So, my classroom is still not completely set up (it is set up enough to effectively learn though), and I'm ok with that. I'm not one of those teachers who create elaborate themed rooms or make fancy bulletin boards, I like to keep things simple and I love to fill the walls with student work. Besides, our fire code is extra restrictive...nothing 24" from the ceiling or 24" from the floor, no paper within 6" or outlets, no paper around the door, nothing hanging from the ceiling, etc. You can see from the following photos that I haven't followed this 100%, and if something is said, I'll deal with it then. Anyhow, here is a mini tour of some of the room.
My sister (and nephew) came in over the summer to help me get my walls up and unpack and she did a PHENOMENAL job. I have the best sister ever! She put up this totally cute Domokun board above a bookshelf. Domokun (or Domo as most kids know him now) is pretty popular right now, but I've been a fan for years. The plan is to have Domokun reading a book and to have a cute saying in the cloud, but I obviously haven't gotten to that yet! Any ideas for what to put in the cloud?
One of the Pinterest projects that I couldn't get out of my head was the crate seats. A teacher friend and I went to Treasures4Teachers (a post coming soon) and I found 3 yards of Ikea upholstery fabric for $3. I couldn't say no to a deal like that and within days I had my new crate seats. The only other items I had to buy were: the plywood (about $25), mattress foam ($10), and duct tape ($4). I already had a surplus of crates, and it just so happened that I had three green and three blue. I lowered my round table and have a great new reading/center area. It's only day three of school and I have kids trying to finish their work so they can get back there and read. At one point today I had the table full of quiet boys devouring comic books. Probably the highlight of my day. I put duct tape over the staples so that students can flip the cushions over and use it as a writing surface. I didn't add the loops that other teachers have because it is easy to just stick your hand through the crate handle and pop them out. I also put our dictionaries and thesauri in them to keep them somewhat anchored and sturdy. I'm very pleased with how they turned out and I'm so glad that the kids are excited about using them too.
The biggest project (and the one I was most excited about) was to put contact paper on my tables. I've been hinting at this and now can show some before and after photos (although I wasn't smart enough to get the same angles).
I was inspired by Ladybug's Teacher Files and I chose a formica-esque contact paper ($5 for a 24' roll) and did the edge with black electrical tape. I bought 7 rolls of contact paper and covered eight rectangle tables and one round table. I have quite a bit leftover, and I'm still deciding if I want to put contact paper on the long table I have in the back against the wall.
You may also have noticed my nametags. I used chalkboard contact paper for those and wrote on them with a chalk marker. So far they are not as awesome as I had hoped (students touching them causes them to fade quickly and the marker doesn't come off as easily as the directions state). But I think they still look nice and I can wipe and re-write them when I move students.
I've gotten great comments from teachers that have stopped by my room and even the custodian. Some can't figure out what looks so "nice" and others ask if I got new tables. I'm pretty pleased with them and the kids seem to really like them. I've gone over the expectations for caring for our tables and I'm hoping they last the year and beyond.