Classroom Reveal and a Freebie! (Picture heavy!!!) 2013-2014

~Classroom Reveals~ are the thing to do, aren’t they? Well mine is here! Partially. I still have some kinks to work out, and some finishing touches to put on, but I did get a buttload done today. (Anyone know what a buttload is equivalent to? Anyone?) I want to start off by apologizing for the craptastic pictures. I forgot my camera today. 😦 I will retake pictures with my “good camera” on Monday though!

Ok then. Let’s start with the basics of the room, my tips, and end it with a freebie to help you organize your library!

Meet Mr. Colorful Cart.  I posted about this in my first post, but now it’s labeled and filled! The left side holds each subject and the sub tub, and the right side holds supplies. Mostly, it holds the “extras”, but it’s much easier than sifting through a pile of crap in my cabinets when a kid needs a darn highlighter.

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A close up of the mason jar madness. I can’t say I’d recommend using mason jars in the primary grades, but my 5th graders should be able to keep from smashing these, I’d think. I simply glued black ribbon around the jar and glued the labels, which I made, on top. I had to cover the word “ball” on it somehow, so it worked. Seriously, 5th graders would DIE.

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Updated with that fabulous pencil challenge we are all obsessed with trying:



My mailboxes in their home again. And don’t worry, the crate to the right will be spray painted by Monday, of course.  I covered up the edges of the shelves and table with border. Just a simple touch that jazzes things up!

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ETA: Matchy matchy now!


Organizing Tip: Utilize otherwise wasted space. This cabinet holds all of the necessary “stuff”, but is easily transformed into a bulletin board of sorts! Border the sides, and throw the stuff in the middle. Dunzo!

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Organizing Tip: Have a reflection space, that is set apart from the rest of your room. It gives you a place to send a kid in need of a “time out”.  I prefer to keep my behavior charts/clips in this area too, as it’s a bit more discrete and isn’t hanging in front of the room for the world to see. That said, I don’t intend on using this system past the first month–I’ve never had to, anyway. It just becomes unnecessary once the kids are clear on what is expected of them.

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The very-needed “How in the world do we get home?” spot. I will be placing student clips with numbers on them, on the strip that shows how they go home. I will also be writing the bus number for each kid on the clip. This will save a lot of trouble when I get the sudden call from the front office, asking what bus number so-and-so should be on, because uh, they aren’t there. You can get a variation of these FREE signs in my TPT store, HERE.

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Jobs! It’s so important for elementary aged kids to have jobs designated to them. I switch mine out each week. It isn’t quite complete yet, as I need to stick paper in each envelope to write student names on. But the general idea is there!

My jobs are:

assisting the teacher – this child does anything I need them to do, period.

leading the line – leads the line at the start of wherever we are

keeping the room organized – this child usually cleans up the library more often than not

patrolling the noise – this child will use a hand signal to quiet the class when it gets “too loud”

holding the door – this child holds the door for the FIRST door we go out…then it’s the second person in the line for the rest. Otherwise this kid would always be running.

patrolling the lights – turns lights on and off as needed

patrolling library books – these are the school library books…so this kid brings the books down for check-in on the day we are assigned to go, so everyone can check out books

patrolling the iPads – this child counts iPads at the end of the day and makes sure all are accounted for

patrolling cafeteria behavior – this is new for me, but this child will be responsible for encouraging positive behavior in the Place Where Bad Behavior Mysteriously Comes Out

patrolling the desks – at the end of the day, this kid checks desks for organization and gives me a list of names of those who need a cleaning reminder!

being understudy # 1 and # 2  – so the class doesn’t fight over who gets to fill in for the job of an absent student

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A nice little message about how this classroom is going to roll! It’s a little glare-y, but it says:

“In this classroom we:

are a family

say “please” and “thank you” and “I’m sorry”

treat others kindly

learn from mistakes

do the right thing

celebrate each other’s successes

keep our minds open

always do our best

and never give up!”

