This blog post has been a long time coming. It has been my intention to show my classroom and reveal the place that I spend about 10-12 hours a day in. That being said, with collaborating on a few projects with my great friend, Reagan Tunstall, from Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits, I knew it was now or never.
From my first schooling experience and through my eight years of teaching, my entire educational career has been in public schools. I believe in public schools. And still do. But this year I was given an opportunity to teach first grade at a private Catholic school in central Austin. I (anxiously) made the switch and I couldn’t be any happier. I love sharing special sacred moments with my students, and being able to see God through their little eyes, is remarkable.
Since I changed schools, it was a perfect moment to reinvent my classroom once again. When designing my classrooms, I usually pick a color scheme based upon something that inspires me. This time it was a wooden sign from Buc-ee’s. Y’all Texans/people from the south/frequent travelers know what I’m talkin’ about…during a road trip it’s my tradition to always stop to use their super clean restrooms. Well on one particular trip down to south Texas, I stopped to get myself a sweet tea and some beaver nuggets (not what you’re thinkin’), and there it was. The cutest dadgum sign ever. Complete with white angel wings and a red rose. So I grabbed the “blessed” sign (forgot the sweet tea and beaver nuggets) and that was it. The inspiration for the room. Red and teal and rustic. And so the teal and red decoration hunt had begun…
This room (like all classrooms) has some really great, positive attributes, but it also has your pull-out-your-hair, why-did-someone-put-that-thing-right-there challenges. My new room is LARGE but it has no counter tops, cubbies, or places to put things. Yes. That’s right. None. Not a ledge, a counter, a long tabletop, nothin’. So I had to create places to put things on and devise smart storage spaces. But I did it. I created a space that I love!
So let’s go! Welcome to my teal and red cottage.
Standing at the doorway looking into the classroom.
Move over from the cabinets along the left wall and you will see the classroom library and more focus wall. I just adore this little tree. Find it HERE. I added these birds and cut out some of my own leaves from wrapping paper. And how presh is this shabby chic teal chalk board? A friend of mine gave it to me after finding it at a flea market. LOVE!
In the library is our Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop board. It is nicely adorned with anchor charts and posters from A Year of Many Firsts, The Teacher Wife, and of course, Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits.
My library is organized by interest topics as well as reading levels so students can go shopping for both types of books during Reader’s Workshop. I love the classic look of Maria’s white series book bin labels. They are a perfect fit for these black book bins from Really Good Stuff. The bookshelves and rugs are from IKEA and the cube storage benches are from Wal-Mart. These benches are a lifesaver to act as “counter tops” in my classroom. They hold almost anything!
Right after my leveled library I have a quiet little desk and chair for one. The perfect place to read or write! The tiny white table is IKEA and the chair is vintage.
Since I strive for my classroom to feel welcoming like a home, I have several areas for students to read, write, and work which are more comfortable than their desks. My reading corner is comprised of rustic teal and red furniture made out of old fences. A man from the Dallas area makes them for traveling craft shows. They were the perfect addition to my room! The white book display case is where I place the books that fit our theme for the week. I read several of those books throughout the week and students may pull them from that shelf to enjoy.
The small park bench is from Lowe’s. You can find it here. I simply added a baby bumper pad to it and transformed it into a comfy place for a few littles to sit and read.
Here is another Wal-mart cube storage bench but this time it is a supply holder AND a bench. The bench topper is a piece of foam covered in material and tied down with ribbon. That’s it. The supply baskets are from Michael’s and are used to store extra supplies.
Next to the supply bench is a large wicker basket where student privacy “offices” are kept along with portable desks from IKEA. My classroom does not have cubbies, but we do have backpack hooks. I numbered the hooks and the coordinating book boxes. Their book box sits under their backpack until it’s Reader’s Workshop time!
Above the backpack hooks is the word wall. I used the “shiplap” weathered wood fadeless paper from Pacon. I think it matches perfectly with my rustic fence bench and chairs. Don’t you? The circle alphabet word wall letters can be found in my tpt store for FREE. I have a black set and a white set, too! Find them HERE. The teal bucket is labeled “Hydration Station” and that is where the students place their water bottles.
Here’s a view from the back corner of the room, looking at the front of the classroom. Nothing makes my heart happier than a bookshelf full of books!
A close up of my small group area. The shelving unit with eight canvas bins is from Costco. The bins hold all my things for teaching reading and math in small group. They certainly hide any clutter. Winning! The little chalkboard is from Michael’s and the teal and burlap lamps are from Kirkland’s. The lighted up “G” is from Kirkland’s as well. And the apple light is from Mardel. I have little treats in the clear and red apple candy jars. Every time my scholars come to reading group, they get ONE jellybean from the jar. They think I am the best teacher because of one jellybean, y’all. One. I know some might not like this idea, but I want reading to be an enjoyable experience, so I treat them. Everyone likes to be treated. Think about when someone brings treats to the lounge. Your mood drastically changes. I hope my small treat brightens my students’ day. It’s that simple.
This summer I made my teacher toolbox using this toolbox and teal spray paint from Lowe’s and these labels. I absolutely love the way it turned out. In the windows, I wanted to continue the cozy cottage feel, so I stained some unfinished wooden planter boxes and added in silk flowers and greenery. It adds just a little something special to the windows.
The valance curtains are made out of red polka dot burlap and teal scalloped ribbon. Right next to my small group area is my desk space including a file cabinet, a tall bookshelf with hardcover books, and the document camera.
This year, I wanted to eliminate a big teacher desk. I found this small desk and drawers at IKEA and it was the perfect solution. Still big enough for my laptop and cute desk supplies, but small enough to not take up too much room.
The fun teal chair is from Sam’s Club and my planner to match my room is Plum Paper. I simply love these planners because you can change the cover designs to any color choices you desire. Naturally, I went with teal and red.
The cute but functional IKEA utility cart holds all my teacher editions, example science and math journals, as well as any lesson materials I need. It is so handy to have it right next to the document camera. I purchased the labels here.
Now you see where I do most of my whole group teaching. My easel, director’s chair, pointers, carpet, and a SmartBoard are a necessity. This colorful carpet makes “carpet spots” easy and it is a good size. I highly recommend it.
Here is where I keep a lot of items that the students can access. This small red IKEA table is a wonderful size to hold this all-purpose teacher organizer from Lakeshore. It contains all my weekly items I may need. The adorable labels are from here. The tall scrapbook sorter is from Michael’s. I store hands-on games (like from The Lit Kit) and activities in these boxes so students can take them back to their desk and use them to extend their learning. On top of the big book stand (dual purposing again), I have another teal lamp, pencil cans (labels are free from Reagan Tunstall), and a band-aid station. Band-aids and pencils are self-serve as needed. This cuts down on a LOT of requests and makes students responsible to solve small problems themselves.