Saturday, July 6, 2013

Classroom Decor

This has been my first summer that I have actually taken off and not picked up a summer job and I am loving it! I have had so much time to plan lessons, organize units, and, of course, get decorations ready for my new classroom!

Pinterest is a dream for teachers! It is so easy for me to spend a few hours looking at amazing lesson ideas, crafts to make, etc. Throughout the school year I created a pin board called "Summer Projects Home & Classroom" of ideas and inspiration for the new school year. Over the summer I have tried to get some of these projects done so that I can make my classroom more comfortable for my students.

Here are a few things that I have made over the summer so far for my classroom:

This is a really cute (and giant!) wreath I made to go on the wall in my classroom. I saw this pin on pinterest of this wreath from The Simply Scientific Classroom and had to make it! The curtains I bought for my classroom last year are green and white polka dot and I had also purchased blue and green crates from Target. I love the two colors together because they are not too feminine or too masculine for all of my students. The wreath was perfect because it had pops of pink and black in it. This picture is a little dark because it was taken at night, but I will show better pics once my classroom is all arranged.
I found a blog tutorial by Miss Kopy Kat on how to make this spiral deco-mesh wreath. It was too easy not to at least attempt it and I love how well it turned out!
To make this you will need:
  • 16" wreath wire frame from the floral department $3.99
  • 4 rolls of deco-mesh in your colors (mesh is 21" wide and 10" yards long) Note: Yes, you will use almost all of this on the wreath if you want it to look full!!!
  • Black pipe cleaners (also called chenille now (really?!? when did that happen?)
This was even easier for me to make because my husband helped hold the spirals while I twisted them with the pipe cleaners (note: I put on a really good move to help pass the time and appease the spouse and lower the grumbling) and put them on the wire wreath.
Another item I made this summer was the Teacher's Toolbox!

I am in love with how it turned out! I first saw this post on Fun in Room 4B's blog and knew I had to make one! The drawers of my desk are always full of these random items still in their boxes but they take up so much space and they are not always readily available. This was such a fun craft to make! I did have to order the toolbox from Lowe's because my local home improvement stores were not carrying this item on the shelf. I spray painted it black (note: make sure you spray the whole box first with a primer so that the spray paint will stick!) and let it dry. I used Fun in Room 4B's template for the box and just customized some of the labels that I thought would be more useful for me.

One of the most time consuming tasks for me was making my hall passes and plaque for on the wall. I got the idea after seeing a pin on pinterest that connected to Miss Jenning's Hall Passes. I wanted something similar for my own classroom for when I simply don't have time to fill out an agenda for a student to go to the bathroom because I'm in the middle of teaching or for when they have to go to the office/nurse, etc. I wanted to make sure I did this in the same blue and green theme of my classroom with maybe a pink pass or some black here or there.

It took a lot of work...

and a few days to let the paint coats set before I could add another paint color. I bought everything at Michael's craft store. I bought the wood plaque sign and spray painted it black. I then used stencils to add my pink letters after it had dried, HOWEVER because the black paint had not been painted over it was still sticky and lifted up some of the black paint. I then had to go back in and hand paint the pink lettering and touch up the black plaque.

 I also added a few polka dots in green and blue. I learned the easiest trick ever for how to add polka dots from pinterest. Use the eraser side of a pencil! DUH!!! This made the perfect sized polka dots. Even my husband was asking how I got them so perfect.

I also made the READ letters to go on the wall in my classroom library. They are originally posted by Queen of the First Grade Jungle. I don't have a close-up of them yet but will add one once they are on my classroom wall. I love them!

The hall passes are a little bit of work but so cute! I used one hall pass like this last year. The wood signs are $0.79 each! Such a steal! By the end of the year last year one student had dropped the pass and part of it had broken off but I'm not going to complain when they are so cheap and accidents happen.

I always feel guilty making a student use one of their personal hall passes from their agenda (students at my school get 10 hall passes each 9 weeks) if they have to go to the office or to see the nurse. I like to have something that I can quickly grab and let them go. I also noticed that several kids wanted to go to the library last year towards the end of class. I HATED to make them use a personal pass because I am the Language Arts teacher and who am I to discourage a love for reading? That is when these passes come in handy.

I painted each of them with acrylic paint that was on sale at Michael's for $0.49 a bottle. It took about 3 coats to really get a good color and to make sure that you could not see the wood grain through the paint. I then used black acrylic paint to write on the passes. Obviously, from the picture above, you can tell that I did not use a stencil. I learned my lesson with the wood plaque and was weary of doing this again. Next year I might try to just buy a fine print paint sharpie to do this.

My name is on the back of the passes.

My intention is to paint a layer on all of these to seal the paint and to get rid of the sticky feel this week. I will then loop ribbon through the passes and my husband is going to put 6 knobs on the "Mrs. Finley" plaque to hang on my wall. I also bought a picture hanging kit at Bed, Bath & Beyond for $3.99 that holds up to 30 pounds to put on the back of the sign so that I can easily hang this in my room.

My masterpieces drying:

That has been the majority of the crafting for the month of June. I intend to do a few more projects before school starts.

A few more things I have bought for my classroom:

Our school has tiled classrooms. Last year one of the teachers that was retiring gave me some foam mats that link together for in my reading corner. The kids seemed to think it was okay, however I was annoyed at how dirty it always looked (I ask my students to take off shoes and just wear socks in this area) and how small it was. This year I wanted a carpet remnant. I ended up buying one that was unbound to go in my classroom for $83. Although this was a little expensive it is a 12 x 9 piece of carpet and I intend to use it for many years to come! I'll post some pictures later of it in my classroom.

I also bought this futon at a garage sale for $45! Such a steal!

This is going to go in my reading area at school! I am going to wash the cover and then put a fitted sheet over it. I may need to add something to the cushioning to make it a little more plush. I think the minions will love it!

I also would like to add some table lamps around the room. I am not a big fan of the fluorescent lighting. I really do think it gives me headaches during the school year and so I prefer to always leave one set of them off or even completely off (depending on what the students want). I think adding some lamps around the room will make the ambiance more cozy and, hopefully, lead to less headaches.

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  1. You have been busy. Your minions will love your deco. Love the READ. I've been working on a new banner for my library. I'll get it finished before two long.

  2. Thanks so much for the sweet comment Sara! It is amazing how much we get done during the summer and when we have a little free time. Love your blog! Can't wait to see your banner!

  3. Amy, I'm so impressed by all of your work on your classroom and your blog. Are you on Teachers Pay Teachers? I feel like it would be great for you. Here is my referral code if you're interested.

    I feel like I'm still just starting my blog, but here's the link to that too. You are an inspiration.

  4. Dava, that is so sweet of you to say! I am such a blog newbie to sharing about my personal classroom, lesson plans, etc. I'm not sure if I am ready for Teachers Pay Teachers just yet. :) I feel like I am really not that creative when it comes to classroom d├ęcor, just appreciative of those of you that make it so easy for the rest of us. :)

    Can't wait to check out your blog!


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