Primary Chalkboard: classroom decor
Showing posts with label classroom decor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classroom decor. Show all posts

Alternative Seating Classroom

Hey, everyone! It's Cyndie from Chalk One Up for the Teacher to share one thing I am absolutely loving this year...

For the past few years I have allowed my students to sit where they prefer to learn, but this summer something dawned on me...I never sit at a desk and work. When I am on the computer or grading papers, I am almost always sitting cross-legged on the couch. So if that's how I work best, what about my students?

I began poking around on Pinterest (isn't that where so many great ideas are found?) and came across several posts related to alternative seating or flexible classroom environments.

So very slowly we began transition our classroom. The way our classroom looks now looks nothing like it did at the beginning of the year...and believe it or not, we have much more room now.

Here are some of the places to work in our classroom.

 We started the year with these crate seats that are in our little house. I know several of you use those in your classroom. This year I tried a little something different and put two layers of fabric on top so that when one gets dirty I can just pull off one layer.

Thanks to my sweet and wonderful friend, Lisa, from Growing Firsties, I grabbed these scoop rockers on summer clearance at Walmart. They happened to have perfect colors to match our classroom.  
The bonus is that they stack and don't take up very much room at all.
P.S. My sweet friend, Carina, from The Teaching Tornado says they work great for teachers, too.
(You'd never know she was a couple months pregnant in this picture!)

This is an old coffee table that belonged to my mom that my wonderful son sprayed with chalk paint.

Those were the places that were set and ready to go when school started. Since then, we've added
this cool futon that was on sale at Walmart. My son has it and slept on it every night this past summer 
(his choice), so I knew it would be durable. The kids added the pillows.

So one morning I was scrolling through Instagram and saw Angie Olsen from Lucky Little Learners' post about these yoga balls from Oriental Trading that were on clearance for LESS than $5!
(Sorry, but last I checked they were all sold out.)
Anyway, they were wayyyy better than I thought they would be !

This past Friday, I had my amazing custodian raise up one of our tables after Valerie from 
All Students Can Shine posted the suggestion as an alternative to standing student desks.
My kiddos LOVED it, and it saves tripping over chairs, because several of them stand to work anyway.

I have absolutely loved the flexibility that this has provided in our classroom. Of course, we have rules and expectations and if those are not adhered to, my students know they will be asked to make a better choice for themselves. Honestly though, there has been minimal issues in relation to where they sit to work.

One of my very favorite places to be is sitting and working right alongside of them on the floor, or wherever they are.

Now, if you want to check out an inexpensive seating choice that also works in emergency situations, hop on over to my blog to check it out.

Classroom Set-Up - A Look Around My Dream Classroom

Hello, Friends!  It is Autumn from The Primary Techie.  I am super excited to be blogging about one of my favorite places - my classroom.  Here is a very nerdy confession: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE setting up for the new year!  It is actually one of my favorite parts of being a teacher.  I love the anticipation of the student's reactions, planning how the room will function, and organizing all of my teacher treasures.  Have you started setting up?  I bet every teacher is at least thinking about it.  It is a big job!

I have been in the same first grade classroom for ten years and last year, I did a complete classroom make-over.  Don't anybody tell my husband, but I spent entirely too much of my own money on this project!  The way I see it, I spend more than half my life there.  I want it to be the best it can be for my students and myself.  Some ladies buy Coach purses and Louis Vuitton shoes.  I bought my DREAM CLASSROOM! No regrets!  Here is a look at my room and some of the reasons why I set it up this way.  I hope it gives you some ideas and excitement about setting up your own room.

The Library
Metal door to was used to create book display with magnetic shelves

Above all else, I want my library to be inviting and comfortable.  I also want it to fit lots of kids since reading is such a focus in my little world.  My library is almost one fourth of my classroom.  There is easily room for 3 groups of 4 students during stations.  I have used storage benches that I purchased from Wal-Mart to form one corner.  These create comfy seating and also store seasonal books.  There is a cart for my leveled books and several book baskets full of books we love.  There is a table with listening center activities and a comfy corner for audio books.

The Writing Area

Dry erase board on the back of the cabinets in writing area
Close-up of clear paint cans used to sort supplies
Paint bucket stools store seasonal writing supplies
I added "shelves" to crates by using old dry erase boards.  Perfect fit!

I am a crafter at heart and I think this really influenced my writing area.  I have a round table with paint bucket stools.  Inside of each paint bucket, I have seasonal supplies for the writing area (Halloween stamps, Christmas gift tags, etc.).  I hung milk crates all over one wall to store the writing area materials.  I love this option because I was able to make it exactly right for my needs.  On the other wall in my writing area, I hung clear paint cans filled with art supplies.  Writing center is always a station and my students have a specific task.  On Fridays, we have free choice stations and this area becomes PACKED with kids!  They make the coolest, most creative things.  Although I am a hoarder, I share all my fun goodies with them because I know how much I would have loved this as a kid.  (Let's face it, I still love it now!)  I use the metal door (which leads to my bathroom) to hang a magnetic board.  Here, I write their spelling words or weekly writing task.  I also have turned the back of a cabinet into a dry erase board.  This is a fun way to practice spelling, writing sentences, labeling drawings, and so much more.

