obviously several months late, but I figure better late than never. I decided to take pictures of my classroom this week, just because I know it’s fun to peek into other teacher’s classrooms. I need to apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures. I did take them with my camera, but I was having a heck of a time getting the pictures to take clearly. Idk, maybe it’s time to start researching new cameras. Last year, I had a pretty consistent black and white polka dot theme. I still wanted polka dots, but was sort of over the black dots. I had had it up for 3 years and felt I gave it a good go. :)

Over the summer, I felt my inner Punky coming out so I purchased every version of this border I could find. I liked how it still had the polka dots, but that they were colored.

I knew that this theme or rather color scheme has/had the potential to go overboard, but I wanted to try it out anyway. Well, I have to say, it did go overboard and since the beginning of the year, I have actually changed several things in my classroom to “tone” it down. Now, I finally feel like it’s a happy classroom that isn’t overstimulating to my students. (more about that later)

Let’s start with my Back to School Bulletin Board. This, I loved! Colorful, fun, and just the right amount of polka dots! :)

I decided that in my room we’ll start with the teacher corner and then make our way around to the right.

Nothing too special here. I had some posters up behind my desk, but I was feeling cluttered a few weeks ago, and took it all down. But, do you see the awesome White Sox bench? It was a gift from a student last year. Isn’t it cool? It’s actually a toy box and currently it’s storing our class’s Kleenex supply.

Directly next to my area is the beginning of the Literacy Wall which houses my Reading and Writing Focus Walls. In this picture you see my “Books of the Month” display (this month is math) and next to that is the container that stores all my focus wall posters. Above these is my Book Nook daily schedule (I change this once a week) and our weekly vocabulary words.

Here is the whole room overview of my Reading and Writing Focus Walls. As you can see, I’ve separated them with different colored borders. So, let’s talk about my black curtains that are hanging below my counters. Originally, I found some suuuper cute, pink fabric with white polka dots. Think Minnie Mouse. I convinced my mom to sew them for me and when I was setting up my room over the summer they were one of the first things I put up. They were so cute! But then, as I kept Punky-ing my room, I started getting this feeling that it was becoming too much. I kept going and kept asking everyone if it was too much and they all assured me it looked happy and fun. So, I kept it. I even asked my principal to peek in and make sure the pink wasn’t too much for boys. He told me to keep it like it was because it gave the room life. In fact on the first day of school as he was coming around to each classroom he to say hi to the kids, he told my kids they were lucky to “be in such a fun, colorful classroom for fourth grade”, lol.

The reason I tell you this story is because there is such a thing as too much and in my gut I knew it. For the first 3 weeks of school, I thought I had left planet Earth and moved to planet Cuckoo for Coco Puffs. Plus, I kept having an unsettling feeling every time I came in the room. Well, one day while I was looking for some poster I found my old polka dotted curtains folded up. I pulled them out and held them up to my counters. Instantly, I felt calmer. No joke. I mean it. No joke. So, when the kids were at specials, I switched the curtains out and I kid you not, when they came back from specials it was like they were a different class. It wasn’t until the “normal” behavior continued for 3 days in a row that I decided it was the curtains. I even had the specials teachers comment on how much better my kids were behaving. I told them it was the curtains. I think most people looked at me like I was crazy, but I know it was the pink curtains. They just overstimulated ALL of us in Room 19. And it wasn’t pretty. Once I put up the black, it just calmed it all down. Since then, I switched out a few more things and gave it a black design just because I’m weird about how it all looks. Now when everyone is seeming hyper, I know they need extra recess. I just felt soo guilty since my mom took so much time to make them for me. I wasn’t going to tell her, but being the catholic girl I am, I couldn’t keep it from her. I think I just blurted it out one night at dinner because I didn’t want her to see any pictures and realize I had changed them out. She was totally fine with it, but I just felt bad that I had wasted her time. The moral of the story… colorful is good. Crazy colorful is just plain dangerous. ;-)

Back to the tour…

This (along with the vocabulary chart) is my Reading Focus Wall. It’s more condensed than last year, but just as effective.

This is my Writing Focus Wall where I display the Genre of the Month, Grammar Skill, Mini-Lesson poster, and our Writer’s Workshop pencil.

Here is my Independent Reading Corner. It houses all the Independent Reading Report forms, and their report due dates. I will be posting more about how I run this in a few weeks.

This corner is a continuation of my Writing Resources and is leading into my Math Wall. On this wall, you will find the different reading and writing genres, publishing materials, additional genre related anchor charts, and the posters hanging next to the chalkboard are my class’s reminders of what to do during certain steps of the Writing Process.

These shelves house our Book Return, a few Math Games and manipulatives, and my class’s supply bins. These bins are from The Dollar Tree and they house all my student’s art materials: scissors, glue, crayons, markers, etc.

Not the most organized, but you get the point :)

Now, we have the main focus area of my classroom. If you remember last year, I had some trouble with my math wall and after a PTO event where a school carnival was held in teacher’s classrooms, my math wall had completely fallen down. This year, I was determined not to have that happen to me again. Enter duct tape. :)
Each section is a different domain. So far, nothing has even remotely fallen down. Yay! Below the math boards, is my classroom library. It used to only take up 2 books cases, now as you can see it can easily take up one whole side of a wall. At least I never hear my kids say they can’t find any books to read. :)

Now we are at the front of the room where my whiteboard is located. Above it I have my Birthday dots, How we head our papers, our Specials Schedule, Signals and % posters, and number line.

Next to my white board I have my calendar, daily schedule, and job dots. Not a huge fan of this section, but it is what it is and there is always next year to change things up, lol.

I don’t like to keep a ton of things on my actual white board since I use it for a lot of my lessons, but I do have our classroom behavior and reward system in view for the students.

And, what would a public school classroom be if there wasn’t a place for lesson targets to be posted. Over the past year and a half, I have had them displayed several ways, paid a ton of money on pre-made objectives, and finally found something I love. I glued a target for each subject on white board posters and daily use a dry erase marker to write what we are learning for that school day. Simple, easy, inexpensive, and just as effective as any other method.

Finally, we have the last wall of my classroom. It’s truly the “eye sore” of my room. The old school coat racks take up the majority of this wall. I have my students keep their book bins for reading and writing workshop on top of the shelf and the rest of the unused space is storage for my math materials. Above the shelf,  I put the butcher block paper up because it was the only wall without any color and it just looked blah. But, as you can see, I haven’t added anything much to it and it’s already January. I thought about putting up Science and Social Studies topics but we have so many and we go through them so fast, I just don’t want it to be cluttered. So, instead, it’s blank, green, and says “failure”. j/k. I’m sure the last week of school I think of something and it will tie everything together. Anyone have suggestions for the green monster?

Well, that is an overview of Room 19. It’s my home away from home. I hope you had fun peeking into my room! If you have any questions about anything you see, just let me know. Have a great weekend and enjoy your day off on Monday!

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