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Keeping “Specials” organized! This bulletin board is behind my desk. I created labels for each day of the week and for the different types of specials we have at my school. I glued the day labels to clothespins, and glued the clothespins to the fabric I have on the board. And ta-da! Easy changing in and out of the specials schedule.

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My desk area. I covered up the front of my desk, the cabinet next to it, and the student desk to the side with fabric from Walmart. Seriously, $6 all together. Then I used border to frame it. The welcome sign you see if a part of a sign I made, which you can find on my TPT store HERE!

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Table numbers! This year, I am doing numbers. As you can see in the second photo below, I velcroed each desk. That way, when I move desks around, I can simply remove the “Table ___” number and switch it out with the correct table number. That way, the table in the front is ALWAYS “Table 1” and so on. Heavy duty velcro is key!

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My morning and dismissal routine. Yes, my lovelies have iPads. It’s a gift and a curse, but mostly a gift! I created the posters with Staples. Freakin $14 a piece to print out…

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Our schedule next to the scale I will be using. I create magnets using those little vase gems, a circle punchers, and mod podge, and will be making new ones for these. That way, students can easily move their numbers according to where they belong on the scale.

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Oh wait, here is an example of the magnets! My “Homework Club”. The intention is like everyone else who uses this: reward the kids who do their homework for a month straight with a picnic, extra recess, or a special treat. At the start of each month, re-enter everyone again. Hopefully this incentive works!

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Homework and hand signals! Hand signals are sooooo necessary in an elementary classroom. It cuts down on a lot of unnecessary interruptions. When a kid puts up a signal, it’s very easy to either wave “okay” or shake your head no. Much easier than thinking a child is raising his hand to give you the best answer of the century to a math problem, only to realize he’s asking to use the potty.

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My whole board area! The alphabet below is a FABULOUS buy I found on TPT. Seriously, I’m getting nothing out of pimping her stuff, but I think she deserves a shout out.

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Updated with some more necessities:


Math workshop board, which I will post more about as the year starts.



Labeled cubbies and coat hooks. Surely, I’m not the one who invented this idea, but it is something I definitely consider a “must” in my room. With each child assigned a number, it lessens the opportunity for arguing over whose coat/backpack is where, and it keeps textbooks from mysteriously disappearing (as much).


And the pride and joy of the room, my reading zone!


Lemme go more into detail with this one. What you see above with the ribbons is my AR tracking system. It goes from “Ready to be a Super Reader” to 100 points. They will move their clips along with the points they earn throughout the year. You can see them all lined up and ready to go here!

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The actual library:

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I organized all of the books throughout the past few years, and label them as soon as I get them. Then I sorted them into the bins and keep the kids accountable for putting them in the right spot. Last year, my kids had such a hard time with this. No clue why. But it always got back into shape with my Organizer of the week. 🙂

I got this nifty little shelf from Staples for like $25. Right now it’s holding all of my math center supplies, but that’s temporary. It will hold books and supplies soon, and I’ll of course post that too. The “Book Hospital” is a pintrest idea, and saves you from having to let the world stop every time a book has a boo-boo! Broken books go to the hospital and you fix them when you have time!

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This is a stolen idea from somewhere. This crate will hold the school library books, and has “please renew” book marks in an old Pringles can! Genius. Just not my genius.

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The back of the small bookshelf, which I glued itty bitty clothespins to, so that I can switch out pics of my kids who were “caught” reading. Just another way to organize space wisely, and get the most out of the “wall” space you do have.


Andddd my favorite part, with the freebie! The library pockets!

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So, as I’ve said before, I assign each kid a number the day I get my roster. They learn their number very quickly. This makes it easy to reassign numbers too, when a kid moves or you gain a new one. The library pockets are pretty self explanatory.  When a student checks out a book of mine, they write the book title on their card. They write the date they are taking it out in the “out” column, and write the return date in the “in” column. It helps keep students accountable for where YOUR books are, and helps you figure out who might be responsible for a missing book too.