Teacher Work Area

One of my favorite drawers.  Can you ever have enough rubber stamps?

At my small charter school, every classroom has a full-time aide.  I KNOW, RIGHT????  It is a pretty cool lil' school.  I never sit down, but I needed a place for my aide to be productive.  I have created my dream work space, but I only get to visit it before and after school.  The rest of the day, my aide uses it.  There is plenty of counter space, a coffee maker, fridge, microwave, and even an ice machine!  I had a custom counter top made to cover the desk.  It is long on one side making a perfect spot for my aide to work one-on-one with students.

Table Groups

Pegboard attached to each table for organizing resources.  
Over-the-door hooks create storage solutions for our backpacks right on their desks!

I have always placed my kids in groups and labeled them by color.  I started acquiring more and more "stuff" that matched my table colors.  This past school year, I added the most exciting piece of all - CHAIRS!  I think they look so good.  My old chairs were mauve and they just really bugged the snot out of me!  My new chairs make my room more colorful and cheerful than ever before!  I love to frequent the home improvement stores for ideas and inspiration.  One day, I walked down the pegboard isle and thought "That looks like something I could use!"  I started trying to figure out how and where in my room pegboard would fit.  My number one need in my classroom is storage and remember all the stuff I acquired that matched my table colors?  I decided the pegboard would fit nicely on the edge of each table and give me a place to keep these colorful treasures.  I measured the end of the table and had my board cut at the store.  (Did you know they do that?  I didn't know until I found the pegboard isle!)  I spray painted my pegboard black and used zip ties to attach it to the table legs.  This also makes the tables more secure so they don't scoot around the room as much.  I used more zip ties to hang the baskets on the pegboard.  Backpacks hang off the other edge of the tables.  I like having them at the desks so that transitions go quickly.  I found these over-the-door hooks at the dollar store (2 per package).

Extra Storage

Close-up of clear paint can storage
Working pay phone!  My absolute favorite!

I have A LOT of stuff in my room and I really needed storage solutions.  I purchased bookshelves from Target last summer and they have helped so much.  I love the uniform look and the contrast of the black with all the bright colors I have used in my room.  I used clear paint cans to store supplies on the shelves.  I wanted a small counter on the end.  It seems like I am always walking in my room with something that I need to put down quickly and this gives me a place to do that.  There was a piece of leftover counter top that fit perfectly.  I also replaced my school phone with this pay phone!  It is SO much fun!  It really takes money, although you don't have to put money in to make a call.  It has a great ring, too.

Thanks for letting me share my room with you.  I would LOVE it if you would share pictures of your room with me, too.  Click here to head over to The Primary Chalkboard's Facebook page and share your pictures.

The Chalkies are busy bloggin' every day this month!  Here is a peek at what we have got planned:

10 Things to Do BEFORE You Set Up Your Classroom

Hey, there, friends! It's Laura from Peace, Love, and First Grade!

If it's summer vacation for you, enjoy! 
If not, live each day to the fullest and smile because it happened!

I'm here today to talk about getting your classroom ready for a makeover. 
Now, this is NOT my classroom reveal. 
That will come as I have time to get in my room. 
I'm excited to share that with you on my blog later this month!
Today is all about getting ready to set up your room!

Let me preface this by saying, 
I'm not trying to pressure anyone into decoration madness,
but I do believe a happy classroom is one that functions efficiently,
 and is well organized and attractive. 

This summer I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. 
Marie is a proponent of getting your house in order and keeping it in order. 
She suggests keeping only the items in your home that bring you joy and letting go of the rest.

I think we can apply the same principle to the classroom. 
Keep what sparks joy in you and let go of the rest.

Here you go!
Want more? 
The good news doesn't look that this anymore!
So, are you ready to get your classroom in order?

Great! But remember-this is not a one day job.
I like to think of it as ten days.
Already started school?
Take one task a week for the first ten weeks.

Day 1) Clean out your children's literature. 
Keep only the books that bring you and your kiddos joy!
I know. 
I LOVE children's books, too, but let's face it. 

Not all books are created equally. 
It's okay to let go of a book. 
Pass it on to someone who will find joy in it.

You'll be amazed at how much room this gives you AND you'll know what you have when you need something.

Day 2) Clean out your Math manipulatives! 
You don't need 6 bins of pattern blocks or 48 Judy clocks.
Keep what you need and pass the rest on to someone else. 
It's okay.

Day 3) Clean out your art supplies. 
If you haven't used those foam Easter bunnies in the last 3 years, get rid of them. 
Pass on the joy to someone else! No hoarding!

Day 4) Clean out your office supplies. 
Look at each one. 
If no joy comes from having them and they serve no purpose, 
pass them on to someone else or donate them. 
It's a good feeling!

