Thursday, August 4, 2011

Clutter-Free Classroom: Word Walls - Setting Up the Classroom Series

This is another must-share from Clutter-Free Classroom! We're required to have word walls now (which brings mixed feelings to me). Regardless, this page has some good ideas on how to set up your word wall in different areas of the classroom.

Let's get crafty!

I mentioned in my previous post that I spent some time with my old college roommate that is also a teacher. She changed schools this year and her new school does a different theme with each grade level. I think this is a really cool idea, but changing things every year can be a pain and can also get expensive. My school has done themes 4 of my 5 years and it's been fun, but I've also learned not to go too overboard with my theme decor. For my friend's grade level, they had a candy theme. It's very cute, but as you might guess, there's not much already made that goes along with this theme. The teachers were very creative at coming up with cute ways to tie the theme into their decor. Another good friend of ours found this candy themed idea online, so off we went to one of my favorite places... Hobby Lobby! The lanterns were found in the party supply area and came in 3 packs with 3 different sizes per pack. Two of the packs were $6.99 and the other was $7.99 (it had a slightly larger sided lantern). We also purchased two rolls of cellophane, and two rolls of cute polka dot ribbon.

Making the "candies" was definitely a two-person job. We wrapped the lanterns twice in cellophane and then taped the seam and wrapped tape around the ends where the ribbon would eventually go. We had one "fatty" lantern that required more cellophane, but in the end it all worked out quite well! We made 9 candy lanterns altogether, hanging them in 3's in the classroom and outside the classroom doors.
Here you can see the candies floating above the reading area. Aren't they cute?!? I believe the total cost lingered below $40 and the lanterns can be unwrapped and used again with a non-candy theme. I love that they add a pop of color to the room and tie in to the theme without being over the top. We also concluded that with the candy lanterns in front of the window that purchasing / making little curtains was no longer necessary.

Need some inspiration?

I took a week or so off from blogging for a much anticipated summer vacation. I usually prefer to go on vacation earlier in the summer so that I can focus on getting school stuff done right now, but this year it just didn't work out that way. Anyway, while I was away I spent time with my college roommate who is also a teacher. She was changing schools, so I offered a helping hand while I was there for a visit. While her classroom wasn't quite finished, I snapped some photos to share. She is probably one of the most organized people I know and her classroom is a great example of this. I really do believe that an organized teachers leads to (hopefully) organized students. I know from my own experience having that structure and getting the kids started with a good system from the start makes a world of difference. I know I was inspired by working in her classroom to get mine in shape!

As a side note, I have to say that I wish my classroom could look this nice! I AM SO JEALOUS OF HER WALL SPACE!!! If you've look at the pictures of my classroom you can easily see that I have virtually no wall space to work with and I that I have to get creative with how I use the space in my classroom. It sometimes drives me crazy that I seemingly have stuff all over my room, but I've just settled upon the fact that I have to work with what I've got, even if it's not what I would pick!

Okay, enough with my rambling... Here are the pics. Remember, this isn't my classroom and it wasn't quite complete when I was visiting. (Her bulletin boards are still pretty bare in these photos.)
Reading corner... As with the ones in my classroom, the chair and rug are leftovers from our college dorm days. Yay for reusing items! This is also a great time of year to get great deals on that kind of stuff.
Student book bins for the Daily 5. These are the bins that are currently at Target. I use the same bins for extra student supplies so that their desks don't get as cluttered.
See what I mean about her wall space?!? Oh, I don't know what I'd do with that much wall space! She's used the same fabric for 4 years in all of her classrooms! Don't you love the bright colors?
I'm also insanely jealous of this cabinet space! Isn't that wonderful? I would love to hide my stuff behind those doors!
Another good example of easy and cheap organization for working with groups and running centers.
I'm in love with those colorful drawers. I have the single tower organizer and use them for my daily copies. I love this double one with the larger drawers.


Well, there you go! I am hoping to have pics of my finished classroom up within the next week or so. I returned to town and went in to work on my own classroom yesterday only to find out that the air conditioning unit for MY classroom has DIED! I worked in my hot classroom for nearly 6 hours yesterday, but I was so hot and tired I feel like I got very little accomplished. Today my allergies were acting up, I was exhausted from running around and traveling for a week, and with no A/C in my room I knew today would be a good day to take it easy. We are hoping things will be fixed within the next day or so and I will get back in to finish things up.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Have You Missed Me?

I know you have! I've been busy/ out of town for the past week and a half and for the majority of that time I was only online through my iPod. Not the idea way to blog. But, anyway, I'm back and getting ready for school time is in full swing. I'm heading that way right now, actually. I wanted to tell you all to check back in later today because I have some fun ideas and pictures I'll be posting... Some good ideas as you work on preparing for the new school year! Stay tuned! :)