LET THE CLASSROOM MAKEOVER BEGIN!
Exciting news!!! I’m in the process of planning a complete overhaul of my classroom for next school year (2019-2020)! I’m inspired and have a new vision for how I want my classroom to look and feel. (You can read more about my motivation for the makeover in PART 1 here). Right now I’m in what I call the ‘dreaming and gathering’ phase. You can follow along here on my blog as I bring my vision to life!!
Last summer, the move to downsize from a house into a cozy condo in the city meant getting rid of lots of stuff. It felt amazing to simplify and I’ll be aiming for the same in my classroom. Fortunately, I didn’t get rid of everything that didn’t have a ‘home’ in my new condo. There were a few items that I still loved and held out hope that I’d eventually find a use for them.
And then it hit me! Why not bring them into my classroom? Duh!!! Why didn’t I think of this sooner?? They fit with the new ‘Calm & Cozy’ vibe I want to create in my class so I packed them up and off to school they went!
PICKING A COLOR PALETTE
My classroom makeover began with figuring out which colors I wanted to use as the ‘canvas’. Colors can evoke a variety of feelings and sticking to a few main ones can create a cohesive look for a classroom. Since my goal is Calm & Cozy, soft pastels mixed with some natural wood/shiplap mixed in are my choice.
You can find tons of inspiration on Pinterest or by clicking here to visit the Color Palettes site (which is where I found these beautiful images). When I first started looking at palettes, it became clear that the pastel colors were the ones that appealed to me the most. If you scroll through some palettes, you’ll probably see that your preferences become clear quite quickly!
I collected mine on a Pinterest board so I could easily refer back to them. All the love to Pinterest! That’s another great place to find color inspiration…just type ‘color palette’ in the search bar and you’ll be flooded with all kinds of beautiful color combinations. You can be more specific too by typing in things like happy color palette, bright color palette or calming color palette.
Another way to pick a color scheme for your classroom is a trip to the local teacher store (or online too since it IS 2019 afterall ;). I’m old school so I like to go in and see all the options in person! Once you pick a couple of borders that you like, you can base your classroom colors off those. Easy-peasy!!!
BULLETIN BOARD REFRESH
I did something I’ve never done before…made a trip to the teacher store in JUNE!!!! Mmmhmmm…see how dedicated I am to this classroom makeover?! Now here’s the amazing thing about shopping for borders at the end of the school year – NOBODY else is as nutty as you and you get the whole place to yourself!!!! AND everything is fully stocked!!
I’d done a lot of research online prior to my teacher store excursion so I had a pretty good idea of which borders I wanted to snag for my new room. Admittedly, I did second guess myself a little once I saw ALL the choices hanging there in front of me! In the end, I stuck with my original plan and I’m so happy I did! 🙂
Amongst the chaos of packing up my classroom for yet another year, I did manage to find the time to redo a couple of my bulletin boards (mainly because I was in looooove with my new borders and couldn’t wait to see how they looked). If you’re anything like me, this seemingly small endeavor can turn into a loooong process…getting those borders straight and even becomes a little bit of an obsession for me. Taking that task off my plate before heading out for summer felt amazing!! Here’s the result:
I even replaced the fabric background on my boards this time. If you haven’t tried fabric instead of paper on your boards, I highly recommend it!! So durable, doesn’t get all wrinkly in the humid weather and you hardly notice the staple marks on it. The fabric on my boards had been up for at least 6 years and still looked great! One of my teacher friends even took hers down, washed it, and put it back up. 🙂 My fabric is a set of the Mainstays brand bed sheets from Walmart. Affordable and does the job perfectly.
WASHI-WASHI WORD WALL
I’ve found washi tape to be an amazing tool for creating a word wall grid on a whiteboard. The color options are endless and it’s also very forgiving when you need to adjust it. My current word wall was made with washi tape about 6 years ago and it’s held up beautifully! Except we lost a letter somewhere along the way this year…
As soon as I spotted this aqua washi tape, I decided to tackle the project of replacing the tape on my word wall and updating the letter cards. This one will even include an F. #teachergoals
The process of measuring and getting the tape straight the first time took forevvvver! I may not remember much from setting up my classroom years ago but the pain of THAT task (and centering my alphabet) has stuck with me. To save myself the headaches, I came up with a little procedure that went like this:
I marked the current lines with a whiteboard marker before replacing the tape (not going through that process again!!!). When I started to try and peel off the tape, it was tearing into small pieces and I quickly realized this might turn into another neverending task. I guess when washi tape sits on something for 5 or 6 years, it wants to stay there!
But wait…I got out my trusty Goo Gone (aka miracle worker) and used a paper towel to rub it along the current tape and let it sit for about 15 mins or so. This made a BIG difference in how easily the old tape came off. Then I just lined up the new tape and DONE! *Forgot to take an after pic but you’ll get to see it once I add the letter cards.*
BRING ON THE BINS!
Storage is KEY in my classroom and I’ve spent many hours searching for bins and tubs that will be a good fit for our supplies AND withstand daily use by my little first graders! Hands-down my favorite bins have been the plastic magazine holders from Big Lots. They are perfect for our center materials and my current bins are still going strong after 5 years. Only problem? They seem to be a seasonal item and it’s been tough to find more of them.
Sooooo you can imagine how excited I was when I found them online this year!!! AND in colors that are a perfect fit for my new classroom design! Oh HAPPY DAY! I’m even tossing around the idea of replacing my current classroom library with these. Stay tuned as I’ll be dedicating an entire post to the amazing uses for these bins. In the meantime, how beautiful is the robin’s egg blue color?!?
SUPPLY ORGANIZATION – DESK CUPS!
Another find that I’m excited about?? These small plant pots from IKEA! They were on sale for 99¢ each…regularly $2.49! #IKEAforthewin
What am I going to do with all those pots you might be wondering…well they are going to replace the cups that I have on the desks. Supply management has been a HUGE issue in my classroom for the past few years. Our school board no longer allows us to provide supply lists to our students so very few of my students bring their own personal supplies. This was a big change from when I first started when most kiddos had their own pencil cases and they just kept them in their desks. I’d always give a pencil box and supplies to any of my little ones who didn’t bring their own. Supply management was a non-issue really.
Fast-forward and now most of my class uses the communal supplies. I’ve been experimenting with how to manage this
fiasco situation for years and finally found something that worked!!! I hot glued a cup on each desk. It holds 2 pencils, an eraser, a glue stick and scissors (well, we work our way up to being able to have glue sticks and scissors in there ;). I choose a volunteer to check all cups to make sure they still have their supplies before dismissal.
The crayons were the only supplies that weren’t in the cups. I kept those in cups which were placed in baskets. Since my desks are in groups of 4 or 6, the groups would get a basket and each kiddo would take a cup. It worked okay but I was trying to find a better system. Great thing about these new pots is that they’re a little larger and a container of crayons will fit in them. No more shared crayon baskets. Woohoo!
So that’s all for now…I have a few projects underway which I’ll be back to share soon. I’ve also been designing a bunch of decor items to go along with my new Calm & Cozy vibe and it’s starting to come together. In MY head at least! Until next time…
With love, from my classroom to yours,