Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to School and a Classroom Tour

All the kids went Back to School this week, and I barely managed to pull my room together in time. Honestly, I don't know where the time goes.

Pinterest is where I found the idea for the signs the girlies are holding. That ding dang website is giving me more ideas than I can ever hope to implement. It would be frustrating if it weren't so blinking inspiring. Now I have Inspiration Induced Frustration.

Just what I needed. Another condition to suffer from.

I found this idea on Pinterest too. It's my sort of hideous, but super fun Back to School manicure.

Some people couldn't tell what my nails are actually supposed to be, although I'm sure you know. I've received a lot of pained smiles with the question "Are those your school colors or something?" Humph. In the tone of voice which implies "I'm so sorry."

Okay, fine. They are supposed to be pencils. Get it? The tips of my fingers are the erasers. The silver is the clampy part that joins the eraser to the pencil.

I think my manicurist really outdid herself. I took my Pinterest picture in to her, and she very graciously humored me.

I've had quite a few requests to do a classroom tour post, and since I've been working on my classroom for the past two weeks, I figured it's only going to look worse as the year goes on, so I'd better take some pictures now. Ready or not.

These are the built-in cubbies as you walk into my room. The cubbies are great because the student desks don't have enough room for all their books and their stuff.

These cupboards and drawers are right next to the cubbies. I love all the storage I have in this classroom. Peanut Head loves it too, because that means the stuff isn't stored in our garage anymore.

More room for Christmas decorations, whoo hoo!

I'm sorry this picture is so dark. We can thank the windows for that. This is my classroom library. 

I've posted about this magnetic board before. It's where my students make their lunch choice every day by putting their number magnet in the box for their choice. Any numbers that are left on the grid represent absent students. This gives me the lunch count and the attendance all in one tool. I also post the students who have Hall Monitor duty and Peer Tutoring, and it serves as my behavior management tool as well. If a student receives a warning, they move their magnet into the yellow zone. If they get in trouble again, they move their magnet into the Red Zone of Consequences and then have to fill out a Pink Slip and take it home to be signed by a parent. I've been using this board for the past two years, and it is my absolute favorite classroom management tool.

The red rectangles sticking out of my bookcases are my new library guides. I love them now, but it was one of those projects that involved some trial and error. Okay, a lot of trial and a lot of error.

If you want to make some library guides like these, you can find the instructions and digi graphics here. I know a lot of teachers group their books by level and/or subject, but I group mine by author, so this works great for me.

I also have number images in the same style that I used for numbering my cupboards, and you can find those in the same post.

This is my desk area, and I have to say it's not at its tidiest here. I literally ran out of time and ended up taking some considerably large piles and shoving them under my desk. I have impressive problem solving skillz.

Oh looky. I see a pile oozing out of that corner on the floor too. Perhaps I'll tend to it over the Thanksgiving break. Or not. It's good to have goals even if they are unrealistic.

Janae, the Vinyl Magician did all my white board vinyl for me. It's a huge time saver to have that stuff on the board. I love it.

I have plenty of bulletin boards too. I'm not a big fan of changing my bulletin boards. I like them to be functional, and I don't like the time involved in changing them. Therefore, I tend to put them up and keep them up.

I did make some changes this year though, because they were starting to make me twitchy. That, and change is fun, isn't it?

I love monsters, so I had to add some new monster borders that I bought a year ago and never had the time to put up. Since I was changing the borders anyway, I decided to put up some Cookie Monster blue butcher paper too. Cookie is my favorite monster.

I've been wanting to do a math bulletin board for a long time. I'm always harping on the kids about their units, as Harrison so eloquently illustrated in his cartoon. I even put pictures above the bulletin board of the Mars Climate Orbiter and its intended trajectory as compared to its "Oops, my bad because my disagreeing units made me crash the gazillion dollar satellite" picture.

I just love beating dead horses like that.

The only reason the calendar ended up where it is, is because I didn't want to go to the trouble of moving the Six Traits of Good Writing board over a few feet.

You can't even tell that I cheated on that one, can you?

If you can, please just lie. I choose denial.

The yellow bulletin board says "Fancy Words," and it was lifted right off of Pinterest.

I mean it was inspired by Pinterest.

Janae has been cutting a lot of vinyl for me lately, and this one is my favorite. I'll do another post to show you the rest, but I haven't gotten it all put up yet. If you want this one, Janae can hook you up with it for $21.50 here.

By the way, this idea came from Pinterest too.

My name is Jill and I'm a Pintaholic.

Do you remember these hall passes I made last year? Well duh, I didn't think to make a general hall pass for the times when a student needs to go to the office. Or another classroom, or whatever.

So I had to make another little bonus hall pass.

This one is a little sign that the kids get to wear around their necks.

It was inspired by this cartoon.

Believe or not, it is the most popular hall pass. Students choose to wear it instead of take one of the other cutesy passes, because they like the attention they get when they wear it. It's not the Potty Prancers, but we like it just fine.

UPDATE: I have posted an updated version in an obnoxious size here, complete with a link where you can order one for yourself.

I also have my 2012 Classroom tour up here. I'm now teaching 7th and 8th grade math in a middle school.

2013 tour is up here.


  1. lol, i love your hall pass.

    we go back to school next week.

