Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Classroom Forest Makeover

It's the night before school starts. Boy, am I tired. We had a teacher professional day today with the staff getting ready, and then I spent the afternoon and early evening doing some fine tuning for my classroom. Below are some pics I took today of my classroom makeover.
I put a welcome mat at the entrance to the classroom to greet the kids.
Classroom Door

I turned my table to add to the length of my desk. I had Lowe's cut me a piece of pegboard and attached it to the front of the desk using cable ties. The letter boxes, I got from Target. They were plain black, so I added washi tape and decal stickers and attached them with pegs. I created a classroom letter for the kids to read. The flag says "Don't give up the ship." It's the Battle of Lake Erie flag. I ordered all my flags a few years ago from an online flag store. (Sorry, don't remember the name.)
This is the calendar wall and behavior chart. I staple a desk calendar to the bulletin board and write all birthdays and important dates on it to save time later. The brown circle is the birthday wheel I created earlier. We also have the state seal and statehouse, a poem a friend gave, some words of wisdom on cooperation. The behavior chart allows kids to move up or down to allow them to improve and not feel "stuck." The markers are to mark their "color" in their agendas.
Brain breaks. The empty bucket is to put used activities so they don't have to repeat the same ones all the time.
Birthday pencils.
Treasure box and desk nameplate I made. (The all-important blue Thermos coffee mug in the background. A definite must-have. ;)
Classroom window. I made the curtains to go with my color scheme (Sorry, the pic is so dark. I'll try to get a better one later). I decorated the wall with kids' bedroom sticker decals from Target. The flags are greate for social studies lessons and Veterans' Day. They are the branches of the military and the American flag. There is one hanging terrarium in the window right now. There will be two more. I just got them today. =)

 The "Fishing Hole" reading nook. There are more flags in the back. They are all the flags that the US has ever had. The larger flag is a copy of "Old Glory" from the Battle of Fort Sumter. I put some stuffed animals in the chairs. They are good for reading time and test taking (stuffed animals are comforting). The black crates will get filled with recent read alouds and popular cookbooks (Kids LOVE looking and reading cookbooks and are always asking me to get more, even reluctant readers. Also, 3D books are great. The rule is to prove they read it and then they get 3D glasses.)
Owl bathroom mat I got from Target to mark the "Fern Gully" reading nook. Easily movable when it is not reading time. My dad is going to give me a small kids tent to put in the back.
Student table. The pink basket is for trash. I thought this would help them stop throwing garbage in their desks. There are 2 ginko leaf flyswatters for pointers, rulers, scissors, glue sticks, and crayons.
Classroom sink with some more wall decals my friends gave me for my birthday. I love them!
A view from the front of the room. There's the state flag (the flags make teaching social studies more fun). There are clothespin hanging from the ceiling. I usually put up large "baseball cards" of the kids that connect to our theme. They are similar to the "All About Me" activities. Pictures of each kid are on one side and the "All About Me" activity on the other.
A view from the back of the room.
More sticker decals from Target. I put up a mirror that I found at the Dollar Tree for the kids to look at themselves (they like to do that at this age level). A friend gifted me the black owl. He is also a chalkboard. I think I might put a piece of whiteboard tape on his belly since they are less messy, and use it to write a simple message of the day for the kids. He is the "Guardian of the Mirror," a rare breed of owl from Ga'Hoole.

There you have it, my classroom in a nutshell. Hopefully, I was able to give you some ideas. I will post some specific DIYs that I did later. Right now, plans for the first day and sleep are priority. =)

Have an OWL-standing school year!



  1. @ Kelly. Thank you. I'll have to let my students from last year know you liked it. They did a lot of the planning and theme ideas for me. =)

  2. Love your classroom! I will start my 1st year of teaching in August, and have been thinking about a forest theme. I also have 4th grade, so I wasn't sure if a theme was too childish, but seeing yours inspires me to keep going with it!