Monday, August 20, 2012

Classroom Tour 2012


I can't even tell you how happy I am to report that my classroom is mostly ready for the students to show up a week from tomorrow. I don't think I've ever had my classroom ready this early. I'm always cutting it right down to the wire and falling into bed exhausted the night before school starts.

But I've worked hard these past two weeks with a goal of finishing my classroom before I have to report back to school tomorrow, so that I am free to harass other teachers and incessantly ask them questions. I'm brand new at this school and I have a lot to learn, so I just hope I don't annoy the other teachers too much. But I'm not going to let that stop me. There's information to be had.

Several times I didn't know if I was going to meet my goal, but Wednesday I sealed the deal and made arrangements with Glitter Man to come and take pictures of my classroom on Friday morning. Ready or not. And yes, I did go in to school early Friday morning to wrap things up and subsequently slid into my 11:00 a.m. deadline ten minutes late. Sweaty and panting. But I was done. Mostly.

Now, shall we take a look at those pictures? If you want a closer look at any of the pictures, just click on one and you'll be taken to a screen of just the pictures in a larger view.


This is my desk and work area. This is where I will collapse in exhaustion once the students leave and I have yet to grade papers and prepare for the next day's lessons.


There's the chair that Stinkerbell put together for me. It's very . . . firm. And I have lots of junk in the trunk, so that's really saying something about the chair. It's from IKEA, but I don't think that's why it's not cushy. It's not cushy because it didn't cost me $250.


I just got that little fridge there. Isn't it adorable? I look at it, and I want to stock it with refreshments, but I'm afraid to plug it in this early on account of the district's Energy Police might arrest me for wasting energy. I'm a chicken butt like that.


My loverly office supply shrine is like a beacon in the night, isn't it? And I love my Skippy JJ and Cookie Monster. We're pretty tight. I don't really care if they're too juvenile for middle school.

If loving them is wrong, I don't wanna be right.


This little bookcase is right by the door to my room. Glitter Man is touring us clockwise around the room and I basically just gypped you out of seeing the front of the room, because I've piled loads of textbooks on the floor that I'm offloading to another teacher tomorrow. It's an unsightly pile, and I want to pretend that it isn't messing with the Juju in my Feng Shui.


Girl Genius helped me put the bulletin board paper and borders up. She's really anal like I am, so we make a great team.


The board is divided into five sections, so we just kept it that way and covered each board individually.

Except the black board used to be orange, but I changed it. Girl Genius and I had words about it. I only hope that she can forgive me, but it was making me twitchy.

I bet you've already spied my IKEA magazine files too, haven't you? I'm going to use them to store math notebooks.  I'm hoping they all fit.


I found the cheapo calendars at Walmart and I'm going to write the daily assignments on them for absent students to reference when they need to get their missed work.

I'm so in love with the polka dotty bulletin board letters. They match my curtains perfectly.


And check this out. This is why I decided to go with curtains. The bookshelves were particle board covered in a 70s wood grain laminate that was peeling off, and lots of places are exposed like this. I tried covering the between sections here with colorful duct tape, but it wouldn't stay on.

Then I had a stroke of genius and came up with this.


My polka dotty bulletin border, that coordinates with my letters, that goes so perfectly awesome with my monsters, is a perfect match for the fabric of my curtains.

So I borrowed Peanut Head's staple gun and Pow! Pow! Pow! It was so much fun, and I love how it turned out.


I found these colorful crates at Walmart (on sale for $3.67 each or something like that), and I'm using them to store student work. I'll put numbered hanging file folders in them and be able to reuse the same folders every year. I so wanted to splurge on the very pretty, very colorful hanging file folders from The Container Store, but it would have cost me $150. For hanging file folders! I have an office supply obsession, but apparently there is a line which I won't cross.

But I'm still sniffling about it. :(


This is the back of my classroom and I have two more white boards back here. I know. I'm so lucky. I forgot to take a picture of my new bottle of Expo cleaner too. It's the gallon size.

I like my boards to be sparkly clean at the end of every day, so I go through a wee bit of Expo cleaner. Like a maniac.

I also have a slight obsession with the markers. I have them in every color and sometimes I write the agenda in alternating colors. Because I can.

Color makes me happy.


My heart sings every time I look at my paper lanterns and poms. They actually serve a purpose besides the cuteness factor too. They have table group signs hanging from them. I like to do group work and these will serve as a reference points for my students to move their desks to.


Love, love, love my vinyl quotes on canvas.

Can you see my number line at the tippy top of that wall? It was sceeeery putting that thing up.


I had to use the "Danger! Danger" Don't step on this step!" step.


A closer look at my favorite quote.


Glitter Man snapped off a shot of me too. At least my sweat has dried by the time he got to me, so you can't see it.


So, funny thing about last week. My side of the hall was being painted early last week, and Wednesday I arrived to find this Wall 'O Plastic in front of my room. I wrestled my way underneath only to find that my door was also plasticized and taped shut. After a brief moment of a suffocating, plastic encased panic, I decided to just go home and take the day off. It was a nice day off too.

Thursday morning I came back with a utility knife and I cut my way in. Then, because I'm a chicken butt, I taped the plastic back down and re masked everything so that I could open and shut my door. I was locked in my room for a couple hours during which I had to pee mightily, but I outlasted the paint job and emerged from my cocoon triumphant.

