Friday, January 13, 2012

Keepin' It Real

Okay, it's confession time.  My room does not always look like this.  In fact, most of the pictures I take at the beginning of every year eventually make me feel incredibly guilty, because despite obsessive-compulsive planning and plotting, my little kid-diddles just aren't as concerned about the aesthetics as I am.  As it should be.

These pictures are from last year.  Keep in mind, my classroom was in a two-year-old school, so it was pretty color coordinated.  I assure you, it was not always perfect, but I had worked out some organizational oopsies before I ever took these pictures.  This is the only classroom I have been in for more than one year.  This year marks my fifth classroom in six years! While switching rooms always presents a lot of challenges, I will say that the constant moving definitely helps me with the purging process.  I kinda/sorta purged an entire mobile dumpster full of junk from this classroom before I moved to my new classroom.  I don't know whether I should be proud of that or completely ashamed.  Bahaha!

Anyway, this was my old "nest" last year.  You can find more HERE.  They are totally beginning of the year pictures, which is why my walls are fairly empty and my CAFE menu was bare....  Truthfully, I prefer to see work all over the walls and more anchor charts, so I kind of prefer the last picture in this first series to the sterile blank slate pics.

 Okay, and just so you know I'm not exaggerating about the portable dumpster, there she is in all of her glory.  The fact that you can see anything peeking over the top of this monster is sad.  I filled that bad boy UP, and that was after I left a ton of goodies downstairs in the workroom for my teacher friends. 

Anyway, this year, I started teaching in a new school district, as you probably know if you've been following my blog for a while.  This is how it looked at the beginning of the year:

Okay, now I'm going to let you see what my room looks like right now.  It looks basically the same as it did, just a little less polished.  Most of my room still looks presentable, but these are the areas that I could use a little TLC, or Tender Loving Cleaning.

These pencil boxes used to do the trick in my old cabinet... but as you can see... this is so not working.  At least it's out of sight.  Any ideas about how to make this cabinet a little less rusty and a little more fabulous?!

The state of my desk drawer.  Kind of random and sad. 

My multi-colored binders need some work too.  They are tilted and kind of ugly.   They also need labeled on the spines.

Clearly, I need to re-organize this area.  It's full of all of my Reading Street curricular pieces, and it's really not even that functional.  Last year, I used them for papers that had already been copied.  This year, it's kind of my catch-all instead.

Ahhhhhh!  I am so embarrassed to post this.  Obviously we need to have another mini-lesson about how to return books.

I also need to find the time to attend to the stack of books in the book hospital. 

Oh wow.  This makes me cringe too.  I am in a basement so nothing stays on the wall.  I honestly have not had time to stick the alphabet line back up onto the wall, because I have been so busy wrapping up the second nine-weeks.  This area used to be a bulletin board area.  Remember?  Now, I stick anchor charts here instead.  Let's just say that my $8.00 fadeless paper had an unfortunate mishap earlier in the year involving a pencil, and although I tried to cover it and work with the hole, it eventually tore and fell down in the middle of class.  Due to time constraints, I have not addressed this eye sore yet.  It is my least favorite part of my room.  Please don't judge me!  Ha!  Any ideas for keeping paper on chalkboards in a damp basement?!

And there you have it, friends.  My MESS!  I am totally a week behind on this, but the main thing is, I'm going to make an attempt to participate in the Clutter-Free Classroom Project!  If you want to participate, pop over to Jodi's fabulously creative and practical blog for details!  Click below to play along! 


  1. Where do I start? I love the chairs...the spinning bookshelf...the Macs! I love it all!
    First Grade Blue SKies

  2. So impressed with the inside of your cabinet!!!

  3. I am impressed by the number of books in your classroom library!!!! WOW.

    My Life as a Fifth Grade Teacher

  4. I love your pink and lime green! I have those same colors in my classroom. Oh and the Macs....I'm a Mac Geek so I love those too! :)

    Jamie at 2nd Grade Stuff

  5. It's not bad AT ALL!!!
    I feel bad about the fadeless paper mishap -- that stuff is expensive!
    And I totally understand about stuff falling off walls and waiting to put it back up. You have every intention and then SCHOOL gets in the way! :)
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  6. I can relate to this post in SO many ways. My former classroom home of four years was very organized and just how I liked it. I got moved to another school a week before school started and it's been pure survival mode since! I am hoping to declutter a bit this weekend. Like you, due to time constraints, I just haven't had the time to fix all those things I don't like because there are so, so, so many.
    Just curious, how many boxes did you use to pack up your room? Oh, I had a whole box truck move me. :)
    Stories From Second

  7. You room looks great! I have pink and green too... and blue! :)

    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  8. Is there a way you could attach bulletin boards to the chalkboard? A few years ago, we bought these large bulletin board things from the hardware store, they were about $8 each. We attached them over our chalkboards. Just a thought!

  9. Any chance you would be allowed to paint the chalkboard with magnetic paint?
    Finally in First

  10. Things fall off my walls either because it's too hot or too cold. It stinks!

    2B Honey Bunch
    The Best Endings

  11. Not bad at all. Did you see my hot mess? Glad to see you linking up. :)

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  12. We have concrete walls in my classroom, and I use hot glue to attach everything. It stays up ALL year, and at the end of the year, it just "pops" off. Once in a while I'll have to pick at it a bit more, but I've never had a problem. I wonder if that would work for you???

  13. Wow, love your classroom! So bright and colorful (not to mention neat!). Awesome!

  14. THANK YOU! This makes me feel better about my reading centre, as I have almost weekly discussions about how to return books, have limited the times they are allowed to even take/return books (we use book boxes that are filled 2-3 times a week) but it STILL ends up that way. I am seriously debating the uses of a hidden camera! lol

    Back Hall Collaborators

  15. Ha! I love the honesty! I feel your pain on stuff falling down and not having time to put it up! My number line parts have been falling down and I just never have the time/ or patience to climb up on something to put it back up! AND the library! I cannot tell you how many mini lessons I have been over on placing books correctly! ugh. kids.
    Thanks for sharing, makes me feel better that were in the same boat about our rooms!

  16. Hello Amanda! I just came across your blog and love it. (new follower) Your pictures are awesome! I made the 3d snowflakes to hang in my room too! Come check out my blog if you ever need some math ideas and have a good weekend!

  17. Amanda, I love your room! You make me want to go redecorate my own! I've gotten so many wonderful resources/ideas from you. Thanks for sharing!

  18. OK, I'm back Amanda. I went through your pictures once again and I wanted to ask about your Guided Reading table. Is it the one with the table cloth? I'm trying to figure out a way to get my groups to fit at my table. I have a huge class this year and so my groups just need to be bigger or I'll never see everyone as much as a want/need to. Love to hear where you meet.

  19. You wanted an idea to make your pencil cabinet less rusty looking. Contact paper is the best thing ever for the sides of the cabinet if you have time to install it. It is pretty easy though. And you could use fabric for the shelves that you just hot glue down.

  20. I do hot glue too. I know it's naughty, but whatever. Or magnetic strip.

  21. Fantastic. My kids (8 & 9 years old) here in England, UK, are so impressed with your creative, colourful strategies, they wish they had a teacher like you.