Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Classroom Tour

I'm finally back with a tour of my classroom. I think I'm finally starting to get a rhythm going in terms of balancing lesson planning, grading papers, reading my devotional, and being a wife to my husband. Now I'm trying to see if I can fit blogging into the mix. Fingers crossed it goes well so I can keep connecting with all of you!

So, let's start with what you see when you first walk in through the door...

The first thing you notice is that I have a long and narrow classroom. I can fit a row of 8 desks, back to back, and still have plenty of room to walk in the front and back of the classroom. It might be a little hard to read the projector screen all the way in the front of the room 8 seats back, so I try to keep it to 5 seats per row.

You'll notice I have very little board space. Considering my projector screen is down probably 95% of the time, I only have the sides to work with. And one side I've taken up with my agenda/homework for the week. I used basic painters tape to outline that since I know it won't damage the white board.

The white poster on the right wall is a learning map. I'm required to have it up in my room. Honestly though, you can't really read it because of the glare. But, I just do what I'm told.

The door to the right leads to my neighboring classroom. I'm located in the math building. Seriously. I'm the only non-math teacher in the building. Well, unless you count the P.E. coach who does have a physical classroom. But she's never in there, so I don't count that.

Let's take a closer look at that corner...

The first thing that stands out (besides the crazy blue painters tape) is the itty bitty TV set. I seriously, no joke, have the same TV in the guest bedroom at home. I've had that TV since I was probably 10 years old. The only function this TV serves is for the morning announcements. And even then, the kids in the back can't really see it anyways. So we mainly just "listen" to the announcements.

Beneath the TV is all the supplies I allow my students to use. Markers, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, dry erase boards... all there. I use the dry erase boards for when we play Jeopardy review games.

The table has my "return basket" along with a hole puncher, stapler, and pencil sharpener for the kids. I also have a "no name" bin for all the kids who still, at the age of 17, can't remember forget to write their name on their paper.

The wall above the table is really bare. I was hoping that they were going to install a second white board over the summer along that wall. But, as you can see, it didn't happen. I might resort to hanging up all the presidents' pictures again just to fill that blank space. We'll see.

Oh, and that door that's partially covered by the TV? Yeah, that's the communication closet for the entire building, plus the two new portables out back. Yep. So whenever there's any issues with computers, the intercom system, or the fire alarm, I have 3-4 men in and out of my room trying to fix the problem. That's always fun.

The next view is also from the doorway, just looking towards the left side of the room...

You can see I've split my desks up into three separate groups. So far I'm liking it. But, I've been known to change up the seating arrangement more than once in a semester. You can see a sneak peak of my finished map along the left wall (which I'll give you a close up of in a second...patience!). And my desk is all the way in the front corner. Oh, and I can't forget the door on the left wall. Yep, that's a door to yet another math neighbor. It's basically like a history sandwich with math as the bread...

My desk. I've got a pretty standard teacher's desk. Nothing special. I really hate the look of the desk. I tried to dress it up a little bit with a poster from my Alma Mater. But I don't think it's really working. The black of the poster is blending in with the brown of the desk. I've thought about wrapping it in butcher paper (seen here), but not sure which color I want to go with... I feel like it's my space, so I'd like to do it in black & gold (Go Knights!), but afraid that gold paper might look weird with all the other colors going on in the room.

Speaking of colors, I decided to go with a red & blue theme this year for my bulletin boards. I only have two boards (one you can see above, the other is by the door), so I alternated the colors & borders. I figured red & blue were patriotic, and since I only teach American History, I figured it was pretty fitting. I mean, why not?

I used cheap, plastic table cloths from Wal-Mart as my "paper." My red bulletin board (pictured below) has had the same table cloth for 3 years now, and hasn't faded one bit! I think I paid less than a dollar for each table cloth.

One side of the bulletin board belongs to me and the other side is for the students. I have a calendar up there for them. I try to keep up with birthdays and sporting events on the calendar. 

The stool was a yard sale find from a few years ago. When my feet are tired at the end of the day I'm usually sitting on the stool and lecturing. And those weird things on the floor? They're electrical outlets. My room use to be a computer lab, so they needed outlets everywhere. Now they're practically useless because they've been waxed over.

On my desk is where students turn in their assignments/homework. I'm finding it easier to have these baskets on my desk - their work is right at my finger tips rather than all the way in the back of the room (where the baskets were last year). I'm hoping that having these baskets right in front of my eyes will help motivate me to clear the basket quicker. I hate a messy desk!

The door behind my desk leads to my storage closet. It's kinda nice - a storage closet all to myself. I keep my fridge and microwave in there along with extra books and supplies.

