Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Finally!  I was able to get into my classroom on Monday.  If you are a blog reader of Teaching My Friends, (Yes, all 4 of you!) it is not a surprise that I was eagerly awaiting Monday.  I was a bit afraid to see what I was walking into.  However, the custodial staff was wonderful!  My room was very clean, and they put my furniture back in place perfectly.  It makes it so much easier to get your room in order when you don't have to begin by moving tons of furniture.

A quick tip:
I don't know how it works in your school, but in ours they completely empty out the classrooms over the summer.  They need to strip and rewax the floors, so getting everything out is a must. They do sections of the hallway at a time, so there are about four classrooms worth of furniture and materials stashed in the hall while they work. 
On the last day of school, I use chart paper to make a bird's eye view map of my room. I place and label every desk, cabinet, and table.  It is stapled to a bulletin board along with a friendly note to the custodial staff.  I request that, if they have the time, I would appreciate it if they could put the furniture back according to the map. I also make a point to thank them and wish them a great summer.   In the 15 years I have been teaching, I think only once has my room not been put back together perfectly.  And, that was because all our district elementary schools were reorganized and chaos was the order of the summer!

One more tip:
In June, because our rooms are emptied into a jumble in the hallway with other classrooms, we have to label everything in our room.  And, I mean EVERYTHING!  I have found blue painter's tape to be fantastic for this. I slap a strip on every table, shelving unit, chair, book, etc.  Then, I use a Sharpie to write my last name on the tape.
Here's what makes the tape so wonderful:  come back two months later and the tape peels right off with no sticky residue.  In the past, I have done it with masking tape, but the heat of the summer just bakes it right on.  I was always left having to peel it off in tiny pieces and then there would still be sticky gunk left behind. It's the heat that just kills it.  Painter's tape solves that problem.  I find myself also using it during the school year for putting up posters and other things I want to easily remove later.

Now, on to my room!
I'm going to leave you with some before pictures of my classroom.  I have lots of plans!  Two days in and I have a lot done, but there is still so much more to go!  I'm planning on posting my "after" pictures over the weekend.  It's going to take me all week to do what I have in mind. 

This is the back of my room.  It's the view you have from our doorway.  See all those boxes?  Ugghhh.

If you turn to the left a bit, this is the front of the room.  You can see my Promethean board front and center.
Here's a view of the other side of my room, opposite the wall of windows.  Just to the left, out of the picture is the doorway to enter the room.  This was the front of my room until they put in the Pro board.  It has a long white board that I love because it is magnetic.  Remember those magnets I  made?  This is where they will shine!

If you stand in the front of my room, by the Pro board, this is the right side of the back of my room.  See that yellow wall?  It is a collapsing wall.  It can be opened to make my room and the classroom next door one giant room.  Not that we ever have.  What's cool about it is that it is made to be a giant bulletin board.  I can staple anything to it anywhere.  What's not so cool about that wall is that it's not such a great noise buffer between my class and the other class. 

And, if you stand by the Pro board, this is a view of the left side of the back of my room! Like my mish mosh of bookshelves?  Not one matches another!
So, that's the before.  Stay tuned for the after.  I'm excited to show you the finished product.  To be honest, I think I'm just going to be excited to BE finished!


  1. Love the idea of a chart paper map! I'll have to nicely ask our custodians if they wouldn't mind if I did that at the end of the year! I don't know how it is at your school, but when I try to move the furniture myself, some of the table and desk legs always stick to the newly waxed floor, and some of them have even peeled up chunks of tile!

  2. I'm glad you found the tip useful. Thanks for reading Mrs. Smith.