Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Teacher Tuesday - Classroom Tour

If I'm being totally honest I've been looking forward to this post for well over a year.  When they broke ground on the new high school and we got word that we'd be moving back to the "quad" area of our campus I could barely contain my excitement.

I spent my first 5 years in a classroom in the open air quad and then 6 years ago all of our middle school classes moved to portable buildings at the end of our lower school deck area and while I definitely made the most of my "cozy" space I missed the spacious room I had before.  

My excitement grew even more when I found out that I'd be moving BACK to my original classroom!  It was such a surreal moment unpacking in there this summer since the last time I set up this classroom I was 22 with no kids and ZERO teaching experience.  Now I have 11 years under my teaching belt and I get to look out those windows and watch my kids play every day :)

So... without further ado... my new (old!) classroom...

I teach Math which can be a daunting and intimidating subject for a lot of kids (especially in Middle School), so I like for my classroom to feel as relaxed, comfortable and "homey" as possible.  I try to make sure that it's a happy place and that it always smells good and I've found that it really sets kids at ease.  "This doesn't even FEEL like a math room!  It's not scary at all!" are the kind of sentiments that I get a lot from students (and parents).

I teach from my SmartBoard about 90% of the time and so this white IKEA table (I picked it up on Craigslist) is where I have my laptop to run all my games and presentations.  Since my teacher desk is set up at the back of the classroom I love having this table here so I can sit and grade or work on other things while I monitor students testing, etc. 

The IKEA cart was also a Craigslit find (you can buy the rolling cart in other colors at IKEA - Mason has the silver color in his room for art supplies), but I was SO EXCITED to find this turquoise one for $20!

I use it to hold some of my "essentials" (baby wipes are to clean my white board quickly when I'm using it a lot during the day) and it also holds my speakers, extra cords, etc.  If I'm using manipulatives (i.e. VersaTiles or decks of cards, etc.) I'll often load them up in the cart from the storage area in the back of my room and then roll it around to pass the supplies out.

The plant is an "autumn fern" I found at Calloways and I love it's wispy look.  It's in it's original pot set inside an Anthropologie vase.  And yes... that's  a volcano candle.  I burned a couple of volcano candles during meet the teacher and ALL THE KIDS commented on how good it smelled so now I feel like I need to burn it in there daily :)  I usually just keep it lit before school and during first period and the scent lasts all day long.  I also have TONS of used candles in my craft closet and I'm considering scraping out the unused wax and putting in in my wax warmer.  Have any of y'all tried doing that??? Does it work???  Either way - I'll be stocking up on this scent and adding it to my "teacher wish list" ;)

The rug I ordered from RugsUSA when they were doing 50% off of their clearance rugs.  I absolutely love the colors!

I wanted to keep the front of my room a little bit "cleaner" than it was in my old classroom.  I still wanted it to be fun and colorful... but a little simpler for kids to look at while I was teaching :)  The wall is HUGE and I needed something fairly inexpensive to fill the space so I made the pennant banner out of scrapbook paper and this trim and then just added on the pom pom garland.

I bought a bunch of navy cardstock and then just handcut out the pennants... I didn't measure, but just went from the top left corner down to the center of the bottom and then the top right corner to the center of the bottom to create the pennant.  I knew that the paper was 11" across so that helped me estimate how many piece of paper I'd need and about how long my banner would end up.  I hot glued those pennants directly to  this trim and that was it!

I ordered  two mixed bags of pom poms and then just threaded them onto embroidery floss and spaced them out to get the length I needed. 

To the left of my whiteboard I have this bulletin board that's currently empty (except for the cute llama fabric!) but I have plans to add photos of school events like homecoming, dances, etc. to the board for kids to look at and change them throughout the year.  I've found that the cheapest way to cover bulletin boards is with fabric.  My boards are 4' x 4' and so it takes a yard and a half of fabric (as long as it's wide enough... which jersey and knits typically are) and I wait until JoAnn's is putting them on sale so each board is usually about $7 to cover.  And the great thing about using fabric is that you can staple/pin all over it, pull the fabric off and use it again later!

The yellow chairs were a Craigslist find ($40 for BOTH!) but they're originally from World Market (they're available online in another color  HERE - you can see what a steal I got!).

The Texas pillow was one of my favorite finds and I picked it up  HERE (and it's on sale for $15!)

