Sunday, August 26, 2012

Entire Classroom Pics!! (Warning: LOTS of 'em!!)

So sorry it has been awhile since I've been on to blog...we got back from our overseas trip a week and a half ago, and it was quite the adventure (to say the least!)

We were faced with a typhoon and a really odd and super rainy monsoon, so we basically camped out in our condo for a few days. Luckily, our condo was connected to a couple of malls so we had a few places to go to. Unfortunately, the cities around us had flood waters up to people's waists, and in some areas, past people. YIKES - so scary!!! It was a really interesting, but fun, fun, vacation.

Since I've been back, I've also been busy with meetings, the start of a new school year, and teaching a new grade. I told my new team that teaching a new grade feels like being a first-year teacher all over again: not knowing how and what to teach the following day or week. I don't like that feeling :( 

At least I have pacing and classroom management down (I think!). I think it would be so hard to learn the new core, teach new lessons, AND learn how to manage the class, find your voice, and your footing as a brand-spankin' new teacher.

So anyway, here are the pictures! Forgive the quality of the pictures, they were taken on my phone :)

View from the front door.


Views from the front of the room to the front door.

My reading nook.

My browsing bins.

More browsing bins.

My leveled classroom library.

Close-up of my back wall bulletin boards.

Bulletin boards on my back walls.

My easel (back view).

 Math Manipulatives and Math board (above manipulatives).

Cubby boxes, supplies, and Dr. Seuss stuffed animals. 

My front door (Behavior Chart and hand signals).

My windows and quote.

My closet and "Give Me Five" posters. The crates hold teacher-owned picture books I use to teach, student information, student files, assessments files.

Standards with "I Can" statements written.

Front of the room.

Front white board.

Did I mention I love the color green? LOL!

A lot of the things I used in my room came were inspired by other teachers. I will go back and fill those links and resources when I have the time. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Thanks for reading,


Monday, July 16, 2012

Classroom Update Pictures! Hold On Tight!!

Here we go....full speed ahead! 

Remember when I mentioned in an earlier post that I am leaving for an overseas trip before school starts? Well...our trip is just around the corner! In fact, we leave on Friday! When do I get back, you ask? The day before first contract day. What was I thinking and WHO planned that trip?! I'm guilty. I will be jet lagged - the time zone in Asia is basically flipped around. When I start school at 8 a.m., it will be 10 p.m. there. YIKES!! 

So I need to get my classroom ready pronto. Before I leave this weekend, my classroom will hopefully be ready for Back to School Night and for the first week of school. Here is a little sneak peek of what I have been working on!


I saw this table sign from another teacher blog here. I didn't have the cute paper fan that she bought so I made my own using tissue paper (I had extra from the pompom balls). I made and printed my own signs and got them laminated.

Ignore the different colored greens on the bottom ha ha! 

Top row (left to right): pencils, white boards, clip boards
2 middle rows: writing folders for each table
2 bottom rows: supplies for each table

Here are my cubbies and extra cubbies that I used for storage. 

By this weekend, I will hopefully have my entire room done (just the parts the public sees...don't look inside drawers and cabinets yet LOL). I will post more pictures of the entire decorated and organized classroom soon, so please check it out soon!

Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Reading Centers Bulletin Board

I finished putting up my reading center bulletin board. Here it is!

 My Reading Centers

The two skinny pocket charts on the left will house my vocabulary words and other spelling words for the week. The new common core is focusing on asking an essential question and teaching certain vocabulary words each week or unit. I need a place to put my vocabulary words that we are currently focusing on in a separate place other than my word wall.

I am also still debating whether to take these little pocket charts off and put reading anchor charts there instead. Big decisions, I know ;)

My Reading Center Board:
  • At the beginning of the school year, I teach what each reading center is and how it is supposed to look like and sound like using T-charts displayed next to that center. We practice one or two centers for an entire week and add one or two more the following weeks.
  • The top left card displays the day of the week.
  • I like low maintenance work for me. All I do daily is switch the top headers (group 1, 2, and 3) and the day of the week.
  • Centers stay the same Monday-Thursday (4th grade reading buddies come on Fridays). I only change ALL centers once a week, each Monday. On Thursday, they do the same centers they did on Monday.
  • Each group does 2 center rotations a day. Each center is usually a 10-15 minute rotation.
  • Towards the bottom, under the group 1, 2, and 3 headers, I print off the reading groups and insert there (groups based on reading level), so when it is time for their daily guided reading group, they all leave their reading center and meet with me.
  • I am at the back table with a guided reading group. 
  • My little friends know that they are not allowed to interrupt me when I am doing a reading group unless it is an emergency. I start reading groups a few weeks into the school year, after I've completed reading assessments. Hopefully by then, I have taught the centers thoroughly and they are independent to do them on their own. The anchor charts are up for a few weeks for reminding. When the timer rings and I am in the middle of a reading group, they know that it is time to clean up and switch to their next center.
These are what my centers cards look like. I cut and mounted onto colored card stock and laminated them. 
Reading center cards

Anyone want them? I can try to attach the document that has all the center cards and pictures...still learning how to do that! If anyone can help me out, I would appreciate it!

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Creating Classroom File Labels

Last week was an incredibly busy week!! I signed my little 3-year-old up for twice-a-week swimming lessons and it was my husband's birthday yesterday. I've also been so busy setting up my own classroom (The Green Room) and helping my friend Ana set up her classroom. We've been working hard and are putting the finishing touches in her room! Lots of good changes and I will post pics soon!