In this file, I have the template for creating library pockets (I suggest you print on colored card stock, and fold the bottom up to the dotted line shown), cut-outs for the strip behind the number label, and a set of 1-30 labels for the numbers. I also included the check-out cards. You can download here!  I laminated my cards, but you could just as easily tape the sides of the pockets, and not have to worry about lamination. Up to you!

So, whew! That’s it…for now! Please please please comment if you have a question or something that you would like clarified. I’m happy to help as I can!


105 thoughts on “Classroom Reveal and a Freebie! (Picture heavy!!!) 2013-2014

  1. I love your specials board and am looking to do something similiar. I looked on your tpt store and I didn’t see it there any chance you could email it to me or put it up on your store?

  2. I tried downloading your library pockets but I kept getting a page saying it couldn’t be found. I would love to be able to use that system in my classroom. Could you email it to me?

  3. I would love the library pockets, but it says it doesn’t work. Is there anyway I could get those?

  4. I just found your blog and love your classroom decor! When I tried to download the library pockets it did not work. Can you email it to me please?
    Thanks so much!

  5. I love a LOT that you have going on in your classroom! Do you have a TPT store? Or a TPT store where you purchased most of these items? Could I also get a copy of your library pockets?

    Thank you!!

  6. Love all your classroom ideas!!! Really inspiring me. 🙂 I also tried to download the library pockets but the link isn’t working. If you are emailing – would love it –

  7. I’d love the template for your library pocket check out system. The links not working.

  8. I love your library pocket system and would really like to use it. But the link says it cannot be found. Could you possibly email it to me? I would be so appreciative. Thank you!
    Donna B.

    • I actually created them and it’s super easy. If you go to a Michaels/JoAnns/random craft store, you should be able to find the clear gems (vase fillers). I made the numbers on my computer–which I can upload—and then used a circle punch to cut them out. I mod podged the circles to the gems and then super glued the backs of the numbers to magnets. That said, most of them held strongly throughout the year but there were a few that constantly fell apart!

  9. I love your organization!!! I was wondering if you had more items on TPT that you have pictures of? (i.e. homework, mailboxes, classroom jobs) Thank you!

  10. On your hand signals you have ribbon and the bow at the top. I noticed you use black ribbon a lot. What type of glue did you use?

    Thanks 🙂

  11. I would love to have a copy of the specials board. I can’t find it on your tpt store. Any chance of you uploading it soon??

  12. Did you laminate the cardstock for the library pockets before you folded them? Did you glue them together after that? Or did you fold it then laminate them?

    • Great question. I folded the pockets first, and then laminated them. I used one blade of scissors to cut into the lamination where the folding met, so it would open up there. Hopefully I explained that right!

      Beware, you’ll want to cut AROUND the edges, leaving a good amount of room, or it’ll pop open when you slide the cards in. I cut too close to the edge of a few and had to use clear packing tape to close it back up.

  13. How did you attach the fabric to your desk? I assume it is metal…
    Also, I noticed the CHEER expectation charts above your mailboxes – could you expand on those?

    • Hot glue gun! In fact, I think I hot glued nearly everything last year.

      The CHEER expectations are a school wide thing, although we are moving away from it in the upcoming year as we move to PBS. It stands for Cooperation, Honesty, Express Respect, Expectations High, and Responsibility. Those were the core traits we focused on through establishing expectations for behavior.

      They decided to make CHEER expectations for every school area, lines, etc…and it just became way too much. I couldn’t even tell you what the acronyms stood for, for each given situation. LOL

    • Hot glue gun to the rescue! Parts started to come undone toward the end of the year, since kids would sit against it during whole group lessons on the floor, but I just glued it back up. Super easy!

  14. Could you tell me what you do for your great pencil challenge? Do you have the sign available? Also what magnets did you use for the homework challenge?

