Classroom Makeover!

I just went to write a new post and found this one from FALL BREAK! Enjoy! 

It’s Fall Break here! And what better to do than spend half of it… AT SCHOOL! For most people that wouldn’t be a break from school, but there is nowhere more peaceful than a school building during a break! Plus, it’s my happy place right now. Especially since it’s been my lifelong dream to be a public school teacher and I didn’t get the job until two days before school started so I had basically zero time to do anything with it other than throw things in and say, “Voila! It’ll have to do.” So when the grandparents requested my kiddos for the week I, reluctantly, agreed. And when I say reluctantly, I mean I let my kids go with them, kicking and screaming the whole time because *I* wanted them all to myself this week. I also wanted all summer to prepare for my school year but that didn’t happen now did it. So I took my lemons and made lemonade. Sean has had to work all week so I would’ve been home alone anyway. Might as well drive the two minutes to school and play, I mean work, in my room right? I have always loved being crafty and this week has been no different! I’m so excited to share my room makeover with you all! AND as an added bonus, I have made a few of the items from my room available through my new Teacher’s Pay Teachers store! Yay!

So here’s what my room looked like at the beginning of the school year: 

The left side of  the room from the door. And although the painted ceiling tiles are awesome I don’t get to keep them, they’re going back to the former tenant. But I’m going to decorate my own. 

I had a LOT of issues with the desks being smack up against the wall. Many of the 6th graders would exploit that fact to do things on their Chromebooks they weren’t supposed to because I couldn’t see their screens unless I was RIGHT next to them. Which always gave them time to exit out by the time I got there. 

Right side of the room from the door:

The board, I’m actually still really happy with this part of my room. I 💙 the border around the board! This is the focal point of the room and the banner above the board is where I got the colors for the room. 

 I love this shelf full of class sets of books! It just makes me so very happy! 

 These are my independent work stations.

 I did a growth mindset lesson on this quote at the beginning of the year. This is our, “I did it!” wall. Any time the students have something they’re really proud to have accomplished we put it on this wall. By the end of this first 9 weeks the wall was a MESS! A happy one full of A & B’s tests but still, they were everywhere and it was driving me bonkers! 

And with only 2 days before the start of school they certainly didn’t have time to make a name plate for me so I turned this little sign I had into one! 

Not bad for only having 1 day to prepare it! BUT I knew I could do better. Here’s what it looks like now! 

I originally had my turn in folders over by my desk, for better traffic flow I moved them next to the board. I also added a tissue/extra paper station under it. I’m not sure you if you can see it but right above the outlet there is a Rock, Paper Scissors kit I found at Meijer. It’s one of the favorite items in my room. It’s a rock shaped  eraser, post it notes & a pair of kid scissors. 

“The Reading Corner” has transformed into, “The Book Nook.” I pushed the smaller shelf over to the bigger shelf to create a more intimate space. The original configuration with the pillows strewn across a third of the room facilitated pillow fights and jumping into them like a pile of leaves. This doesn’t. Plus the rules are clearly posted and will continue to be discussed throughout the year. The adorable twine banner I’m completely in love with is available as a PDF printable here in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

The fridge got hoisted by yours truly onto the counter behind my independent work desk. This is where all my children’s after school snacks found a home so it just made sense to make it a little kitchenette. I’m not sure that you can see very well in the pictures but I decorated the small pails as well with a white ribbon with black polka dots. 

The pails were a Target Dollar spot find and the ribbon was a Michaels Dollar spot find! Next to that is my coat hook and a mirror, always handy. 

And above the independent work station, 

 This space may get a Keurig coffee maker added to it because Sean just gave me one for my birthday this morning before he left! 

Sam our amazing janitor hung this K for me that I found at Hobby Lobby for 50% off. I had been wanting one of their metal K’s for months but never wanted to pay that much for them, but 50% off was impossible for me to resist. And this one has a wood frame even! Thanks again Sam! 

In this pic, that I know Sam would hate, you can see the I did it wall redesigned. I used twine again to carry the theme through the room. Over the summer I had found 5 $1 packages of 6 neon colored flower clips each that were perfect for this spot! Now each of my students has their very own clip on the wall. When I introduced it to them yesterday they were so excited! Several of them immediately started digging through their folders for a paper to put on the wall. It was really kind of awesome. 

Here’s another of my 50% off Hobby Lobby indulgences. These kiddos have been through a LOT! At a young age life has handed them not one, but a bowl full of lemons. Their brains don’t process information quite like every one else’s do and that has made public school learning very difficult for them. Life, for them, has been tough so the instant I saw this sign I knew I had to have it! My goal is to take pictures of each student being “tough” and then surround the sign with their pictures. I want them to KNOW that when they leave that room and go back into the world that they are tougher than anything they will face out there. 

