Image Map

April 12, 2014

Spring Cleaning - The Pros and Cons of my Classroom

I've been spring cleaning in the classroom - starting to think about next year, and the pros/cons of different  things I have up on my walls...  I always take pictures of the before (before Open House, before I change everything, before summer...) so I can make a plan for the next year.  Soon enough the room will transform into Open House mode, and the regular things will be replaced by student projects and classwork.  

Welcome to my April classroom...

This is part of my front wall - the left side of my whiteboard.  I actually didn't like the shade of green when I put it up last May (wanted something a little more bright), but it's grown on me.  It's soothing, it's calming, and it makes the stuff on it pop.  I won't be changing it.  To do the entire wall I needed a couple of flat sheets.  Flat sheets were so much cheaper than getting material, but it is thicker material and the staples had a hard time going through.  Pushpins worked better to hold things up.

This area is also my information center.  I used the HW Club this year, and it helped to keep track of the kids that lost PAT.  I also loved using my big desk calendar - it was such an easy reminder of what was going on.  This year my timeline was higher up than it was last year, and I think that is why I didn't update it as much as I used to.  I don't think I'll use it again next year, unless I change it to include the birthdays on it.  

This strip of blue fabric is in the top middle section of my whiteboard.  The screen is down a lot, so I've had a lot of different things behind that area.  I need to find a new place to put the voice levels for next year.  I think that area just has to be blank.  On my whiteboard I enjoyed having the workshop stations.  It was just my notes to the kids of their options.

I really enjoyed using the comprehension posters this year (above my board - from 4th grade frolics).  If possible I think I want to hang them vertically next year.  On my board I used the NOISE letters (from Fifth in the Middle) on a weekly basis, as well as the Ketchup (need to finish work), and the Missing Homework sign.  The kids write their name under there until they lose recess.  Those subject magnets have come in so handy over the years - they were from Scholastic.  I've totally blanked on where I found the Ketchup and Homework stuff - if it's you please let me know!  

On the right side of my board I had my helper pocket chart, behavior chart, and birthdays.  I like this area - I like how it's easy to work with, and the kids take responsibility of choosing their jobs.  

Next year I am going to need to change out my theme/story wall.  The pro is that it was on a hard surface so I could write out the story titles - which was better than being on a bulletin board.  The lower 8 cards were hard to write on though, especially having to bend with a bunch of kids on the carpet - kind of embarrassing to stick my rear in the air or try to balance in a squat.  

I loved my standards center.  I'm still learning what area each new standard falls under - but it was easy to find what I needed.  This year I was filling up the math sections since math workshop kept me hopping with hands on activities/task cards.  Before summer I'm going to need to get these a little more organized so can keep track easier.  Right now I have plastic bags inside - smaller bags for task cards, and then those grouped in gallon size for whole units (fractions, decimals, place value, etc).  It works, it just makes things a little slippery.  I'm thinking of getting another black 3 drawer for seasonal things - fall, winter, and spring (forget about summer since we aren't there).  I have so many seasonal review that it would be nice to make room for other activities in the current drawers. 

Fill the Bucket mailbox - LOVE it!  It's big though, maybe I should transition to just a basket.  I'm thinking of getting rid of my bucket bulletin board.  I know the kids love getting mail, it's just that we only pass it out on Fridays and it could just morph into part of the paper passing out party that we have.  Having that space back that the cups/shoe organizers take up could be used for other things...  

Crates - I know, not a good picture but I didn't want to exclude them.  I think the time has come to say goodbye to a wall of crates.  Love them for whole class things, but I think next year each kid is going to have a tub under their desks to keep their workbooks/books together.  That would make things go faster during transitions.  A pro of this is that the kids sitting on the ground didn't rub against my bulletin board border.  I didn't have to fix anything over here all year long.  The crates and the drawers really also helped to hide the ugly portable walls and gave a lot more storage...  How do I make those cute seats again??  

I LOVE those super hero parts of speech posters (Scholastic bonus points).  They have traveled around the room too this year, still haven't found a great place for them - don't really like them on that bulletin board with that background, but it fits and is visible for the kids.  

My math drawers did a great job this year.  I think I need one more for the extra manipulatives that we will be getting with our new math program.  The kids were able to put things back where they belonged after the stations.  My most favorite drawers were the mixed multiplication/division tests.  It made life so much easier to just tell the kids to grab the area they were working on for our 4 minute tests (we have now bumped to 3 minutes since they are almost 5th graders).

On top of the drawers used to be our table supplies - but that changed when the markers and glue bottles seemed to always be left with the caps off. I put my red bins back here and now it's just an easy pick up/drop off.  The kids just grab what they need.  I change out the options every couple of weeks.  I also got smart and added an extra basket of binder paper to the back of the room (my main drawer is at the front).  That alone has helped to make paper grabbing so much easier.

Well there is my room as of Friday afternoon.  Any suggestions?  I hope that maybe it gave you some ideas that might work in your space.



  1. I love your Homework Club Header! Did you make that or buy it?

  2. The HW Club is from 4th Grade Frolics - It's a freebie that she has. :)

  3. Hey Emily! I got a $14 bookshelf and split it for my table groups. That is what could replace your crates- until you make the seats. I keep all group materials in there. Look on my blog. Maybe it can help you too. Also, an easy tutorial is on there for crate seats!!! :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your classroom. You've got great ideas!!


I hope this was able to help you in some way. I love comments and I like to reply via email. Please make sure your profile is set up with your email address (and that it's not a Have a great day!