  2. Look at you, all teachery and everything, Jill! : ) Very creative manicure, although, I'm sorry to say I thought you were doing an ode to candy corn. Duh! It's not even October yet and who does a candy corn manicure before October! I think you look quite organized and I love that vinyl about Grandpa. I've seen that before, too, and I think it really gives a good example. Great hall passes - I'd choose the frivolous errand one, too.

  3. Okay, you got me with the pencils...I, too, thought it was candy corn until you explained it! And my favorite part of your classroom is the "Let's eat, grandpa!" vinyl......
    What a great classroom, and I know you are a fantastic teacher!! GREAT tour. Have a good year!


  4. Such a great classroom to come back to school to!!!

    Love the nails! Ya I saw those on pinterst. I've managed to waste an incredible amount of tome there!

    Have a great year!

  5. I think I love you... and IMA sit in on your classes!!

    Your passes are a hoot.... Don't know if we'd get away with the PP Shoes.... hahahahahhaa

    Love the Let's eat, Grandpa saying....

    Saw your Order of Operations... Do you use Aunt Sally? PEMDAS - Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

    Nice nails - and ummm... I DID get it... lol

    Love the magnetic board too...

    But most of all... please tell me you DON'T have 32 kids in your class... really? Lord help you!

  6. Love your classroom, it is so organized! I am also a huge pinterest fan and it is becoming a serious addiction! Love, love, love the nails but I could not guess what they were until you said what they were supposed to be and now I can't believe that I couldn't see that! It is actually sooo blatantly obvious! :)

  7. I adore your library organizers- please post them! I've pinned your idea!

  8. I would LOVE to have your library sticks. :) Please, pretty please!

  9. Love your classroom management board and the hall pass! I'm insanely jealous of your large classroom; mine has 30 desks crammed into a space about the size of my master bedroom.
    Hope you have a great year.

  10. GREAT post! I love all the photos. I knew exactly what you were doing with your nails the second I saw them and I think it's awesome!!! So tempted to try it myself. :)

  11. Thanks for this post! I love your classroom.

  12. Where did you get your teacher desk??

  13. Lookin good! I hope you are having a great start to your year:-)

  14. Love the hall pass idea! I blogged about you! :)


  15. Where oh where did you get the cubby/Shelving unit?? I need I need.. just what I've been looking for!!

  16. @Kari, The cubby shelving unit came with the classroom. I'm sorry to be leaving all the fabulous storage in this classroom too. :(

  17. Oh my! I love the vinyl lettering everywhere, and the amount of space and storage you have in your classroom!! it's wonderful!! :)

  18. I love the amount of space and storage you have in your room (including that awesome teacher desk), and the vinyl lettering is awesome!!

  19. How did you make your hallpass that hangs around their neck? I LOVe it and need one for my classroom.

  20. @Leah, I cut down a piece of corrugated presentation board (in the school supply section of many stores), covered the edges with duct tape, made holes to insert my plastic necklace string and printed my message on an 8-1/2 x 11 piece of paper. I completely covered the sign with clear packing tape to adhere the paper and to protect it from splashes. It was relatively easy.

  21. Your room looks great!! I took the manicure idea from Pinterest down to my toes... :) They were actually afraid they couldn't get all three colors on my smaller "piggies" so I opted to make them the solid pink color.. I actually think yours turned out better than the ones on Pinterest. :)

  22. happened upon your blog from Pinterest...awesome ideas! I'm not ready to go back but looking at your room inspired me a bit! love the hall pass~hilarious!

  23. Where did you get the number magnets or did you make them?

  24. @Anonymous, I made the number magnets using colored stones (found in the floral section of my craft store). I hot glued strong button magnets on the flat side, and wrote the number on the rounded side with a Sharpie.

  25. I love your nails! At first, I thought they were candy corn, but I realized they were pencils before I read further. I also love your grandpa sign. Awesome room! I'm a middle school math teacher who struggles with creativity and organization, but I'm getting better. Thanks for the tour.

  26. Your room is amazing! I found you through The School Supply Addict. Great ideas!



  28. Can you tell me how you made the hall passes??


  29. Loved your nails! I knew right away that they were pencils! I am envious of all the storage space you have! My classroom is so small and hardly any storage!I found your blog from pinterest and I am addicted as well!

  30. How did you do the vinyl lettering on the wall? (quotes and let's eat grandpa) Did you make them with Cricut machine or order them somewhere? My principal wants to have quotes like that above serveral doorways this year in the hallways. Can you tell me how?

    1. I had my vinyl cut professionally by thoughtsinvinyl.com It is very reasonable, and she gives you a proof before she cuts anything.

  31. Love your classroom, especially your math bulletin board. May I ask where you got the posters for it? Thanks!

    1. Thank you! I'd like to tell your where to find the posters, but I've been collecting them for years from various different places. I'm sorry. :(

  32. I love your classroom! The passes at the end are classic!

  33. I'm going to be teaching 6th grade next September. I love your classroom ideas. They are very helpful to me as I have only taught 1st grade. It's a big change for me and this blog helped me have a mental image of what a 6th grade classroom should look like.

  34. I'm going to teach 6th grade next year coming from 1st grade. Thank you for your ideas. I needed a mental image of how a 6th grade classroom should look.

    1. I hope your year is going well. Did you get your room set up the way you wanted it set up?

  35. Wow! I thought I had ideas and was organized. This is inspiring. Thank you for sharing.