Monday, August 3, 2015

Classroom Tour!

Here is the view of our first grade hallway at Wayland Bonds Elementary!  This year we decided to go with a black and white bee theme.  We each picked a black and white pattern that we liked and an accent color to go with it.  I picked a polka dot theme with a red accent.  My teammates chose a chevron and purple, zebra and pink, and houndstooth and blue theme. We all made tissue paper flowers and a bee for our hallway.  I also had my mom sew matching curtains for each of our windows.  Each one of our doorways has our names on them out of the wooden letters you can purchase from Hobby Lobby or Michaels.

Here is the welcome sign as you enter the first grade hallway. 
It says, "Welcome to our Hive!"
 Click HERE to download the "Welcome to our Hive!" banner from my TpT store!
Here is the view outside my door.
I made this Polka Dot Welcome Banner for my door.  I also made my teammates a welcome banner for their door out of their theme and color. So we all have matching doors too!
Click HERE to download my Polka Dot Welcome Banner from my TpT Store!

I saw a super cute handprint bee idea on Pinterest.  I plan on having my students make those and add them to our hallway!

We each made tissue paper flowers and a bee to hang outside our door.  Each bee has our black and white design as the stripes. 

We each took laminated black and white pattern scrapbook paper and glued it to the wall with a cloths pin.  Now we can easily hang the student's work in the hallway without having to use a lot of tape!  We added border around the edges to make it look like a bulletin board.
 We each used the black and white paper and then our accent color for the ribbon bows and border.
Here is the view outside my teammate's classrooms.

My Classroom Pictures
Here is a look into my classroom!  I redid a lot of my classroom this year.  I decided after 8 years of the same old look it was time for a change!  I went with a black and white polka dot theme with a red accent color.  I still have some of my primary color stuff added in for a little bit more color.  Since its nearly impossible to find any black and white polka dot stuff I had to make most of it myself.  So if you want to redo your classroom with a black and white polka dot theme I have everything you need right here!

Click HERE for my Polka Dot Classroom Theme Bundle on my TpT Store!
 This is my teacher desk.  I got rid of the traditional desk I had in my classroom.  I never sat at it and it took up a lot of space.  I love using this table as my desk!  All my office supplies are stored in the drawers that are located behind my desk. 
I keep all my weekly lesson plans stored in this binder and propped up on my desk. 
Click HERE to view a year's worth of my lesson plans for FREE on my TpT Store!
Click HERE to download my lesson plan template on my TpT Store!
Here are some of the different views from my classroom:
I use these storage bins to organize various things behind my desk.
Click HERE to download my Storage Bin Labels from my TpT Store!
 Student Computers
I have my alphabet strip and my TouchMath numbers placed in the front of my classroom so the students can refer to them often.
Click HERE to download my Alphabet Strip from my TpT Store!
Click HERE to download my TouchMath Numbers from my TpT Store!

The baskets on the shelf are each student's individual book basket for their independent reading books.  They use their book baskets during "Read to Self" at center time and also anytime they finish their work early.
 Click HERE to download my Apple Numbers from my TpT store!
Lunch Pail Bin
I have so many students come to school each day with a lunch pail.  I had to buy a bin large enough to hold them all.  One of these large tubs works perfect for our lunch pail bin! 
Added Storage
I had my husband make this huge storage cabinet for me.  It stores all my inside recess and free center games.  I needed a huge cabinet to store all my games because it never failed the students could never fit all the games back in the small cabinet they used to be in.  Now I don't have to worry about the students being able to shut the cabinet doors. Everything fits in this large cabinet with room to spare!

I have this pocket chart on the side of my cabinet.  I use it to store the student's library and lunch cards.
Weekly Activities and Worksheets
This is how I organize the week's worksheets and activities.  I bought this at Lakeshore.
 Everyday before I leave I always lay out the next day's worksheets and activities.  I like to do that to make sure I have everything I need for the next day ready to go.  I also like to lay everything out just incase there is an emergency and I have to be gone the next day.  Everything would be ready for a last minute sub if needed.  In the past I would just lay everything out on the counter.  But this year I bought baskets and labeled them to make it look more organized!
 Click HERE to download my Basket Labels from my TpT store!

I also have them in Chevron and Purple!  Click HERE!
In order for the students to know what math or literacy centers they go to each day they look to the center wheels.  Each section of the wheel has 2 to 3 names written in it.  Each day the students go to the center that their name is located.  When that center rotation is over (about 20 minutes later), the students follow the arrows to their next center.  I have a total of eight centers.  The students do two centers each Monday through Thursday.  Then, Friday is used as a day to finish any unfinished work.  I found the storage containers that I put the worksheets and games in at Mardels.

Each center tub is labeled with a sign.
Click HERE to download my center setup from my TpT store!
Morning Work Drawers
These are my morning work drawers.  Instead of the students walking in each morning and completing a worksheet of some type...they work on a game or activity from one of these drawers.
Click HERE to read my blog post about my morning work drawer routine and procedures!