I also have these two desks facing the wall. It makes them look like time out desks, they’re not. Iwanted to have a space where a group of two could work together nicely and that was the only way the desks would fit in the space. I made site to emphasize that to the kids yesterday. 

This window cling is one of the first things I bought for my room waaaaaaaaaaay before I had a room. It’s one of my many subtle nods to the Bible and anyone who’s been to Sunday school can relate it to “This Little Light of Mine.”

Here I have a group of 3 desks for those who prefer a window seat decorated with some more inspiration from Sheridan’s own Market on Main.

I’ll be working this saying into a lesson in the next few weeks. And I’ve downloaded some cute arrows to decorate with! 

The Brownie Points board was birthed last year when I got my first Guided Study class. The main purpose of the class is to reinforce what is being taught in the General Education classes and helping them get their homework finished. Well, I knew from experience that the number one problem for my students was getting their homework done AND turned in on time. So I needed an incentive program to help them do this because obviously the intrinsic reward of finished work wasn’t enough for them. I am a total believer in food dye allergies especially in kids with ADHD, a large majority of the kids in the Special Ed program. I have SEEN kids before and after food dye and is not always pretty! So naturally I avoid them at all cost in my student rewards. Chocolate has food dyes. And usually little to no preservatives even, depending on the product. So when I saw this idea on Pinterest I knew it was for me! I check the students Powerschool accounts every Friday, if they have zero zeros  (no missing work) they get a Hershey kiss and a brownie point for the board. Any time they get an A or B on a test, they get a Hershey Kiss and a Brownie Point. Once the board fills up we have a brownie party. I bring in the ingredients to make a glass pie plate of microwave brownies and I make them FRESH during class. 

And here is the user names and passwords banner you can find here in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

Ok ya’ll, I’ve been working in this post for a WEEK, it’s time to declare it done whether it is or not. I just had a dream that is waking me up! I’ve been, as God put it, “Running with the ball”. He gave me this gift of this room and I’ve been running around clutching it hoping everyone would see how pretty it is in the hopes that I would get to keep it. But that’s not how God works. And it’s not the important thing either. I spent all of fall break making my room look pretty. And then last night had to stay up until midnight in order to finish an IEP for a case conference first thing this morning. Were my priorities in the right place? No. Obviously they weren’t! While it’s fun and so nice to have a nice clean pretty room now. That’s not the most important thing. The most important thing, in football terms, is that the goal gets made. Not that I have to be the one to make the goal. Sometimes, instead of running around with the ball trying to get everyone’s attention on the field, it’s better to pass the ball to the one who is guaranteed to be able to make the touchdown. I may not be the one to make the touch down myself, but at least I can be the one who made the touchdown pass. In spiritual terms, God is the only one who can truly make the touchdown goal. And if I’m not passing the ball to him in order to get the touchdown, there’s a very good chance that the touchdown won’t get made. However if I pass the ball back to him, it’s guaranteed to get made! So while I can run around clutching things to my chest I might get the attention that I want from others, but I’m not getting the attention for the right things. I’m not getting any attention for making a touchdown pass, I’m just getting attention. Sometimes we just have to pass the ball to the one who can make the touchdown. God blesses us in order for us to be a blessing to others. That requires that we take the things that God has given us and give them to others, not hold on to them for our own selfish reasons. Is there something that you are holding on to? Is there something that God has been asking you to let go of, and you’re not? Pass it to him! I have been floundering a lot lately. I have been trying to swim in a race, while carrying heavy burdens that I don’t need to be carrying. And if I would only give them to God and let him take care of them, that would free up my hands so that I can swim fully!

Lord I give you my world, I give you my doubt. Father I give you back the blessings that you have graciously bestowed upon me! I give them back not because I don’t want them, or because I don’t appreciate them, but because I do! I now understand that I have been clutching things to my chest and running away from you with them in the hopes that I would get to keep them. Not understanding, that you gave them to me because you wanted me to have them and that you won’t take them away. I now realize that you gave them to me to keep and to cherish and to use appropriately. Lord I know that I have been acting as if the things that you’ve been giving me we’re only temporary and wouldn’t last. But that’s not the kind of gifts that you give. All good gifts come from above! And if you ask us to give something away, it’s only because you have something better in mind to give us in exchange! Please help me to let go of the things that I don’t need to be holding on to you! Help me to let go of the things that are pulling me down in the water keeping me from swimming this race well! I want to swim this race well for you! 

Categories: Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Leave a comment

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