My Classroom

My classroom is the clearest look into who I am as a teacher and what I've learned these first ten years in education.  With that said, I took these photos on a random Monday afternoon in October.  They aren't Open House pics, first day of school pics, or even special day pics.  They are, in essence, Just Mrs. Jones, and I hope they give you some idea of what it feels like to teach and learn in my classroom.
A couple of years ago, I switched to a binder system for my units rather than a file folder system.  Granted, it took me until this August to clean out the file cabinets of old lesson plans but I haven't regretted the shift one bit.  I got my binders on clearance at Staples originally, but I've also been able to build my collection with a pretty good deal at Amazon here. My dad built the mailbox system on the left and I LOVE it.  While I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a handy man for a dad, I highly recommend a similar system.  It keeps both me and the students (mostly) organized!

The number line around the top of my classroom is a great addition to an upper elementary math classroom.  It visually represents divisibility (factors and multiples) and we refer to it for multiplication, division, and fractions.  I purchased it at a Kim Sutton workshop (Creative Mathematics) but it can also be bought online here.  My student coat closets have traditional sticker charts on them.  We add stickers at the end of the day based on our final balance of Class Dojo points.  If you haven't checked out Class Dojo, you must!

You'll notice in my classroom there are a LOT of class novel sets and also that they are all stored in plastic containers (that closet is full of them too).  One year I used gift cards from my students after the holidays to start my collection, and it's been really nice having a uniform way to store them.  It also makes it easy for other teachers to borrow and return.  This wall also features the commonly used 12 Power Words (google it!) for test taking that I incorporate into my novel units and my early finishers corner that I will soon discuss in another post.

I am very fortunate to work in a school that has a Promethean or Smart Board in every classroom.  You'll also notice I situated the interactive board with my reading corner so that the carpet could serve a double purpose.  This corner is made cozier with my lamps from Goodwill.

I couldn't teach without my table at the front of the classroom to keep myself organized. I love to use cloth tablecloths in the classroom because they can be taken home and washed easily.  I try to snatch them up when Target has end-of-season clearance in the picnic section.  I got the wall decals off a Living Social deal (they run these often!) and had my sweet sister apply them for me.  Finally, all my boards and cabinets (not just the bulletin boards) have a border, which gives the room a finished feel pretty inexpensively.

My front wall includes our current anchor charts as well as a student-friendly countertop with a turn-in station (love those Dollar Spot baskets!), our current novel, notebook paper, extra index cards for vocabulary, our little math station caddies (another Dollar Spot find!) and so much more.  I can't wait to blog about these items individually. 


Speaking of anchor charts, this is where they come from.  I love these Post-it tablets and while they're expensive, they were about the only item that could convince me to create anchor charts on a regular basis (but that's another post).  The file cabinet in the corner is very old and some of the drawers only come open with a hearty jerk, but that doesn't mean it can't look good with my contact paper makeover.  Also notice the messy board games-- a must for indoor recess!  I used to keep them all piled in a bins but have since realized these "shoe" organizers are a much better choice because the kids can't dump them back in sideways and have all the pieces fall out in the bottom.

I have an unusually large desk area for just me, but I find that the easily recognizable boundary keeps me sane during transition times.  It also helps me to focus before and after school and on workdays since it feels like a mini-office.  My U-shaped table in front allows for more student interaction and is where I actually end up most of the time if I'm sitting during the day.  You'll also notice the purple paint on the back of the bookshelf.  Using leftover paint in this way is a cheap and fun way to spruce up old classroom furniture!  This corner is where you can find me until way too late every evening...

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