Sunday, September 4, 2011

As Ready As I'll Ever Be!

I am so tired! Getting your room in order is hard work.   I'm planning to enjoy these last couple of days of summer.  School starts for me on Tuesday.  Thursday and Friday were teacher meeting days, but the kids are coming Tuesday.  I think I'm ready.  Of course, there are about five million more things I wish I had time to do, but the show must go on!  Here's a quick glimpse into my room.  If you want a better view, just click on the picture and a larger version should pop up.
This is the small bulletin board that hangs outside my classroom.  Welcome!

Just a quick view across the room.  There's no real theme other than

Here is the view looking into my room.  My class library is along the back wall.  One of my favorite things in this picture are the dots on my windows.  They serve no purpose other than to be bright and make me smile.  Below is a picture of the class library and the reading bulletin board above it.


Here is an up close view of our class calendar.  The posters around it are all fun quotes I found on Pinterest.  In fact, this is where I put the colored pencil flower vase I made, which was also Pinterest inspired.

This is the area where I meet with my small groups or individual students.  Please ignore the mess behind it.  I still need to get my files out and organize the shelves you see there.  Behind this area, on the white board is my six-trait board.  I used the term "Voices" to help remind the kids.  Below is an up-close picture of it.

So, that's kind of it for now.  There are still things to do and some things to still figure out how I want to do!  But for now, I'm pretty much ready for Tuesday when my 24 friends arrive.  As I "live" in this room and tweak, I will probably come back and do a couple of what-works-for-me-and-what-was-a-fail posts related to the set-up.

Quick Tip!
Did you notice the tennis balls on all the chairs?  I really think this is a sanity saver, at least for me!  Because I have baskets on the bottom of my chairs, they become fairly heavy once my friends load them up.  This means when you move the chairs, they make an incredibly loud scraping noise.  Now, multiply that by 24 friends who are constantly in and out of their chairs and you can imagine the noise.  Not to mention, my classroom is on the second floor.  When my friends all get up at the same time, in the class below us it suddenly sounds like a pack of screaming elephants has invaded the second floor. 
The answer:  TENNIS BALLS!
I purchased a lot of regular tennis balls on Ebay.  Just do a search for tennis balls lot.  You will need a lot!  I have 24 desks, but I also put them on the chairs around my meeting tables and any other stray chair or stand I found.  The balls themselves aren't too expensive, but just watch the shipping.  Some sellers are very reasonable, and others are drinking some serious crazy juice!

Once you get them, you will have to cut a slit into each ball.  It's time consuming, but well worth it.  Be sure to have a very sharp serrated knife with a pointed end to first pierce the ball.  Then, you just saw a quick cut.  Don't cut it too big or it will fall off the chair leg.  It should be a bit of a squeeze to put it on.  And, wear safety gloves in case the knife slips.  I purchased a pair of suede working gloves in the dollar store and more than once they saved me.

Finally, most teacher stores do sell precut tennis balls in sets of four.  Last year, I ran short a few tennis balls.  Rather than buy a big lot on Ebay, I just ran out and purchased a couple of packs of the precut balls.  They were a total waste of money.  They were a bit pricey, and they didn't last more than about five months.  They just weren't as durable as the regular tennis balls.  I can get about four years from a set of regular tennis balls.  After four years, they do need replacing.  But, five months was just ridiculous!  So, while the regular tennis balls are more work, they are well worth the effort.  Plus, the kids get a kick out of them when they first see them!


  1. Your room looks amazing! If I were a student, I would be happy to come to this room every day to learn!

  2. Thanks so much Ashlee. We are off to a great start!

  3. Looks great! Question... what do you put on the VOICES bulletin board? Anchor charts? Student work? :)

  4. Hi Erin,
    Voices is just the six traits of writing. When I do a mini-lesson that pertains to a specific trait, we write a key word or remindr of it on a sentence strip cut to the width of the chart and post it under that column. For example, under Excellent Word Choice we have a card that says, "Strong Verbs." This was after a lesson on verbs and how some verbs are better at conveying meaning or feeling than others.

    I use the board as a reminder when I'm conferrencing with a friend, and I often see them look at it when they are writing. It's also great for setting goals in writing. Your friends can look at it and decide what is a specific goal they want to work on in their writing until you meet next time. Keeping with the example, if you are meeting with someone who is using weak verbs, you can refer to the wall and make that his/her goal to work on in writing until you meet.

    I'm sure other people may be using them in other ways, but that is what has been working for me. Hope that wasn't too muddled of an explanation. :-)

  5. Just a quick note about the tennis balls -- I also use them, since I work with SpecEd students who often have motor and sensory issues. The tennis balls have saved me so many times from melt-downs! My husband actually gets me the tennis balls for free! He works where there is a tennis complex, and he went and asked what they do with the "dead" tennis balls -- they actually had a big container of these balls that no longer bounced correctly. He took a big garbage bag of the balls, and we cut the slits in them. They have lasted several years, and I will be having him bring home a new bag this summer. Worth a shot to ask around, as it can save a lot of money!

  6. I love it! Nice work! Happy School Year!