On the right side of my front wall is another bulletin board and this one I covered with bird fabric and then reused a bunch of little frames and photos from my previous classroom.  Believe it or not they're all just hanging on there with thumb tacks!  I'll probably end up adding student photos, seasonal things, colorful work, etc. and changing this board up often, but for now it works!

I'm waiting patiently for this old-school TV/VCR combo to get removed from my ceiling ;) and am thinking that this will be a great spot for a Christmas tree this winter.

I didn't pick fabric with any particular theme... just ones that I thought were cute and colorful and had navy in them to tie in the large navy accent wall.

Y'all knew there had to be a little Ryan Gosling in my room! :)

A second yellow chair and pillow... the kids will pull these chairs up to other desks and groups when they're working together on projects or assignments and I love the pop of fun color.  The pink pillow is $15 and available  HERE.

One of my favorite parts of the room is ALL THE STORAGE in the cabinets in the back.  My old classroom had a storage closet, but this is so much more functional and more space!  #allthepraisehands

I grabbed this runner from the same sale as the chevron rug in the front of the room and it's plush and the perfect length for this spot.

The cabinet/counter space is seriously invaluable and allows me to spread out 6 classes of material for a whole week if necessary.  I have more than enough space for textbooks, manipulatives and all the STUFF that goes along with teaching.  It's awesome.

And yes... I even have a microwave and Keurig which has been so nice!  You can shop the mug   HERE.

And this is looking the other way...

I have a mini fridge next to my desk that I keep stocked with Diet coke, water, string cheese and Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate PB cups :)  I have a couple of succulents on top as well as this cute little trinket dish on an easel.  I'll switch it out with some other decor on my console hutch (which you'll see in a minute) to mix things up later on in the year.  I love the reminder though for students AND teachers.
This is my pretty typical desk situation...

... and my favorite desk accessory is  this colored pencil bowl.  Yes... you read that right... that precious little bowl is made out of COLORED PENCILS!!!

Earlier this summer the owner of Myers Woodshop got in touch with me because he thought the bowl would be a perfect addition to Mason's art table - but when it arrived I totally kept it for myself because it is SO COOL!!!  

You should watch the video of it being made  HERE.  There are close to 200 pencils used and then it's covered in resin.

People's creativity never ceases to amaze me!  I have a feeling that this will be a conversation piece on my desk for many years to come.  You can actually see THROUGH the bowl!

Isn't that the coolest thing?!?!  I think it would make an awesome gift for an art teacher... especially one who has an appreciation for wood working.

Fresh flowers are one of my favorite things and I love that a $5 baker's dozen of roses from Trader Joe's gets me a little mug arrangement for my nightstand at home and my desk at school.

I have another fern on my desk (that I'm trying to nurse back to life) in  this pot.

The first thing you see when you walk in my room is the large wall straight ahead.  Originally this wall was white and my intention was to make this wall my "gallery wall", but it was painted navy this summer and so I had to kind of rethink my plan.  The navy is so pretty though and really makes a fun statement.  I found the white photo boards at HomeGoods as well as the little boxwood wreaths (I needed something to break up ALL the blue)

 I have plans to change the board up seasonally and make it kind of the focal point.  For the beginning of the year I really wanted to emphasize my classroom culture, specifically kindness, and so this happened...

I saw the idea on Pinterest and made it happen in an hour or so with a bunch of different card stocks, a paper slicer and a stapler :)

I printed and cut the letters out, sliced the papers up to look like confetti and then just started stapling.  I really do love how it turned out - but am kind of regretting not making it a little more "transferable".

The back wall of my classroom is a gallery wall, bulletin board and console from our first house.

The black console and hutch was in our very first office, then Luke's room, then our garage.  When we moved last year we donated the desk and matching hutch, but I kept this piece in the hopes it would work in my new room.  The bottom drawers hold files and the hutch piece holds books, photos and other fun little things.  This pretty much replaced the book shelves that I had in my old room.

The big chalkboard on top I bought in an adoption auction and I'm not sure if I'll ever change the quote because I love it so much!!!

The watermelon is actually a vase, and when I can find a pretty fern you know that there will be some green in this ;)

The small signs are from  Vine and Branches, the trinket dish you can find  HERE and the little succulent I found at HomeGoods.

The letterboard was a 50% off purchase at Hobby Lobby and while I have a few fun things planned for it I'd love for y'all to send me ideas!  Leave all your cheesy teacher, math or other jokes in the comments! :)

The little red/yellow disks I use for some hands-on work with integers and the horseshoe bent into a heart was from when I had the power team out for Homecoming one year.

