Friday, July 27, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Classroom Edition

You may not see a dramatic change in the before and after pictures, but I feel like it is a huge difference.  I walked into someone else’s classroom, but now I feel like it is finally my classroom.  This is a great feeling since it will be my home away from home for the next nine months.

This is a closer look into the areas of my pretty tiny (500 square foot) classroom.  First, is the designated anchor chart space inspired by Jodi at Clutter-Free Classroom. I used a black sheet for the background and ribbon for the dividers.  I used the same ribbon to cover the clothespins.  I’m excited to have a space to put anchor charts at all times that are at the students’ eye level.
I created my own Whole Brain Teaching rule posters that fit with my classroom.  Since it is a Montessori environment, “raise your hand to stand” was an unnecessary rule.  I also use hand signals in my classroom for basic needs, so I used “Use hand signals to communicate” instead of “raise hand to speak.” You can see my hand signal posters below that are based on the sign language alphabet.
I love the effectiveness of the clip chart system, so I was thrilled to see this sports-themed clip chart by Cupcakes & Caterpillars.  I plan to reward students with a star on their clip when they reach the top, which allows them to earn a new colored clip after 5 stars.

My students will not have individual desks, so I was thankful to see these built-in cubbies.  This is where my students will keep their clipboards, journals, and folders.  Since it is a public Montessori school, we do not use textbooks.  I’m glad I do not need to find room for all those books, but nervous about planning all my lessons around hands-on manipulatives and real-life experiences. You can see a sampling of these materials below which are housed on eight bookshelves in my classroom, which were a challenge to arrange around.  The designated exit slip area was inspired by Erin's from Adventures in Third Grade.  I chose to use jerseys with students' numbers to designate each student's area to place his or her exit slip post-it note. 
 The final area is my reading nook.  I used two Expedit shelves from IKEA to make reading benches. The fabric drawers add extra storage for pillows and other items.


  1. Your room looks great! We don't use textbooks either, but I do have a lot of trade books around the content areas which helps when I plan. Good luck and I can't wait to hear about your adventures :o)

    1. Thanks Jen! I'm really happy with how it turned out. I'm so anxious for school to start in a couple weeks. I will keep posting about how it goes.

  2. I love your color combo! Especially your anchor chart area! Very cute! It is so important to make our room feel like home! I mean we spend more time there than actually at home!

  3. Looks like you're off to a great start. It's interesting to hear about schools that don't use textbooks. I've never been in a school like that. I'm excited to see what things you come up with. I teach 3rd grade in California (also my home state) but spent several years in your neighboring state of Mississippi. Nice to "meet" you!

    Teach on a Limb




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