Monday, May 26, 2014

Update on Building My Dream Classroom

Work in progress!
We have counter tops!!!
Friday was a VERY exciting day for my classroom makeover!  I had to get to school at 5:45 to meet the guys from the cabinet shop.  They installed my counter tops and I LOVE them!  It looks so much cleaner with the fridge under the counter.  The best part is that now I can fill the cabinets up!  I have SUCH a mess in the back of my room.  I got rid of three large book shelves, two small book shelves, and a large cabinet.  All that stuff is just piled up and driving me nuts!

I have ordered upper cabinets.  They will be installed over the summer.  The cabinet guy is also going to attach a dry erase board on the back of one of the cabinets.  I found a magnet dry erase "sticker" that looked great for the job, but I think I am going to go with another option.  Here is the link for the magnetic sticker board.   I did find some info on cutting these types of boards.  You can read what I found by clicking here.   I would really like for the board to be magnetic, but the sticker is over $100 and I found a place that will cut it for me for $50.  My cabinet guy will supply and install a non-magnetic board for $40.  I pretty much HAVE to go with that option.  It doesn't seem worth the money for it to be magnetic.

This shows where the dry erase board will go.
One side of this area is where I share a desk with my aide.  The other side is my writing area.  It will be really nice to have a dry erase board in the writing area.  Kids LOVE writing on the board, but since my white board doubles as my smartboard, it is often not available during centers.

I also love having the cabinet that opens on the writing area side.  I have filled it with paintbrushes, ink pads, water color paint, etc.  It will be great to have all those resources in the right spot!

The OCD in me loves this drawer!

There are many things I still need to change in this area.  The desk is too big for the area.  I am looking for a smaller one.  I also have a mauve chair (which looks awful!).  I will buy a round table for my writing area over the summer.  It will match the wood on the cabinets and fit the area much better than the rectangle table I currently have in the space.

I am trying to find solutions to things that I KNOW are problems in my room.  One thing that bugs me is my jacket.  I like to keep a sweater or jacket in my room all year.  I get chilly when the air kicks on.  I usually keep an extra sweater on the back of a chair.  It slips off and I roll over it.  It looks ugly.  I need some place to keep my jacket.  I also need a place for my purse.  It is never in one spot!  My kids also come in and toss their backpacks in the middle of my floor everyday after school.  This is annoying!  I have solved all three of these problems by adding hooks to the wall in an unused corner.
No more purse on the floor!!!
Before I glued buttons.

I got rid of two small book shelves in my writing area.  They were cheap shelves that had been moved a few too many times so they were wobbly.  The wood was dark brown, so they had to go!

I want more floor space so I am hanging many of the supplies that were on the shelves.  I bought some wooden peg hooks and painted them green.  I attached them to the wall and hung supplies from them.  The screw holes looked ugly, so I hot glued buttons over them.
I bought these little, clear "paint buckets" from Joann's.  I have filled them with buttons, pom-poms, google eyes, and craft sticks.  I definitely need some more.
This is starting to look like my dream classroom!  Hooray!
I will post more as soon as I make more progress.  I am hoping to make a huge transformation over the summer!  It is SO much fun!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Classroom Decorating DIY

I have been giving my classroom library a makeover for the past few weeks and want to share some of my finished projects.
Project #1 - Cushions!
I found these great black storage benches at Walmart.  They were $60 each.  They hold so much stuff and I could definitely use all the storage space I can get!  They were very plain looking so I made some cushions for the back of them.  I wrapped batting and fabric around foam core board.  I used upholstery pins to make them tufted.  I hot glued buttons over the upholstery pins.

Project #2 - Stools!
I spray painted paint buckets and lids then made simple cushions by wrapping batting and fabric over foam core board.  I added a little ruffle and ribbon to spice them up!  I love that I can store stuff inside of them.  I was SO happy with these until one of my little darlings saw them and said, "Look!  She even made matching trash cans!" :)
Project #3 - Lamp!
I just covered a plain lamp shade with some leftover fabric and added a ruffle to the bottom.  This was a really simple project, but it really adds to the room!

Project #4 - Shelves!
I bought these plain wooden shelves at Joann's.  I took off the hooks and spray painted them.  I hot glued ribbon on them and then screwed the hooks back on.  This is perfect for hanging the headphones at my listening center.  I have made a couple more shelves like this, but left the hooks off.  I have many of these little book characters.  They did not all fit on one shelf, so I had to add more.  They look a lot cuter spread out a bit.  

I LOVE doing crafty DIY projects!  These are just a few of the things that I am finished with.  I have several more projects in the works!  Thanks for reading about my room makeover.  This is only the beginning!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Busy Day Movin' Stuff!

Today was such a busy day!  Tests in spelling, reading, and math, lesson plans, planning a literacy fair, setting-up a book fair, and working on my dream classroom!  I am so happy that it is Friday!  I think I am going to have to go in this weekend because I am SO impatient and can't stand it half finished!

Today's big accomplishments were moving two huge cabinets.  I have had a large white cabinet in my room since I moved in.  Why get rid of it?

  1. It is white and I am converting to maple and birch.  
  2. It is right next to my new cabinets and made the area feel crowded.  It is really deep.  
  3. It had SO much junk in it!  I filled a large trash bag, sent a box of treasures to our teacher resource room, and kept a small pile that still needs to find a new home.  