So tomorrow I report to work officially, and I feel like I've got a jump on things. Bring on the curriculum and planning, baby!

Now my room is painted! Check out my 2013 tour here.

31 comments:

  1. Beautiful & functional! Great job!

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  2. Love your classroom. The curtains are just precious.

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  3. Love your room! I middle and high school; I've discovered that they all secretly love the "little kid stuff" like stuffed critters and picture books and cute stuff on the walls. Also - I like your nail polish. :)

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  4. I swear we are twins...separated by the whole country...LOL
    I LOVE your room and spy some things I may do as well!

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  5. Your classroom is amazing! I'm starting in a new classroom this year and have to set everything up from scratch - I want to steal your entire room and use it! :)

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  6. It looks great, Jill, and your excitement comes through in your post! Great job with the bookcases ~ love the curtains and how you covered up that section with the cork.

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  7. Looking good Jill! Wishing you a wonderful school year!

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  8. Very nice Jill! You are very creative and annal! Have a great start! I have one more week to go!

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  9. Best of luck on the new school year! I have a son who will be in the 7th grade at the same school, alas he isn't in your class. I may be visiting the counselor for a change...

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  10. ^_^ You make me so happy! I was giggling about your stuck-in-the room experience because I have had similar ones caused by the floor waxer. I have also be known to leap barefoot across fresh(ish)ly waxed floors to get to my classroom...

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  11. Way to go Jill! This looks great. I hope your first day back was as amazing as your room is!

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  12. OMG I am exactly the same, but I ma not a teacher. I have however, helped out a number of teacher friends set up their classrooms in the past. Including making the curtains to hide ugly shelves. It looks great!

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  13. Since I don't have my classroom assignment yet (I know, I KNOW!!!), IMA come & sit in your room. Just tell me how to get there!

    Your room is amazing. Great job! I know with your attitude you'll be the hit of the Middle School.

    Have a great new year!

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  14. Wow! What a difference from your before pictures. I'm greatly impressed! =]

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  15. You. Rock.
    I stole your hall pass idea!
    I'm really jealous of the size of your room; we are squished together in a *ahem* cozier arrangement.

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  16. Love it! Where did you get the wire "caddy" for your supplies?

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  17. @ Anonymous, I posted about the supply caddy here http://www.controllingmychaos.com/2012/07/school-supply-caddy.html

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  18. Love your room - It looks cute and colorful but so organised. It feels relaxing too--Jessiejack

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  19. I love your room! Great idea with the curtains! They're adorable!

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  20. Jill! I love, love it all! Your classroom is amazing. Your writing style is so funny and I can almost hear your voice as you are typing. I love the curtains and I think your cookie monster and Skippy JJ are fantastic. The number line is so an absolute must and I wanted you to know I bought a clothes line just liike Julie did and I'm going to try it out! Your enthusiasm is infectious and I am so happy for you! YOu will be the best math teacher in that whole school. I laughed uncontrollably when I read your hall pass sign! Tell us all how that works out! : ) Have an absolutely awesome year. You rock!

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  21. Love your office space. I just know from reading your blog posts we would be BFFs if we were in the same area or school. You are hilarious! I'm apparently the comic relief at my school. :) I've been brainstorming and pinning away all day for August, well, actually July. Lol

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  22. Love your room...and "borrowing" a couple of your ideas!

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    1. Feel free. After all, that's what we teachers do. :)

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  23. I want to move into your room, I'm jealous ! I love the idea of desk calendars for absent students...I've erased so many times my laminate HW chart..no more! What is the assess your self sign for? Can I see a closer up version of that?

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    1. I know what you mean. I used to do the dry erase calendar, but I don't like having to clean it every month. Plus, this way students have a running record of assignments we had. My Assess Yourself Sign is to get students to think about their level of knowledge. I've took it down because this year I'm using something else. This is what I'm using this year. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Rate-Yourself-Poster-and-Student-Notebook-Copy-834104 I plan to use it with exit slips and for formative assessment.

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  24. Hahaha Jill! I would do exactly the same thing with the plastic on the door! More than once, I have been denied access to my room during the summer. I just had to get creative and work around it! I used to go in two weeks before school started and work all day, every day. (However, I was exhausted when school actually started!) Now, I go in on rainy summer days and it still is done when the kids come! P.S. This is my 36th year of teaching! I still love it!!!

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    1. I started going in a little bit in July and still haven't spent a full day at school. It's much easier that way. I'm hoping to get my room completely finished this week, just going in for a few hours three or four days. Wow, 36 years! I don't know if I'll last that long. It's the most stressful job I've ever had.

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  25. I saw your whiteboad (lunch/behavior/Attendance)... What size board did you use? What did you use for letters and the numbers on the magnets? I didn't see it on your 2012 Tour, are you still using it? Thanks for some great ideas.

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    1. My board is approximately 36" x 24" and it is bigger than it needs to be. You could get away with a smaller board. I've seen teachers use cookie sheets and it works fine. I started out writing the numbers on my marble magnets, but then I went to vinyl cut numbers sealed with a coat of Mod Podge (the Sharpie numbers wear off over time). I'm not still using the board because I moved to middle school last year. Now I take attendance on my Seating Chart App on my iPad. If I were still in elementary I would still be using the board though. It was awesome!

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