The bulletin board next to the console has more llama fabric as well as some of the kids "You by the Numbers" activities.

And then there's the gallery wall....

It's no secret that I LOVE  Vine and Branches and I love having scripture and encouragement up in my room in such a pretty way.  There are also a few of my favorite pictures and my diploma (which I'll probably switch out for a black and white photo at some point).  I'm thinking that eventually this collection will go above the bulletin board as well. 

So there you go! A little (actually LONG) look into my classroom!  I hope it made you want to sit and solve some equations :)  

Happy Tuesday, friends and if you're a teacher make sure you link up your classroom below so we can all take a peek!

PS - Thank you so much to Myers Woodshop for the absolutely incredible bowl!  Also, this post contained affiliate links... thank you so much for supporting my blog! :)

    An InLinkz Link-up


  1. Love love love! I've been waiting on this post all summer! Makes me want to be in middle school all over again!

  2. I love your room! ...definitely not like any math room I ever attended during HS :) Also - I have the same rolling cart. Isn't it great!

  3. Andrea, you have a GIFT of bringing joy and comfort into spaces. As a person who really struggled with Math, you are a GIFT to middle schoolers (and their parents). Keep doing what God created you to do- and thank you for sharing it with us. You encouraged me this morning!

  4. I absolutely love your room. It makes me wanna stop in and do some long division (I don't think I remember how to solve equations). :)

  5. Beautiful classroom! Jealous of all of your extras - Keurig, microwave, fridge - we're not allowed to have any of that! We have cinderblock walls which makes it challenging to hang things but I love your gallery wall. I need that IKEA cart. Looks perfect!

  6. Oh, your classroom is so welcoming and inviting. I want to form and hang out and grade papers in that space! Great job, mama!!!

  7. Love your classroom!! It's perfect!

  8. Andreaaaaaaaaaaaa! I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! Wow! Such a well thought out, cozy, functional, inviting, warm place. I can only imagine how much your students love being in there. Love it so much!

  9. Fabulous room! I didn't see very many desks. How many students do you have? I averaged 30 5th graders during my 33 years of teaching! My last class, 5 years ago, I had 37! Utah. We stack 'em deep, and teach 'em cheap!

  10. I love your classroom, functional but with such personal touches.

  11. Wow what an inspiring place for your students! I wish I was in a math class now. My favorite is the pennant. What a simple idea to add a pop of color to the front of the room!


  12. I have been waiting for this post!!! You always have inspired me as a teacher. This is the first year in a long time that I do NOT have a classroom to share. So happy for your students to have such a great place to learn :)

  13. I LOVE everything about this! So cozy and so fun! From someone who was very intimidated by her middle school math teachers, just know the peaceful environment you've created will go a long way towards putting your kiddos at ease. And I'm getting an autumn fern from Calloway's asap ; )

  14. What a beautiful classroom. I love how inviting it is and how functional it is. I also love all of your storage! I moved (last summer) into a room with storage areas (I didn't have any in my previous classroom) and it is SO nice to have. I love your room!

  15. Absolutely AH-MAZING!! Lucky students!

  16. I want to send my kids to your math class, heck I think I could use a refresher course as well! Looks lovely!

  17. OH my goodness I love this so much and what an inviting place to learn. I would want to stay there with you all day! I loved decorating my first grade classroom too. I love the bright colors and homey feel! Xoxo ERIN

  18. I already love math, but I would love it even more in your classroom!

  19. I love peeking into classrooms. It keeps me motivated to finish school so I can one day have my own. I love the pops of color and how personal it is. Great job!


  20. It looks amazing and so cozy! I hope you have a great year!

  21. OMG, if my classrooms looked like this when I was in school, I would've wanted to be in them all of the time! Looks so fun and inviting! Thanks for sharing with us your teaching space!

    xx, Chanda | Birth of a Fashion Blogger

  22. I LOVE your classroom!! Great job! Thanks for sharing so much detail!

  23. If I were your student I would never want to leave! It feels so cozy and like a home! Those back cabinets are amazing!! Love it all!! You did good, girl!

    That Inspired Chick

  24. I LOVE it! Math has never been my friend, but I think this room could have changed that. :)

  25. How blessed your students are to have you as their teacher. A welcome refuge (even if they're doing math there!) for their young hearts.