Click HERE to download the Morning Work Calendars and Teacher Planning Pages from my TpT Store!
I have my math and literacy worksheets organized by the different skills.  This makes pulling a worksheet for a center or activity really easy.
 Click HERE to download my Math File Folder Labels by Skill on my TpT store!
 Click HERE to download my Language File Folder Labels by Skill on my TpT store!
Long Term Planning and Copies
I have two large file cabinets in my classroom.  I use these file cabinets to hold copies and anything and everything I might need for future lessons.
At first glance this might look like a bunch of files just thrown in the drawers.  However, each of the copies, lessons, etc. are organized by week.  If you notice in the picture you see the tab that says "Week 6."  Behind the "Week 6" tab has my phonics lessons, reading series lessons, spelling lessons, handwriting lessons, and homework packets.  Not only are the lessons and activities there, but all the copies are placed in the file folders as well.  This makes long term planning possible because I have an organized system to place everything in!

Unit Binders
My themed worksheets and activities are stored in my unit binders.  Using these binders to store all my unit stuff makes it so much easier to find and pull the things you need.  I can't even imagine how many file cabinets and what a big mess of paperwork I would have if I didn't use these binders!
Here is an up close picture of one of my unit binders.
Here is an inside look.  I use the clear plastic sleeves to place all the papers in.

Click HERE to download my Unit Binder Covers and Spines from my TpT store!
Click HERE to download my EDITABLE Unit Binder Covers and Spines from my TpT Store!

Teaching Carpet Area
 Each of my students have an assigned square they come to each time we meet at the carpet.  This prevents many problems like students sitting by other students that they talk to, sitting far away, fighting over where they sit, etc. 

Cubby Boxes
Each student has their own cubby box.  I use these cubby boxes to place each student's graded work in.  I placed it right behind my desk, so I can easily turn around and place their work in their cubby box after I grade it!  I got these cubby boxes at Sam's Club.
Read Aloud Books
To keep the books I use as my read aloud books separate from my other books, I have organized them into these magazine holders.  Each holder is labeled with the unit or theme of the books.  I got these holders at Mardel's.

I have all my unit read aloud books placed on my shelf.  This makes finding the books I need for each unit so easy!
Click HERE to download the labels I use for my book holders from my TpT Store!
Organizing Books
I have the books that the students place in their book baskets and read independently organized by reading level.  I am really particular that my students are reading books that are within their ZPD range.  By organizing my books by reading level it really helps the students be able to easily find and read books that are on their level.

Click HERE to download my Leveled Book Bin Labels from my TpT store!
Organizing Supplies
To prevent my students from playing with scissors, glue, etc. when they are not supposed to-I do not allow them to keep their supplies in their desk.  Instead many of the supplies are kept together in certain parts of the classroom.

 Each one of the bins has the different supplies stored in them.  I bought these bins at Lakeshore and they came in a package of four.
 Click HERE to download my Supply Labels from my TpT store!
Each one of these supply tubs are assigned to a certain group.  These will have a group supply of red pens, glue bottles, scissors, etc. in them.  This is a fast way to pass out the supplies when needed!  I bought these tubs from Target for $3.00 each.

I labeled each bin with a center sign so the students know where to take their center tub and go during center time.  I also have each tub labeled with a group sign.
Click HERE to download many versions of my Group Signs from my TpT Store!
Organizing Manipulatives
My manipulatives are stored in these storage containers I purchased from Mardels.  It is very nice having the storage containers with the lids.  It prevents the manipulatives from spilling out when bumped into.  I can easily pass out manipulatives or have the students come get what they need from the bins.

 I wanted to tone down all the bright colors in my classroom when I changed my classroom theme to black and white polka dot.  So I had my mom make these black curtains to cover my shelves.  It gives it a more clean and cohesive look. 
Click HERE to download my Supply Labels from my TpT store!
Keeping Desks Together
I hate my desks looking like a train hit them by the end of each day, so I borrowed these awesome table tops from one of my teacher friends that currently is no longer teaching.  They work perfect keeping all the desk together!

 I've had a lot of people ask how the table tops were made.  Unfortunately, since I just borrowed them I don't know exactly how they were made.  The material they are made out of is Formica. I think they were built very much like a countertop that fits perfectly over six desks.  Here is a picture of what they look like underneath.  Hopefully that will give you a better idea...
Bulletin Boards
Changing out bulletin boards during the school year can be very time consuming and expensive - so I came up with bulletin boards that I can keep the same during the school year and also ones that are good and useful to have.  Instead of cutting out or buying different letters to place on each board I made and printed different banners.  I strung each letter on ribbon and added a bow at the end.  It turned out super cute!
Click HERE to download my Editable Banner Style #1 from my TpT Store!
Click HERE to download my Editable Banner Style #2 from my TpT Store!
Here are pictures of my different boards.....
The first week of school I took pictures of the students who have a birthday in each month.  I placed the pictures on my birthday banner.  Each student will receive a birthday certificate and a Pixie Stix balloon on their birthday.  This makes celebrating each student's birthday so much easier and a good way not to forget.

Click HERE to download my Birthday Banner on my TpT Store!