Also, this past week, I was able to arrange my own classroom furniture around because the carpets have been shampooed! Yippee! Although it is still looking like a war zone in there, it's progressing slowly but surely. I have also been working on the insanely HUGE task of organizing my files. After switching grade levels, I needed to sort and throw out files and things I won't be needing in 2nd grade, so I decided to create new labels for my files and labels for my room! 

Also, two days ago, on Friday, there was a HUGE fire on the mountains behind our home! The fire burned almost 6,000 acres. 250 homes were evacuated and we were one of those families :( My husband was at work and I was packing for my little family until he came home. It was so scary! While on evacuation and waiting for the evac order to be lifted, I worked on files in my classroom. Crazy teacher!!

I have been playing around with different fonts, images, backgrounds, and learning different picture layering techniques to create my own labels. Here they are! What do you think? 

I created these labels to place around my room such as on cupboard doors and shelves. They are 3x3 inches. I will get these laminated and glued on. I think they would really complement the green wall in my room because there would be hints of green throughout the room.


Also, as mentioned in a previous post, I used these label templates to create my binder labels and spines. I will arrange my binders in different sections of my filing cabinets and shelves grouped by file types (colors). 

I customized my labels by: 
  • changing the fonts and font size
  • size of actual label
  • changing the graphics
  • adding my name on the bottom of the labels



  • Green: Teacher Files          
  • Blue: Holidays                 
  • Red: Math                                                                                          
  • Orange: Reading           
  • Yellow: Writing             
  • Purple: Science
  • Blue: Social Studies 
They will look like this (as seen in previous post, Cleaning Up the Clutter).


To go along with my green and white polka dots with blue accents classroom theme, I bought an alphabet chart that will totally fit in my room. I was so excited to add this to the space above my main white boards because it isn't too tall, unlike other letter posters I've had in the past. The only thing I didn't like about this poster was that the numbers poster was tiny! I mean, like 3 feet in length! I will have to put this tiny, tiny poster on my math bulletin board and not above the letters poster :(

I got this here! Also, my matching green and white borders finally came in! I was able to finish the borders on my other bulletin boards
Anyway, these are the things that have kept me busy this past week (other than the fire)! I am looking forward to a more calm and evacuation-free week! 

Please let me know what you think by commenting below and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE follow me on this blog! I feel a little lonely on here sometimes ;) I would really like to meet more teachers, former teachers, aspiring teachers, and anyone! 

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cleaning Up The Clutter

Mrs. P. - "Your classroom needs to make you happy. It needs to be your sanctuary! My blog says so."

Ana - "Ughhh. My classroom stresses me out every time I walk in!"

Ana and I went to college together many years ago and she is one of the few college friends from the same cohort (a small batch that goes through the education program together) that I still keep in touch with. At my school, there were 4 of us hired from the same cohort!! It is fun seeing old friends from college working at the same school.

Anyway, due to changes in her life, such as getting her Masters in Education or having a new baby, it seems like every year, Ana has switched schools or grades to fit her needs. Each summer and each time she moves classrooms, I help set her classroom up. That's what teacher friends do ;) This week I will be featuring her classroom as we do a TOTAL CLASSROOM MAKEOVER and implement classroom organizing tips to make her life easier. Here we go!
Before Pics:
Just to clarify, this was what her room looked like the entire year...this was just a few days ago with furniture moved to one side for cleaning. And no, this is not her first year teaching ;)

Steps we've done so far:

1. I've noticed that classrooms nowadays are moving away from themes (i.e. beach or pirates) and are looking to have a more uniform and organized look by gravitating towards a certain color scheme or look that is consistent throughout the classroom. We are going with light yellow with white accents. Black letters will go on these walls and bulletin boards. We are also working with yellow with white polka dot accents.

 more before and after classroom pics to come!

2. Files need to be cleaned up. Ana doesn't have a lot of shelving and cupboards, so the furniture that she has, is open for all the world to see. Not pretty. We know that organizing files are a beast so those are what we tackled first! We are brave ladies! We bought these cute binder labels and spines to go on her binders and on an open shelf. 

These labels? I have to say that this has been the BEST TPT purchase ever!! Why? Because I can change the labels and spines to how I need it, unlike some files I've bought where I have to print and write on them - I hate writing on my labels because I want them typed and printed :(  

Check out how it looks in Mrs. H.'s, from Once Upon a First Grade Adventure, room!
Now that you know how it can look like in your own classroom, buy the labels here!

How I customized my labels:
  • Changed the fonts.
  • Changed the pictures so they are consistent throughout the files types I created. (Love how this TPT file was created in several colors for certain files!)
  • Added Ana's name on the bottom.
  • I re-sized the label so it didn't fit the entire page and I wouldn't use too much ink. I was able to fit 2 labels to a page.
  • Cut the label, leaving a white border around it.
  • Mounted to same or similar colored card stock to complement the label.
  • Put label and spine in the binder! 
Before (2 hours earlier):
We took things out of her shelving unit and resized the heights of the shelves. We will put the different colored files in different sections of the shelving unit. It will definitely make her shelves look consistent and professional. 
A picture of her revamped shelving units with file folders and crates will go here.

3. Borders need to be consistent throughout the room. Ana had thick, colorful stripes on one wall, math symbols for her math wall, and green skinny borders next to that wall for her vocabulary wall. It was too busy. See examples below.

Before pics:

After pics:

(on the way!)

So we've decided to go with the light yellow fabric that she already has up in half of her room (to lighten up her dark room) and stick with the yellow with white polka dots border. I will post pics up this week to show the finished work!

Get yellow with white polka dot borders here.

I will pictures up of the finished walls and borders up this week!

We will continue to make Big and little changes to her room this week and throughout the summer. Come back and check out our progress in her and in my own classroom!

Thanks for reading,