This cabinet is actually much bigger than it looks in the photo!

Hooray!  It is empty!

I used pant hangers to hold anchor charts.  This worked really well!
Two of my wonderful teacher friends helped me haul this monster to a classroom across the playground.  Who needs men? :)  We got this!!!

Last summer, my school bought me this cabinet from Discount School Supply.  I call it "The Big Daddy" because this guy is BIG- 74 inches tall and 48 inches wide!  I did not get the tubs that come with it.  I found some clear tubs from Walmart that fit PERFECTLY!  This cabinet was across the room and I liked where it was.  So, why move it?  
  1. I really want to focus on one area at a time, and don't want to spend the money on another cabinet.   
  2. The birch will look great with my new cabinets.
  3. It is only 15 inches deep, so it would make the area feel less crowded.  
I don't love the look of the junk in the clear tubs, so I made little labels for my bins.  I have lots of Poppin Patterns prints so I made the labels match.  I cut black paper to fit my tubs, glued a cut-out on each paper, and then laminated.  I did not write on the labels before I laminated them because I want to be able to change what they say.  I have made labels in the past and then decided that I could condense two things or needed to add something and I didn't have matching labels.  That bums me out!  I left these blank and will write on them with Vis-A-Vis pens so that I am able to change them as needed.  

I had a little "kitchen" station set-up for my microwave and coffee maker.  It was not very cute, but it worked well.  I have moved all of these things into the big daddy cabinet and it looks SO much cleaner!  
The old "kitchen" station.

The new "kitchen" station!

Getting these cabinets moved was a HUGE accomplishment.  I have made a BIG mess in my room.  I need to start finding new homes for the many things that have been displaced by my makeover.  I don't want to put very much in my cabinets until the counter tops are installed.  I am also going to get upper cabinets over the summer and will be able to put lots of my treasures in them.
Piles everywhere!!!  I can't wait to get it cleaned up!
So much work to do, but I really do love it!!!  I am so excited to see things coming together.  I will blog more as I make more progress.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Beginning the Big Classroom Makeover

I have been in my classroom for nine years.  I have NINE years worth of treasures and dust in my little classroom.  I spend so much time in room 203.  I want it to be BEAUTIFUL!  I keep seeing this logo in the school supply catalog...

I want MY perfect classroom!  I don't want my room to feel like a yard sale (lots of mismatched junk).  I have decided to start working on building my dream classroom.  How exciting is that???  After nine years, I need to show my room a little love.  It keeps me motivated and excited about going to work.  I am really going to work on this a lot over summer break, but I started it during spring break.

My first pet-peeve is all the colors of wood I have in my room.  I have light oak, dark oak, white, birch, and maple.  I decided to go with maple and birch.  These woods are very similar in color.  I like how light it is.
See the color problem?  Hate it!

This is all the awesome stuff that came off my shelves.  See why I need storage?
The first BIG step I took was to order cabinets.  I have NO built-in storage in my room and counter top work space would be SO nice!  I ordered cabinets to form a little L behind the desk I share with my aide.  I got my cabinets from Lowe's and it took them about five weeks to come in.  After I ordered my cabinets, I found out that Lowe's could not order the counter top that I wanted.  I am getting laminate because it is the cheapest choice and will work well for my room.  Lowe's only has laminate with a back splash.  I am building a "bar" that will have work space on each side, so I wanted rounded edges and no back splash.  I had to special order counters from another company.  They are still 2-3 weeks away.  Boo hoo!  Lowe's called me yesterday and told me that my cabinets were in.  My wonderful husband helped me pick them up.  They were going to charge me $250 to deliver them.  NO THANKS!!!

All loaded up and ready to go! 
I put the cabinets in place.  The counters will go over the fridge.  I am going to order dry erase board surface to go on the back of the cabinet that sticks off the wall.  The other side of this space is my writing area so a magnetic dry erase board will be PERFECT! 
I can't wait to get counters on!
I am going to order upper cabinets soon so that I can get them installed over the summer.  The desk is WAY too big for this area.  I think I can find a teacher willing to trade their tiny desk for this big one.  I will wait for school to end to swap it out.  I don't think all teachers are as excited about renovations right now as I am.    

My lower cabinets will not be "installed" in the school.  They will be attached to each other, and I will be able to take them out of the classroom if I choose to.  The upper cabinets will need to be attached to the wall, but the installers said they can be easily removed.  I am so excited to be doing this in my room!  It feels like a gift to myself.  I know that I could have spent the money on so many other things, but to be honest, I would WAY rather have a nice classroom than pedicures and coach purses.  I am kind of a dork like that!  I will keep blogging about the progress.  Hopefully it will turn out to be MY perfect classroom!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fun with Turns, Flips, and Slides!

Just a quick little post about today's math fun.  My kids are working on geometry.  This is probably my favorite math skill to teach.  There is just so much to do with it!  Today we talked about turns, flips, and slides.  Our math page didn't have a whole lot of practice and it was a little boring, so I improvised another math lesson that turned out to be a lot of fun!  I put a handful of stamps on each table and passed out ink pads.  I gave my darlings scratch paper and had them divide it in half.  We used the stamps to show slides and turnss.  The kids absolutely LOVED doing this!  I have stamps for just about every holiday.  Every time I see stamps for $1, I can't help myself!  I am going to remember this activity for holiday centers next year.  So easy and literally zero prep work.  LOVE IT!!!