Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blog Hoppin' Back to School 2014, Tuesday WHERE

Welcome to the second day of the Back to School 2014 Blog Hoppin' Blog Hop! (Say that 10 times fast!)  Today all is about Where-as is Where do you teach?

I teach 5th grade at an elementary school of about 700 students south of the Twin Cities, in Minnesota. 

I have had to stop following some boards on Pinterest and sometimes will even skip reading my favorite bloggers' posts, because their classrooms are just ridiculously themed for me!  They are super cute-but when I think about the time, energy and money put into those classrooms, I cringe.

My room, if it has a "theme" would be bright colors and controlled chaos!  I will give you a quick room tour with the photos below.  School starts after labor day, so I still have 2 weeks to get everything in it's place!

This is the view from the doorway...

You'll notice my desks are in 3 long groups/rows.  Not necessarily my favorite, but it allows me to break the kids into groups easily and it is really the most efficient use of my space!  I need to add my table colors (red, blue, and green) one I get them printed, cut, and laminated!  Found some cute ones on TpT (for free of course) that say "Team color" and I love the idea of being a team!

{We have assessments on Wednesday and Thursday, so I have those piled on the desk, along with a drawing and stickers my son was working on and my pile of "To Do" or laminate and cut!)

Straight ahead from the doorway is my classroom library....A bit extensive, but our school library doesn't offer the amount of variety (genre, reading level, etc.) that my kiddos need.  I should go through a weed out some, but I like the students having options.  I have read many of these, but not all of them! I try to read a book before I recommend it to my students however.

In a wide variety of bins (dollar store, Walmart/Target and some Lakeshore!) sorted by genre and labeled with Guided Reading Level and Lexile on some...
On the huge bulletin boards the plan is to have one for each subject, for charts, information, vocab words, etc.  Stuff on these rotates throughout the year.

I have started one board/area, for the calendar, helpers, and iPad Expectations.  Above those cute baskets that are holding calendar pieces, I am going to put a sign that says "Extra Special Happenings This Month" (or something like that) and I am going to add velcro dots to the fabric.  Each month I can put up little cupcakes with all the birthdays for that month and any special holidays or days off (with the date written on with a wet-erase marker,) so my Managers can move them to the calendar the day of and make sure those students and events get recognized!  **I would like it noted that I wrote the jobs out IN CURSIVE myself...we are trying to push cursive with our students this year, even if not a standard, and I am a bit rusty.  The student's handwriting, whether cursive or not, is a bit atrocious!**

Moving past the library we have one of my reading carpets, I bought this one at at Menard's for ubber cheap and the other one (pic a few down) was donated by a former student's mom!  All the other pillows and furniture I have picked up from garage sales or has been donated by my mother (the pillows she re-covered!)  I am not in love with the BIG pillows, they are going to go this year as soon as they fall apart....I love having little pillows for the kiddos though, especially ones I can throw in the wash every holiday break :o)  The bins on top of the red bench are to house extras of student supplies, as I am moving towards community supplies this year--wish me luck!

Moving on...

This is my back counter, to the right of all this is the pencil sharpener and sink...
Our Parent Teacher Partnership made these shelves as iPad holders last year (our district is 1:1 with iPads.)  I like having my 5th graders keep their iPads in their desks though--they tend to keep their desks cleaner then!--so instead I am using these for their Friday Folders and Early Finishers Folders. Their Friday Folder is their mail folder home each week, and their Early Finisher Folder is just that, a place for them to keep both incomplete work and extra learning activities they are working on if they finish other assignments early.  I got the folders and idea for them from Task Card Corner.

The bins on top are trash bins, for scraps from interactive notebooks and projects, and then my long groups of tables each have 2 community supply bins.  The baskets on the counter are for storing some of those interactive notebooks.  (I am in LOVE with the Science Penguin and her notebooks/resources, so that's what the science ones will be filled with!)

Turning, we come to the other wall of my room...

Book bins and resources; the farthest right bookshelf has our reading basal on it (in case I use a story from it!) dictionaries, whiteboards, privacy partitions, etc.  The crates on the bottom are where I am going to store copies that are printed and just waiting in the wings...I need to label them.  Note the straw baskets and such along the cupboards are extra bins/storage containers I need to store...I have a slight problem with buying/hoarding bins and baskets!  I do need more 8 more books bins, however, and to move the biome example that is sitting there (this was the spot I picked to put it when my 3 year old is in the room "helping" me!)  Not sure what I am going to put on this wall or the bulletin boards that extend to the ceiling, definitely space for anchor charts and vocabulary words.  The light blue fadeless extends past the end of those shelves, to my desk, so I have even more room for anchor charts.  Saw the great idea to put up command hoods and use rings to store the charts, so students can flip through and find what they need!

And then we come to my desk...{insert dramatic music}

Believe it or not, this is the most organized it's ever been!  I got the idea from teacher at the Primary Chalkboard during their YouTube idea hop to layout lessons for the day on the teacher's desk.  INSTEAD, since I have no desk space to spare, trying to keep things actually on my desk to a minimum, I am going to put the next day's sheets and curriculum in the white plastic drawers, to keep myself on track--although they need new labels.   The ugly 30 drawer is going to stay for now, using it to organize my supplies or extras of things we rarely use (i.e. protractors) but NOT for students to grab from--pet peeve!  I am using the primary colored paper bins to collect work as I am ready for it, probably implementing the "highlight your name" technique.  I LOVE the magnetic curtain rod on my file cabinet, but I HATE that it only holds two of those cups from IKEA, if I add a third it falls :o/  Have the pledge to put up on those blackboard under the flag (above my family photos)...Also, can you tell I love MN sports?!

Moving on...

My Smartboard takes up half my white board (grr...) but we bought these chalkboard markers as a team to make the most of our blackboard space, without the mess!  I plan to put my learning targets up here on some cute FREE signs I found from the Caribbean Teacher on TpT.  You can also see my schedule, a work in progress right now!  The crates were a DIY I did last summer, they are still holding strong right now and I use them to store the kleenex and clorox wipes we collect from students.  Stored on top of them right now are posters I know will go up before Open House next week.

As I actually get everything put up, probably the first week of school, I will do a blog post titled something like "Ta-Dah, it's finished!"  You'll notice I use a lot of awesome TpT resources scattered throughout my room and ideas form Pinterest, Blogs, etc....if you have a question about something (where I got it, who made it, etc.) please ask and I will try to credit them!  I am not intending to leave anyone out, I just have too much to credit them all and remember where I got them! :o)

Hope you enjoyed the tour of my classroom....see you again tomorrow!


  1. Hey neighbor! I am over here in Wisconsin. I just sent my daughter on her way to Mankato. What a fun and colorful room! Love the fabric! It is great to blog hop and look at what everyone is doing to get ready for the new school year.

    Renee from The Science School Yard

    1. Thanks Renee! The fabric is from my mother--when I got my first teaching job we opened up the closets in her sewing room (yes, she has her own room for this hobby!) and she gave it all to me!

      I have a few friends who went to Mankato for school, they loved it!