Day 5) Clean out board games, puzzles, and other activities. 
If you don't use them, someone else can. 
If Czechoslovakia is still on your get it.
Share your treasures.

Day 6) Do I dare say it...Clean out your paper. 
Oh, it's tough! I know it is. I've done it. But the feeling is just so great! 
If you haven't used it or it turns your fingers don't need it.
Recycle that paper!

Day 7) Decide how you will store supplies.
Once you decide what manipulatives and supplies you are going to keep, choose how you are going to store them. 
Then label your supplies. 
Labeling makes supplies easier to find for students and other adults who may visit. 

The next two may not be popular, but I'm going with them.

Day 8) Get rid of your filing cabinet OR scale down to a smaller one.
The more room you have for stuff, the more stuff you'll acquire.
If there's no where to put the stuff, you won't be as likely to hold onto it.

Day 9) Get rid of your teacher desk OR scale down to a smaller one.
You can do it! I did and I had a lot of stuff in mine, too.
I never sat there (not even after school), and it took up a great deal of space. 
Now, that space is used by my first graders, and I don't miss my desk one bit!
I use an over-the-door shoe organizer for my office supplies. 
Space saver!

Day 10) Plan your classroom design.
Once the clutter is removed and you are ready to set up your room,
 go online and play around with a classroom set-up tool. 
You can design your whole room as many times as you like.
You'll need your room measurements for this.

Here are a few good ones:

This is the one I use. 

Now you are ready to think decor! 

Let me tell you, if I can do it, you can do it?
Did you see my mess above?
It doesn't look like that anymore.

This week, I can get in my building to work and I plan to make the most of it. 
Pics to come on my blog!
Happy Tuesday!!

Don't forget! We're blogging every day this month at Primary Chalkboard! 

Labeling your tables!

Hey friends! Jessica here from Second Grade Nest. 

How do you guys label your tables? 
I've always had the hanging tissue paper puffs with the owl sign that says what table they are sitting at.
I do know that some schools don't allow hanging from the ceiling because of fire laws and what not. So I'd love to know what you do! 

This is how I've always done mine!
BUT I know that teachers are spending a LOT of money right now and these puffs are just another puchase. So, I am showing you guys how to create them on your own! 

If you click here, you will find a blog post on how I used Dollar Tree tissue paper and Dollar Tree bobby pins to create mine. Granted, they aren't as cute as the ones from Party City or Hobby Lobby, but they are around $5 or LESS!! 

Thanks for reading this sweet and simple tip!

Clip Art Addicts Unite...

Hola, peeps!  Stacy here from Funky Fresh Firsties.  I hope your weekend is off to a FAB start!  Stopping in to do a short post today and I wanted to share something that I do that makes hallway displays pop!  I have a crazy collection of clip art {we're teetering on a full blown addiction....shhhhh}.  I use my clip art to make classroom products obviously and I even use it to cute-sy up my newsletters, etc, but making my clip art into posters is one of my favorite things to do!  It is easy, fairly quick, I can get others to help, and I can use them over and over again! Here's my latest project with clip art posters:
We've been reading Lulu Walks the Dogs in class the last week or so and also working through my book companion.  The students complete character webs for each dog and I wanted to display those in a cute way.  I opened the PDF file on my laptop and projected it onto the SMART Board.  I used the zoom (+) button until the dog filled up the poster and taped the poster to the SMART board!
Then I traced the dog with a ball point pen fairly lightly.  It didn't need to be perfect because I would be outlining it more precisely later

Once I have the image (Cordelia the Dachshund in this case) traced... I go back with a FAB marker and outline carefully.  I love, love, really love the flip chart Sharpies!  I normally buy a few packs at the beginning of the school year at Really Good Stuff.
Yep, all outlined is so much better!  Now you can color it in or get the kids involved and let them help (if your OCD is minimal)... or enlist the help of parents, or husbands, or aides!  One of my favorite things to do is color the posters in with chalk.  I got some cheap chalk at IKEA on my last visit {swoon}.

A video of me coloring?  That's right... you're welcome! :)  In case you needed a tutorial!  Side note: it's hard to video yourself coloring with one hand...  this took some serious skill peeps!
Once you have your posters all finished... be sure to laminate for durability.  They look so amazing in the hallway with student work!  I like to try to add a 3-D type element to mine.... so this time I added yard between Lulu and all 3 dogs to look like a leash!

I made these to go along with the hallway display.  If you read Lulu Walks the Dogs and would like them... you can download them HERE!!!
Also, if you are in need of a book companion, you can find mine HERE!  I would HIGHLY recommend the Lulu books for 1st and 2nd graders!  Lulu and the Brontosaurus is amazing... and Lulu Walks the Dogs is also equally entertaining.  Grab both and watch your kiddos sit and listen in AMAZEMENT!
I hope that y'all will have a great weekend and that it will go by super SLOWLY!  You can keep up with my on FB over at Funky Fresh Firsties... let me know if you try the poster trick!!!  Talk to y'all soon!