What does an organized classroom look like by December, anyway??

Let me preface this post by saying that I’ve extended my December sale through Sunday! Right now, you can get EVERYTHING in my store for 15% off the normal price. Because really, who doesn’t love a sale? Head on over. See if anything grabs your eye! 🙂

This post is inspired by all the times I’ve visited teacher blogs in August, drooled over their rooms, and then wondered to myself “That’s ridiculously lovely. How long does it stay that lovely?” So here’s to those of you who have wondered those same things.

I took these pictures this morning before the munchkins came in like their usual hurricane-like selves. It was actually kind of cool to put them side-by-side with beginning of the year pictures and see how some things worked great, and some things–while great in theory–immediately needed fixing.

Biggest example? The cubbies. The top picture below (and left picture in the one below this) is from August, and the one on the bottom (and right in the one below this) is from today.




As I’ve talked about before, I teach only ELA/SS. Therefore, I have two blocks of third graders throughout the day. Originally, I thought “Well, I kicked the desks out of this room and demanded tables, so they can learn to share one bin.” Then they arrived and I was like “LOL yeah, ok.” I am lucky enough to work in a county that at least gives some kind of stipend. However, that stipend arrived well into the school year starting. And it was on a debit card, so I couldn’t go grab as much as wine as I wanted with that money. Disappointment City. But then I headed on over to Really Good Stuff (or as I think of it, Really Expensive But Adorable Stuff) and picked up all of these bins. This has made a world of difference and we are no longer accidentally using the books and belongings of other friends!

Also filed under the category of “Sharing Is Nice In Theory But That’s About It”, our writing and spelling journals:



That stipend money went toward replacing and adding to the bins for journals. The bottom set is for Block 2. One day, I will make them pretty number labels too. Until then, they get ugly sticker labels. Poor babies.

Another big change is how we kind of had to get rid of our writing center. We now do Writer’s Workshop instead. So this board holds anchor charts for our workshop genre. Right now, we are learning how to write informational articles. This Ikea table has become even more of a prized seating spot now that it’s not a daily center.



ELA Focus board has changed a bit too! Less clutter!



We figured out what the most important parts of each cycle were, and have decided to narrow our focus. The ELA board is easier for the kids to reference now, as only the most important ideas are up there, like the comprehension skill and strategy, title, grammar skill, and spelling words. You can also see how the Work on Writing center is gone as a choice! 😦

Another big change is that I went from absolutely nothing to display anything on, to a really big TV on a big clunky cart. I really shouldn’t complain, but. Clunky. That said, it does the trick and makes things much easier on the kids. No more squinting at a tiny computer screen.

IMG_4929 Here, the kids take notes while dressed up as FBI agents, ballerinas, and football players.

Still, there is one part of the room that has not had to change yet!


Contact paper is holding strong on the bookshelves, and that rug is in year 2 of looking bright and happy and wonderful. The books on top of the shelf are a part of Read to Someone. This week, the kids learned about the Northwest and the hardships of pioneers. And then I told them the story of Oregon Trail Day in school and they were like “….?” Then they laughed at me. 

And now that we are just weeks away from every kid’s favorite holiday? Lights everywhere!


It’s hard to believe we are just about half-way through the year, and that every day that passes, I am that much closer to watching my itty bitty babies become big almost-4th graders! Sadness!

Anyway! What kind of transformations has your room undergone this year? What did you try out, that you found totally did NOT work? What has worked perfectly? On Sunday night, one random commenter will get to choose one item from my store for free. 🙂



4 thoughts on “What does an organized classroom look like by December, anyway??

  1. Your room still looks so fabulous and organized! My third graders are impossible to organize no matter how organized I am! I still have my seats grouped in tables with crate shelves, but I have had to eliminate quite a few of the little award systems and stream line many processes this year!

    • Thank you! Teaching organization to the little ones isn’t easy. It definitely takes a lot of patience, repetition, and routine practice. There are still a few in each block that I have to work extra hard with, but the lack of opportunity to get cluttered (via the bins and lack of desks) helps. We are also an elementary AVID school, so there is a huge school-wide emphasis on organization. Totally up my alley. 🙂 And YES on streamlining rewards. It’s so easy to go overboard and then get really lazy. LOL

  2. I started the year using my teacher desk, but since it became a holder of junk, I now use it as a classroom craft supply area!

    • What a great idea! I’m noticing that more and more teachers are doing away with their desks. It’s not as if we have time to actually sit down at a desk during the day anyway, right???

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