    • I’ll be perfectly honest and say my INTENTIONS were to use the pencil challenge to get kids to stop eating my pencils. That idea and poster came from here:

      I never used it though because the year was so…special. Time was dedicated to keeping them from crawling on the ceilings instead.

      For the homework club, I printed out the numbers on colored paper. Then I bought vase fillers (clear gems) at a craft store, and mod podged the numbers to the gems. Then I hot glued magnets to the back. Viola!

  15. Hi – I love your READING ZONE circles. Already have them printed and laminated!!! Are the HAPPY BIRTHDAY chevron circles available too?


    • Hi! I am working on getting ALL the labels I’ve shown off in a one big file this summer. It’s a project for sure, but it’ll be available soon! Thank you!

  16. You could add a section to the library card to 40 cord AR points to keep a running record…I love these ideas everyone

  17. Love, love, love! So many great ideas. Thanks for the freebies. And I’m glad I read through the comments. That’s where I found the link to your TpT store (now following) plus the link to the Specials resource. Super!!! And one more thing … I love your double border–pattern with coordinating solid. I think I’ve pinned just about every idea from this post. 🙂

  18. I love your classroom ideas! The library pockets are the solution I have been looking for. Thank you for those and the specials idea. We are switching to a rotating schedule, and I had no idea how to keep track of that. I was wondering if you had the homework club sign to use…I would like to try this idea as well this year. Seems easy to keep track of and a great motivator!

  19. Did you make the genre circle posters beneath your AR point trackers? Are they available?

  20. I love your organization! Do you have the “library books” and “please renew” cards in your TPT store? I would also love your pencil labels and specials labels! You can email them to me or give me the link if possible! Thanks!

    • Thank you! If a student leaves or comes, I just give that one the next available number. My school is very much a revolving door so this happens often. At the end of the year, it’s not entirely alphabetical. But I still know who is which number! 😉

  21. I believe I read you laminated your library cards. How did that work? Did the book title, etc rub off?

  22. Ah!! Makes perfect sense! I was seriously confused. I must have ‘summer brain’ still. Thanks!!

  23. I love this blog so much! I am starting my second year and you have been a godsend! Do you happen to have a printable for your “In this classroom we…” door set? I would like to put it up and hope that it hypnotizes my students into being kinder to each other this year!

  24. I just discovered your blog, and I’m so grateful! I’m going to be a first-year teacher and my experience has been at the middle school. So, finding myself assigned to 4th grade, I was desperate to see how a primary-grade classroom was set up. I hope to use many of your ideas—they are SO wonderful! And colorful, practical, encouraging of student responsibility… Thank you! You have a new follower!

    • Thank you for such sweet words…you are too kind! How exciting for you though. Congratulations! Fourth grade is a tough year at my school (although most years are) but with your middle school experience, I can imagine that you’ll have those kids soldiered up pretty quickly. Good luck! Hope I can keep providing you with all sorts of good tips and ideas.

  25. Where did you purchase the organizational drawers? And the mason jars, as well as the labels for them

    Love them

  26. Did you laminate the pockets already folded? Or did you laminate them and then fold them? If you laminated them before, how did you make the slit for the book card?

    • I just made a book card board like hers. I glued all of my pockets down on poster board with the numbers glued on the pockets. I then laminated the whole thing.. When it was done, I took an exacto (sp) knife to the pocket part and it reopened the slot for the card to slide into. It was relatively painless.

  27. Hi! You haves saved me so much time and I absolutely love your ideas! I just recently purchased an organization cart and would like the subject labels that you have on the cart above. Do you have those available anywhere?

  28. I was able to get your specials labels. Do you have a circle label design for Computer Lab and/or Library?

  29. Would you please tell me what adhesive you used to attach your reading heading/numbers/ribbon to the wall/cinder block? Trying to hang on my wooden painted cabinet doors, buy having a difficult time. Thanks. Love your room and how colorful it is.

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