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So I’ve been gearing up for back to school a lot this past week. My husband was on vacation from work, which allowed me to spend some quality time setting up my classroom and getting it ready for the new school year without my kids around. I had a pretty murky vision of what I wanted so to really flush out what I wanted I decided to create a style board so I could try and put some actual images into this vision.
- Copper pencil cups
- Blue picture frame set
- Clipboard display
- Gold lamp
- Blue rug
Once I decided on a color pallet it was time to add in some items that fit the vibe I was going for. I knew I wanted my classroom to feel a little cozier and homier than a traditional classroom. I also didn’t want to fill the walls with a lot of stuff, because I want my students to be the ones who ultimately decorate the room with their work. I started off by painting a bunch of thrift store frames in my colors. I left them all blank for now, but the plan is to fill them with black and white candids of my students throughout the year. I am also going to add some sort of inspirational quote to that big blank space, but I can’t think of the perfect one. Any ideas?
The next step was getting some of the curriculum-esque things up. One of the things I’ll be teaching this year is Washington state history. I was able go online to our state website and download and print off highway maps dating back to 1909. I hung them up on a section of wall and created a makeshift time line out of coordinating paper (although I’m not sold on that part yet). I still need to hang up the most recent highway map, but I love seeing how our state had changed over the past 100+ years.
I am also going to try something a little different for our writing time. I had a class set of dry erase boards and I used a large bulldog clip to clip a blank piece of paper to the front. I hung them from command hooks along the wall near my student desk groups. My plan is to take a photo of each of my students, like a book jacket would have, to create the feeling of each of them being real live authors. During writing time they will each be able to grab their board and find their perfect writing space within the room. They can use the dry erase board as a way to test out spelling ideas or write questions for me so that I can circulate through the room and conference with students without hundreds of interruptions.
When I first moved into my classroom I had 4 large rolling carts filed to the brim with student library books. They were so bulky and took up a lot of space. I picked up some boards and bricks and built these long and low shelves along the front of my classroom. I deliberately did not level the books so that there is no stigma as to which section students are choosing from. I want students to feel comfortable and confident in their reading ability no matter where they are.
As you can see I’ve been super busy and I have a few more exciting projects to share with you in the next couple of weeks. The one thing I have found is that at the end of the day I am EXHAUSTED and in need of a serious pick me up. The down side is that I have a 40 minute commute from school to home and there is not a single Starbucks along the way. I know that there are other coffee shops, but if I am going to pay someone else to make my coffee I want a guarantee that it is going to be delicious. I was feeling a little sad about this fact because I need a little afternoon pick me up most days and I was afraid I was never going to get one, but when I was picking up groceries at Safeway I found these little Starbucks VIA latte packets.
These little packets are a steal of a deal (you can’t even get gas station coffee that cheap) and they are amazing. All you need is hot water. That’s it. No really. Get your water hot, mix your packet in and then enjoy. Now I’ve had instant coffee products before from other brands and let’s be honest, they are not that good. I’m not going to lie and tell you that they are exactly like drinking a Starbucks latte, but they are actually realllllly good. Imagine if your regular coffee pot coffee and a Starbucks latte had a love child. That love child would be these VIA latte packets. These are perfect for my classroom and those days when I need a good coffee drink for the drive home, the afternoon lessons or even a mid morning wake up. I am thinking that these first couple of months teaching are going to be kind of like having a newborn baby…long sleepless nights, hazy days and endless coffee.