My Classroom

So, here's the BEFORE picture!  This is how my classroom looked when I saw it for the first time. Pretty bare, huh?  Wait until you see the transformation.

Welcome to my fifth grade reading classroom!  At our school, fifth grade is departmentalized and I teach reading to four sections of students.  I love to make my classroom comfortable and visually appealing for my students, so it's a great place to learn.  Here's a picture of me on our "Meet the Teacher" night.  I decorated my classroom door with a mustache theme.  It says, "If You Mustache....5th Grade Rocks!".  I also found these cute blue, sparkly, foam letters from Hobby Lobby to spell out my name.   I glued magnets on the back and stuck them to the metal part of my classroom door.  

Come on in!  

As you walk in, you'll see two black storage cube units.  They are filled with blue plastic baskets that store chapter books that are leveled according to Fountas & Pinnell.  I got the cube storage units and blue baskets on sale at Big Lots.  

The baskets keep all my chapter books organized and students can easily find books on their independent reading level.  I made labels with reading levels using my kricut machine and craft paper.  If you want some tips on how to build and organize a classroom library, just click here!  Building A Classroom Library

Luckily, my classroom is large enough to have a cozy reading nook for students.  I found two red plastic lawn chairs at Lowe's and added two cushy blue pillows.  The pom poms and paper lanterns add a touch of color and whimsy.  I found the lanterns and pom poms at a party supply store.  I hung them using clear fishing wire and paper clips.  Finally, I added some inspirational prints that I picked up at Big Lots and some wooden letters that spell out R-E-A-D.  I found these letters at Old Time Pottery.  

There's a window by the reading nook, so I added an adjustable curtain rod and some filmy, patterned blue and white curtains.  I found the curtains for a great price at Garden Ridge, which is now called At Home. I'm always on the lookout for a bargain!

This is my mini-lesson area.  I've got a comfy black wicker teacher chair, a small table to hold my water bottle, books, a box of kleenex and an easel to hold chart paper for lessons.  It's everything I need when students are gathered for a lesson. I found the red shaggy rug at Ross.  Behind my chair is a bulletin board to hang anchor charts.  I also use this area for morning meetings and read alouds.  Click here to find out how I utilize morning meetings in my classroom.  Morning Meetings: A Positive Way to Start Your Day

Here is an area that is used for small reading groups or reading conferences.  I found the blue plastic chair at Wal-mart and the small black stools at IKEA. The stools were only about seven bucks a piece! The best part is they stack!  The bulletin board has some cute subway art posters  that feature different reading skills. I found the posters on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Also, I always cover my bulletin boards with material.  It lasts longer than butcher paper and you can put stick pins in it and it won't show.  You can reuse the material every year!

A small black shelf holds my reading assessment binders and materials, plus binders with student assessment information.  The blue baskets are for materials used for each reading section's small groups.  Each basket has a number that correlates with each reading section.  I keep a small black basket with expo markers, dry erase boards, highlighters, and other supplies to use during small group sessions.

Another corner of the classroom holds our TV, magazine display, and another bookshelf with nonfiction books in red tubs.  The director's chair is a favorite spot for reading!  Oh, and a few more pom poms because they just make me happy!

This magazine display was totally swiped from a Pinterest post that I saw.  It's made from adjustable, metal curtain rods, plastic hooks with adhesive, and curtain rings with clips.  Just slip your magazines into plastic sheet protectors and hang on the hooks.  I hang all kinds of magazines such as Time for Kids, Scholastic News, Zoobooks, A Boy's Life, National Geographic for Kids, plus a few others. 

Here are some more shelves that hold picture books and nonfiction books by reading level.  I got the red bins at Wal-Mart.  They are the perfect size for these types of books.  I just put a label on the front showing what reading levels are in each bin.  Oh, and my handy husband deserves credit for the bookshelves.  I didn't have have enough bookshelves for all my bins of books, so he made three bookshelves for me out of 1 x 12 pine boards that he got at Lowe's and cut to fit with the measurements I gave him.  Then he painted them black to match my classroom decor.  A special thank you to my teacher hubby!  

This is how I take our daily lunch count and attendance.  Students move their number to their lunch choice for the day.  The numbers are on wooden circles that I painted.  I bought the wooden circles at Michael's craft store, painted them, drew the numbers on with a paint pen and then glued magnets on the back.

Every student in my homeroom has a weekly job.  Here is our job chart.  I put student's names on wooden craft sticks, then just move them every Monday morning so students know what their new job is for the week.  If you want to know more about how I manage classroom jobs, click here- Classroom Jobs.

Since my classroom is just for reading, I have lots of cozy reading options for students.  They can read with a pillow, a special chair, or lay on a rug.  Just so there's no fighting on who gets what, I use a Book Nook choices board.  I put student numbers on wooden clothes pins and rotate them daily.  Before students go to their reading spot, they can check the chart and see what their option is for the day.

A daily agenda board lets students know exactly what's happening for the day.  Plus, it keeps me on track.  I made agenda signs with colorful craft paper, laminated them, and glued magnets on the back. I change the agenda daily and write what's in store for our learning day. Plus, I write any special reminders or homework assignments.  I have a long bulletin board above my chalkboard and used blue polka dot wrapping paper and blue border to cover it.  Wrapping paper is an inexpensive way to cover a bulletin board, plus you can get some colorful, fun designs.

With four reading classes, I needed a way to keep track of student materials.  These blue crates keep student reading notebooks and folders organized.  The crates are labeled with each section's number. Students can easily find their materials for lessons because they each have a file folder with a name tag.

And, finally, my teacher desk area.  I like to call it "organized chaos"!  For storage, I  have a metal cabinet to keep my teacher books and supplies organized.  It's nice because I can use magnets to hang important notes and reminders.  I have a plastic organizer with 6 drawers to sort out papers and assignments for the week. The memo boards are from Wal-mart.  I covered them with red material and glued blue ribbon around the edges. It's a great place to hang phone lists, calendars, and all the other papers teachers tend to get.

So, that's the tour of my classroom!  Here is a BEFORE and AFTER!  What a difference!

Here are my favorite places to shop for things for my classroom:
  • Dollar Tree and Dollar General
  • Big Lots
  • Garden Ridge / At Home
  • Old Time Pottery
  • Staples and Office Depot
  • Hobby Lobby and Michael's Craft Store
  • Joann Fabrics
  • Lowe's
  • Wal-mart, Kmart, and Target
  • IKEA
  • Ross and Marshall's
  • Gordman's
  • party supply stores
  • local teacher supply stores
Really, I'm always on the lookout for a bargain!  It's amazing the things you can find on sale and at places you'd never expect to find items for your classroom.  Happy shopping!

I hope you got some good ideas for decorating and organizing your classroom.  Thanks for stopping by!

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