Classroom Rules
On the first day of school we sit down as a class and make our own classroom rules.  These rules are created during a discussion by the students, while being facilitated by me.   Surprisingly, student created rules are often the same as – or even tougher than – rules a teacher might create.   The rules the students create become the standard for expected behavior by which all students agree.   When students actively participate in establishing rules for the classroom and agree to them, they are more likely to follow the rules because they take ownership and know the importance of them.   In turn, this leads to a more conducive learning environment with fewer classroom disruptions. These classroom rules, also known as our Classroom Constitution are signed by the students and posted in our classroom for all to see!

Accelerated Reader
Visit my blog post on Accelerated Reader Rewards to see what I do to keep my students motivated to read and take AR tests!

Click HERE to download my AR Rewards from my TpT store!
Star of the Week
 Each week one child in our class is chosen as the "Star of the Week." This is a special opportunity for that child to be highlighted throughout the week and share some important parts of his or her life with our class.  Each student will be asked to fill out some information and collect some special items to display on our "Star of the Week" bulletin board.

Calendar and Schedule
This bulletin board used to have all my calendar stuff on it but I have now begun doing my calendar routine on the smartboard.  There are tons of great smartboard calendar lessons on the internet and on TpT that you can use!
  So instead this bulletin board has been changed to display many different useful tools that we use each day.  First, we have the calendar with important dates listed.  I also have our schedule posted for all the students to see.  I think it really helps the students when they can see what is planned for the day.  It also prevents questions like, "When is lunch?" or "Do we have PE today?". 
Click HERE to download my Daily Schedule Cards from my TpT Store!
 I've made these cute "special event" calendar pieces too.  The students are now able to see all the special events we have going on that month.


Click HERE to download my Polka Dot Calendar Pieces from my TpT Store!
Restroom Break
This is a picture of the restroom break system I use. When the green sign is posted the students (one at a time) may move their number next to the restroom sign and take the pass and go. If the red sign is posted, then they may not leave the classroom to take a break. (Unless of course it is an emergency.) This prevents students from raising their hand and asking to go to the restroom in the middle of your lesson.  Eventually the students catch on to when is an appropriate and inappropriate time to leave the classroom.
I had to make my own sign and passes to match my Polka Dot classroom theme. :)
Click HERE to download my Editable Passes from my TpT Store!
Click HERE to download my Boy/Girl Restroom Break Signs from my TpT Store!

Click HERE to download my Red/Green Restroom Break Signs from my TpT store!

Outlaw Word Wall
I don't have a traditional word wall.  The words that we post on our word wall are words that cannot be sounded out to spell.  That's why our word wall is called the "Outlaw Word Wall."  These words are outlaw words because they break the traditional spelling rules.
Click HERE to download my Polka Dot Word Wall Letters from my TpT Store!
I thought it would be super helpful to have the different shape names with the number of vertices and sides displayed in my classroom for my students to refer to.  So this is one of my new bulletin boards I created for this year!
Click HERE to download my Shape Name Posters from my TpT Store!
How We Go Home Clip Chart
This is something new I made for this year!  This "How We Go Home Clip Chart" will be super helpful for me, a sub, or the students to refer to on how they go home at the end of each day.  It works so well!  Instead of using clothes pins I just used paper clips.

Click HERE to download the Polka Dot How We Go Home Clip Chart from my TpT Store!
All my teammates loved it too - so I made them each one to match their classroom!

Anchor Chart Wall
I use many anchor charts during my lessons.  I found that I needed a place to display them so the students could refer to them if they needed to.  I hot glued clothes pins on my back wall.  It makes it so easy to hang and switch out the anchor charts when needed!

Color Names
I also have all the color name posters placed on my back wall.  This will be great for the students to use and refer to especially during the beginning of the school year!
Click HERE to download my Color Name Posters on my TpT Store!
Numbered Chairs

Weeks into the school year the nameplates I place on each student's desk begins to take a turn for the worse.  So I eventually tear them up.  The students just rely on their numbered chair to find their seat. 


Click HERE to download my Chair Numbers from my TpT Store!

Keep checking back as I continue to update and add more pictures of my classroom!

Click HERE to purchase everything you saw here to transform your own classroom to a Polka Dot Theme!


  1. AHHHMAAAZING! Your blog is very detailed. Great job on your classroom. You should be very proud! Have a great school year!

  2. I LOVE your organized, dotty classroom! One of my first grade teammates told me to look at your blog. In her words, you are my red/white/black polka dotted soul mate and I agree! Have a wonderful school year!


  3. Thank you so much for taking time to post pictures and explain every detail of your classroom! I am also very grateful for your year of lesson plans. I will be going back to teaching next year after 5 years away and only having taught one year prior. I am so inspired by your room and am so thankful to have blogging "mentors" like yourself! I also love your organization tools and your creative decor! I look forward to purchasing it for next year! Thanks again, it really is a blessing!

  4. Hey there! I know you said you didn't know how your teammate got those awesome table tops, but since this was posted I wanted to know if you ever found out/had any more info?? I'd love to have those in my classroom!

    1. She had them made at a place that makes counter tops.