B2S Prep: Classroom Enviornment

I am a firm believer in making your classroom a place that makes YOU (the teacher) and your students happy.  I like a clean and organized classroom… now, that doesn’t mean my room is spotless at all times, but I do keep the mess under control if at all possible!  I’m the kind of teacher that is constantly picking up trash, pushing in chairs, organizing table buckets, and throwing stuff away.  {Now, my cabinets and drawers are a different story, ha!}  I’ve been known to change bulletin boards out more often than not because I’m always looking for ways to improve what’s going on in my room.  I do the same thing at my house… I’ll switch up decorations, decide over the weekend we need a completely different look for the living room, or frantically clean up the mess that we’ve been making all week.  It’s just who I am as a person, so that definitely translates into my classroom!
This year I added more black fabrics and burlap because it just has a calming feel to me.  The black makes things pop and the burlap gives it a more homey feel.  I just like the contrast of the black and white and the pop of bright colors here and there.  I found all of my material at Hobby Lobby.  My burlap also comes from there and Wal-Mart 🙂
Now, I am also a believer in leaving room for student work and anchor charts that we make as a class.  BUT, that doesn’t mean I leave my classroom empty.  Having the material, border, titles, etc. up shows that I have been anticipating my new students and I’m ready for us to learn and work together!  I’ve never been one to have completely bare walls on Meet the Teacher night.  I want my kiddos to walk into my room and see that I’m prepared, but there’s also room for their little personalities!
Now, let’s talk about the three sections of the bulletin board that you are seeing above.  First of all, you’ll see my writing board.  This is where I will put our writing anchor charts, student writing examples, and things like that.  
Above you will see my student-generated alphabet.  I’ve blogged about my alphabet for several years now.  You can find a more detailed post HERE!  I’ve changed the background to black, but that’s the only change I’ve made.  We still brainstorm our words as a class, divide out the drawing/coloring responsibilities, and tackle the project as a class!  You can find my alphabet headers HERE.  All I did to get this part of my room ready was glue the headers to the top of a black sheet of cardstock and laminate!  These have actually lasted two years now.  Once my students finish their drawings, I just staple on top!  At the end of the year I can simply remove their drawings so that it is ready for my new group!
The wall shown above (in the top picture) is divided into three parts.  The writing section and word wall are actually ONE bulletin board that I divided into two sections by just using different fabrics and trimmer.  The student generated alphabet is above the bulletin boards.  I’ve just stapled those things onto the wall.  Thankfully, I’m able to staple on all four walls of my classroom 🙂
On day one my word wall is completely empty other than the material, border, and alphabet letters.  Now, I used to make all of my alphabet letters for my word wall, or print, laminate, and cut.  BUT, I’ve gotten lazy over the years.  Now, I just use Pre-Cut punch out letters.  You can find the ones that I have HERE.  I don’t laminate because I don’t want to cut circles out, ha!  
The reason I don’t put up ANY sight words before my students come into the room is because I want all of those words to be meaningful to them.  We add words as they are discussed and practiced.  Most of my words come from a list that my district has provided, but I also add words as my students request (aka ask me how to spell over and over again).  You can find out more about some of the fun activities we do with my word wall HERE!!
Sticking to the Sight Words Pack HERE
 One of my favorite parts of my classroom is this giant tree that I have stapled to my back wall.  After four years I finally redid it because it was just soooo dusty!  All I did was get the brown butcher paper roll from our workroom and cut/crinkle/staple until I got the look I wanted!  I started with the trunk and then did the branches one at a time until I filled up the space.  It was super easy and only took about an hour to make.  The last thing I needed to do was add the leaves that I made out of construction paper!  This tree anchors one of my reading areas 🙂  
To the left of the tree you’ll see pictures of my students on my cabinets.  That’s something I implemented after visiting the Ron Clark Academy in the winter.  Those pictures just brighten up my classroom environment and give my students ownership in their learning space.  I’m going to be doing a lot more with their pictures in the upcoming year, so I’ll keep you posted!
So, that gives you a little peek into my classroom and a few things that I think are important in my classroom environment!  Of course, all of these things are MY opinion… which are just based on my personal preferences and teaching experience :))  

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Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


Sample a day of Rooted in Reading with these lesson plans and activities for Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar!

16 Responses

  1. I'm so glad you addressed classroom set up before the kids come back to school. I watched a periscope recently and a lot of people were saying let the kids decorate it, let it be their room, everything doesn't have to be perfect etc. At first I thought they were absolutely crazy…I love everything organized, ready, and decorated with plenty of room for student work. Then I thought maybe I was being a bad teacher by having everything set up. I am so happy I read this post. I am so ready to get into my classroom. The floors are being waxed for the next few weeks. I never understand that. So, hopefully I can get in the week before I have to be there. I want my kids that I am looping with to know I'm ready for them. I made a parent only Facebook page so I have been posting sneak peeks on things I've made or bought:). Thanks for this great post!

  2. I love the addition of student pictures! It's on my “to do” list this year! And, possibly taking pictures and blogging about my full classroom this year..I'm awful at that!:)

  3. Love the black and burlap! I agree that it does look calming. Love your tree and the idea about adding student pictures! Thanks for sharing, Amy!

  4. Love the student-generated alphabet idea! I totally agree that the word wall should be meaningful and authentic to the kids in our classrooms as much as possible. I was wondering if you use a individual word books at their seats as well as the class word wall?

  5. You are such an inspiration! I'm going to attempt the student generated alphabet this year but I'm having a hard time printing the headers that you link to. Any suggestions? It is probably a user error! 🙂

  6. Hi Amy,
    Love the alphabet wall-I’m doing that as well this year. After the kids create the art and it’s all up on the wall where do I then add the new words that they are working on? On top of the student art? There is no room beneath it on my wall. Or….do kids just keep a dictionary of words at their desk?