  26. Well I admit it did NOT make me want to do math, but it did make me want my own classroom again, so I can decorate! I was an English teacher, and taught seniors, and I just couldn't hang.
    Beautiful room!

  27. Ok ... like all the other comments, this room is absolutely incredible. I have middle and high school kids, and none of their rooms are like this. But first, let's talk about you being a rock star at finding deals on Craigslist. Can you be my personal shopper for CL? 😉

  28. I'd love to be a student in your class!! It so warm, fun, and inviting!! Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher!

  29. I love your room. As a teacher I would love to add a gallery wall to my room too. How did you get all of that to stay up there? I have basically concrete walls. Thank you.

  30. What a neat classroom! I love how much storage you have!

  31. Love how cozy and fun your room is!

  32. You are SO COOL! My mom is a teacher and when I was in junior high and high school I used to help her decorate and set up her classroom and do lots of other teacher helping things and I miss it so much! And also this actually does make me want to do some equations! My math knowledge is not so good but I'm trying to work on it. Any suggestions of how to take a class or work on skills without going to a campus is so welcomed! Have a great school year!

  33. I so HATED math and still do. I wasn't very good at it either. I wish I had a classroom like to this to learn in!

    I have salvaged and used leftover candle wax for my Scentsy (I brought mine to work too!) and it works really well! It actually doesn't dissolve as quickly as the wax you're supposed to buy for a Scentsy but I don't mind cleaning it out every once in a while to switch the scents. It really is a genius way to use up all the leftover wax!

  34. So awesome! And, I love your statement about making your classroom comfortable and homey, in order to ease students into learning math. I'm sure doing this makes a huge difference. My husband is a future math teacher, so I shared this idea with him!

  35. Oh, I meant to add that I've used the leftover wax from Anthro candles in my Scentsy warmers, and, in my opinion, the scent isn't emitted as strong. Still, it's a great way to get a few last bits of fragrance out of the candles :).

  36. I love love love it!!!! It's so clean yet warm and inviting!!!! Makes me want a new classroom!!!

  37. I am an education major and always thought I would want to have such a bright and colorful room, but your room is so calming. I don't know if I could have worked with a giant navy wall but it makes it so homey. Screenshotting all of this!! Also.. I would totally love more teaching related blog posts :)

    Juliana Grace | www.julianagraceblogspace.com

  38. Decorating my classroom is one of the things I miss the most. I've been making a few "scrap" fabric US Maps.
    I'd love to make you one.
    Would you like primary colors or anything specific.

  39. It looks amazing and inspiring! That must have taken quite some time to get set up. Love, love, love!

  40. Love your classroom!!! I wish mine were this inviting!

  41. Girl, this is AMAZING!!! You are so creative and I just love every square inch of how you decorated it!!!! I want to go back to middle school & have you be my teacher ;) And how FABULOUS is the are with cupboards and your desk!? Amazing, and I bet you appreciate it all the more being back in that room! What a wonderful, warm fuzzy feeling!!

  42. You have such a gift and now your middle schoolers and their parents get to enjoy it! It's lovely, Andrea, just like I knew it would be.

  43. Wow! It looks awesome! A lot of work went into setting it up, I know. I am so jealous of those cabinets and countertop!! This middle school English teacher can dream, right?!!?

  44. I'm soooo jealous of your cabinets and counter tops!! I teach 3 science classes and 3 art classes for 6th grade. I have very little storage. We did a project this week and my desk, the floor, the microwave and basically anything that didn't move what cover with papers while I waited for glue to dry so I could hang them up.

  45. Andrea. From. Preschool teacher (all the centers) to middle school teacher (cool kids). I love your classroom. I only thought I loved you before but now...... I am in awe. You are THE BEST.

  46. Dang girl! Your classroom is awesome. This actually made me miss teaching a little bit and decorating my classroom. It's so home-y! My hubby teaches high school Math and wish he'd let me decorate his classroom with this home-y feel. He gets a new building next year (he's in Allen) so maybe then :)

  47. Love your classroom! It really does feel so relaxing! I especially love the wreaths because I can totally imagine those at Christmas time! How fun!

  48. Goodness I love your classroom! Another math teacher here (high school) and I love seeing other math classrooms! I also bought a letter board this summer so I'll be stalking your comments for witty ideas! And I spruced up my classroom for the first time in a lot of years this year...I really need to take some pictures and link up!

  49. !!!!! I am blown away. What a beautiful, cozy, classroom! Absolutely love it!


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