Wednesday, October 9, 2013 my home away from home!

You know how teachers joke around about how their students think they "live" at school?'s closer to the truth than I'd care to admit sometimes.   I spend an average of 11-12 hours at school (sometimes more, sometimes less) a day during the week and then I usually come back on Saturday or Sunday for a good chunk of time to get ready for Monday.

The past two nights, I was literally giddy over the fact that I left work at or before 5:00.
State testing= less planning for the next day.  
Really the only perks of standardized testing.

The reason I bring this up.....I spend a lot of time in my classroom, so I want it to be comfortable, inviting, appealing, colorful, organized, and a reflection of who I am.

So I bring to you very first.....


Please note that all of these photos were taken the week before school started, so everything is new and clean and neat and organized.   And while it's still neat and organized (I wouldn't have it any other way), it's definitely more "broken into" like a new pair of shoes after a month of wearing them.

Warning:  An obnoxious amount of photos are to follow.  I just love my classroom that much.

View of the front of the room

View from the door toward the "window side" of the room

Standing in the front, looking toward the back of the room

And the last full view- to the "cubby side" and doorway

Cubby Wall

All the cubbies are loaded up with the student supplies, ready for the first day!
Above the student cubbies are all of my Reading Street teaching resources (we got a TON of stuff for this new curriculum!). 
On top of the cubbies are totes of all of my extra books.
I'm kind of addicted to buying books for my class....:)

As you can probably tell, I heart organization.  All of my Reading Street resources are now organized by unit and reading level.
Such a time saver!

I provide my students with five colored folders and label them ahead of time. 
(The past two summers I've bargain shopped and got them for a penny each!)
This is one of my favorite organization tips that lasts the entire year.  Papers for every subject have a place, and with a quick scan of the room I can tell which students have out the correct folder!

I put everything they need in their cubbies before the first day: all of the books, workbooks, notebooks, folders, planner, clipboard, etc. are numbered and ready for them. 
These do NOT stay in their cubbies-- that would require way too much getting out of their seats and wasted transition time.
Within the first couple days, all of this (except for the clipboards) will be brought to their desk.  This process provides a great opportunity to practice efficient procedures.
Next to the cubbies is a small bulletin board, with a weekly calendar of events, reminders about our Michigan Miles, and a few signs with inspirational quotes.
Michigan Miles are a behavior reward program we came up with years ago to have the students "earn" their trip to Fourth Grade Camp.  They earn miles through good behavior, turning in homework on time, and getting their planner signed.  It's been a great motivator for the kids!

Another sign next to the door.....a list of what students can do when they're done with work.  These "May Do" activities aren't choices every day, but often enough to keep up as a reminder.

Front Wall

One of my bulletin boards up front.....with my calendar/birthdays, jobs board (which I explained in this post), and Social Contracts for my homeroom and math classes.
On the table in front of this board are some free choice activities- Hot Dots, writing prompts, and math facts practice activities.
You can get these calendar pieces at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.   :)

On this side of my board-- Volume Control (freebie here), the poster where I list each day's homework assignments for students to copy into their planners, a pocket chart for our daily schedule, and a few other signs for reference.

Right in front of the board-- my Elmo/Projector table, covered easily with some chevron fabric (see more about that process here).

On the left side of the board-- my daily objective frames (read more about these here and here), a spot for missing work stars, behavior clip chart, and SLANT reminder poster.

My other bulletin board....Reading Street Concept Board and posters with literary elements and different genres of literature.

This part of the board changes every week.....if you teach 4th Grade Reading Street, go to my TpT store to find these Unit and Weekly Question signs!

Window Wall

My classroom library....and there are more book boxes in the front of the room.
Did I mention I am addicted to books?  ;)

Above the bookshelves is my "Moral Focus" wall.  I teach at a charter school with a Moral Focus and Citizenship component.  We teach the Core Democratic Values along with Moral Virtues.  Each month, this display changes but the CDV posters above it stay there all year.
Sorry this is so blurry-- I tried getting everything in the picture.  I should know better by now!

The dull and sharp pencil cans I made from metal buckets I found at the Target Dollar Spot last summer.  Love these!  And with my new pencil sharpener (described in this post), I start each day with a supply of perfectly sharpened pencils for the kids to trade.

I had to include of the few things I still have (and use) from my first year of teaching.
A shoe box, covered with contact paper, having seen better days, but still serving its purpose.
Students write compliments to each other when another student does something for them that they want to recognize.  I read these at our weekly class meetings, and give the students their compliment slips to keep.  Those little pieces of paper mean a lot to many of the kids.
And they mean a lot to me, too.

The front corner of my room-- storage for supplies (read this post about the labels I created), class rules/consequences/behavior reminder posters, and my bookshelf that I wrote about in this post.
(Yikes....I apologize for the blurry pictures-- my classroom has some areas of low light)

Two motivators-- Homework Stars and Catching Compliments.
I'll write more about these two things in a future post.  :)

Back Wall

On my back counter....drawers for organizing my supplies/copies for each subject area, and the binders/resource books/Teacher Editions I need for planning.

The file box is for "Extra Papers"-- I make a couple extra copies of homework assignments, study sheets, spelling lists, and reading logs for students who lost theirs.
Proudly displaying my two diplomas as well!

Close up of this Command Center--- Bandaids, Travel Passes (basically like a hall pass),  Lunch Parent Reports, and Behavior Notes.

My second microwave with lunch supply tub on top, and the filing cabinet that I beautified this summer (as described in this post).

Reading Area.....lots of comfy pillows to read comfortably around the room during silent reading time.   I even have a student whose one job is to keep the pillows organized. 
I'm a little OCD like that.  :)

Right above the reading Star of the Week board (which isn't bare anymore) and my "bed" of Scooby Doo dolls.  Many gifts from many students over the years. 

Next to gallery-wall of  "Wise Words".  Most found via Pinterest.
This came to be after changing my objective frames to plastic magnetic ones.....I took the glass out of the remaining ones and used the frames to go around some laminated signs.
I did the same with a couple cheap Target frames too (glass taken out for safety reasons!)...
One of my favorites.  :)
And finally.....a Welcome Sign that I whipped up an hour before our Parent Orientation this summer.  Because for some reason I needed to do one more crafty project....
Phew!  If you made it to the end of this tour, I congratulate you.
And thank you.
And am impressed by your stamina.....and patience.
As you can probably tell, I love my classroom.
I should.....since I kind of "live" there.  :)


Erin T said...

It looks great!! We're just finishing off our school year here in New Zealand - got testing for the next two weeks, then Christmas stuff - But I'm loving all the ideas that are coming in for how I will set up my room in January next year!!
Thanks for sharing, it really does look amazing!!
The E-Z Class

Michelle Lehan said...

Thank you, Erin! Crazy how different our school schedules are....good luck with the end of your school year!

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