Before I share another view of my desk, I wanted to share my favorite poster in my room...

I love it! Our school has a "no cellphone" policy while students are in class. They are allowed to use their phones during lunch and in the hallways, but once they enter a classroom building, they are to be silenced and out of sight. If a teacher sees a student with their cell phone out during class, the cell phone gets taken away until the end of the school day and the student will get one day of in-school suspension. Sounds harsh, but let me tell you, it works! I rarely have cell phone issues in my classroom.

Anyways, back to my desk...

Behind my desk I have a bookshelf that holds all of my binders and teacher resources. It also has a couple of pictures of the niece and nephews. There are two plants that I'm hoping will last most of the year - they were birthday gifts from my aunt. But I don't really have a green thumb. They've last almost 2 weeks now though, so I'm feeling confident. I hope I haven't jinxed myself! I also have a volunteer award from a couple of years ago up there too. You might even be able to spot my large, red clothespin that my mom gave me two weeks ago. 

The two baskets is my "to be filed" system. Stuff for my standard classes go on top, and stuff for my AP classes (which won't start until January) go in the bottom basket. Then I take them to my filing cabinet to be sorted. The filing cabinet is located in my storage room.

The yellow paper you see there on the edge of my desk is something new I'm trying out this year. I'm calling it "Homework Pardons." You can see where I got the inspiration for them here

Here's my view of the class from my seat...

I hate that you can see all the cords! I need to come up with a better way of hiding them. Maybe I'll wrap paper or fabric around the printer table? Who knows...

Anyways, speaking of printer table, I have my own printer, which is a luxury - part of the perks of being the only one from the Social Studies department in a Math building. My doc cam also finds its home on the printer table along with some speakers and my electric stapler. Trust me, if your school quits stapling your copies, you're going to want one of these. Definitely worth the investment!

On my desk I keep a couple of pictures of me and they hubby - one from our wedding day and one from high school. I also keep various folders and my main binder on my desk at all times. One of these days I might detail my filing/organization. Maybe. I don't feel like its all that spectacular.

Alright, let's start moving our way back to the classroom door. We'll head towards the left...

In the back corner is my a/c unit. It ain't pretty, but I'm grateful to have my own a/c unit. On the table are the kiddos' workbooks that I haven't found a home for yet. And then, of course, is my favorite part of my room - the map!

Isn't she pretty? Yes, the map is a "she." It took us the good part of 2 days to get it all done. Even so, I still feel like the red states could use another coat. I guess I should have bought something other than glossy paint... oh well. Live and learn, right? What I love most about it is the fact that it's so large! Every student can see the map from every part of the classroom. 

I'll come back one of these days and write up a post on how I did the map, though I'm sure you could easily guess. Maybe I'll save that for my next pinterest challenge post (since that is where the idea came from)

And, the last stop on the tour....

...back at the door. By the door is my classroom library. Two bookshelves is all it takes. I found some fun quotes from Pinterest, printed them out, and placed them in frames. I also made a "Mrs. C is currently reading __________ by ________." frame - all I need is a dry erase marker to fill it in.

The bulletin board holds current student work. It's another thing I'm required to do. Below that is a bookshelf-turned-bench. My mom bought it at a yard sale and passed it onto me. Some guy turned it into a window seat. It came with cushions, but they need to be recovered before I bring them into my room.

My door needs to be painted. Maybe a project for next year? Another teacher told me that she used chalkboard paint on her door. Great idea - will have to check back with her at the end of the year to see how it held up. The hubby suggested using white board paint since I already use dry erase markers - might be expensive, but definitely worth consideration. I'm also thinking about painting the walls this summer. Kinda getting sick of all the white. 

The table is there for students who need to make up a test, or for students who get sent to my room by other teachers. I only have two windows in my room, one of which is an emergency exit, which for the most part have to remain unblocked.

But, there you have it, my classroom. I feel like it's definitely still a work in progress. Right now it serves its purpose, but I want it to evolve into a learning environment. I guess that just takes some time.

So, what do you think? What was your favorite part of your classrooms growing up? 


  1. I love it! I really love the USA map! The red and blue on the bulletin boards looks really nice. I laughed at the no cell phone sign, because I remember when I was in high Schiller people were only starting to get them, now they need signs! Haha Glad your finding a balance between it all and I hope you can fit in blogging too!

    1. I remember being and school and the cool thing to have was a beeper! Amazing how far we have come :)

  2. All of this looks awesome and makes me wish I had my own classroom to fill with maps and music posters. :)

    1. I wish I had more stuff to decorate my walls with. Sometimes I feel like my room is so bare. Slowly but surely I'll collect more :)



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