Classroom Progress...One Step Forward, Two Steps Back! - The Teacher Studio: Learning, Thinking, Creating

Classroom Progress...One Step Forward, Two Steps Back!

Today I spent most of the day in my classroom trying to make sense of the chaos.  Why is it that some people getting their rooms ready appear to be in complete control and my room looks like a crime scene?  Sigh.  I thought I'd share a few pics of what's been going on--and I have deliberately left out shots of the entire room so you don't call the authorities.

This is the shelf I am using for my "self-service" math supplies.  I want it facing into the room so students can access it easily.

Here it is now!  I have my set of drawers with math counters so students can easily take a drawer to their work space, bins of other important manipulatives that a small group might need, calculators, dice, and more.  Notice the sign above--"Help yourself!"  I want students to know WHEN they need "math tools" to help them and not have ME tell them or pass them out.  Building independence will be a big goal this year!

Here's our "What's Happening" wall . . . I may need to tweak it a little, but it has our specials schedule, our lunch menu, our job chart, our birthday graph, and our "questions, comments, and concerns" mailbox.  

This is new for me this year!  As I've been reading about and planning to implement the "Genius Hour" this year, many teachers I have seen have a "Wonder Wall" in their classroom for students to post interesting questions, photos, articles about cool stuff, and anything else that might trigger an idea for research.  I want to add some things to it before school starts to model it.

Here's where I posted my mini posters (only 4 of the 8 shown) about becoming independent readers.  I can take them down as needed to highlight for minilessons.  These windows are right in my reading area.

I printed, laminated, and "magnetized" these headings for my daily schedule.  I haven't used these for years and have just written out the entire schedule.  Because our schedules are the same each day now, I thought I'd go back to this approach--and it gives me a chance to use some of the cool digital paper I bought the other day at the sale.  Wink.

So . . . what I am NOT showing you is the decision to tear down a huge section of bulletin board paper that stretches ALL the way across the top of my room.  I've had it up for 6 years and it is looking a little rough. I have avoided dealing with it for about 3 years because it is a huge undertaking.  I bit the bullet and only got it 1/2 finished.  My classroom was sweltering, and I simply gave up.  My desk groups are loaded with tubs, bins, boxes, piles, scraps, empty soda cans, snack wrappers, and the remote control.

Today I am home doing some volunteer work for my son's band and dealing with some other "home stuff", but I'll tackle some more tomorrow.  For those of you back in your classrooms--I hope your first days/weeks are going well.  For those of you who are organized and feeling good about your progress, please refrain from judging me.  For those of you who can relate, crack open a can of soda and grab a bag of chips and know you are NOT alone.

Just a reminder about the great Educents bundle for sale for the next week or so!  I have gotten to see MANY of the products, and they are fantastic! Here is the link again in case you are interested.

Have a wonderful day!


  1. Oooh, I like the Wonder Wall - mind if I steal that idea?!! Actually I think your classroom is looking pretty good. :) I haven't been in to see mine yet but I'm pretty sure it'll take a lot of chips and snackies to get it in order. :)


    1. Thanks Lynn--it's not my idea to steal! I "stole" it from the many other people giving it a try! Can't wait to hear how things unfold with your classroom...

  2. I really like the idea of a Wonder Wall! I have very limited bulletin board space. I wonder where I could put it... Maybe just tape it up on a wall.
    Grade 4 Buzz

    1. Thanks, Lisa! There are other great examples out there on the internet! Maybe you could have it be on a cupboard door or even a portable one--like an anchor chart!

  3. I am still trying to get my classroom ready as well. I hope to have it basically set up by Friday. Then I will post some pictures.
    I like your help yourself sign for your manipulatives. I might just have to do something like that as well.
    Keep going, Meg. What you have done so far looks great!

    Charlene/Diamond Mom
    Diamond Mom's Treasury

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Charlene! One step at a time, right?

  4. Meg, do you have those "Me as a reader" posters available in your store? I'd like them, but haven't located them yet.

    1. Hi! Right now I just have them as "mini posters" as a part of my Getting Ready for a Year of Reading resource. Is that something that you think people would want as a poster set?

    2. I know I would like them as a poster set! (Like you have the math practice standards as a poster set.) I guess I could just buy the whole reading resource....!! Anyway, if you put them up in your TpT store, I'll get the notice, since I follow you there. Hope you've had a good first few days. :)

    3. No, wait! You haven't started yet, have you?! (We've been back more than a week.) So I hope you have a good day getting ready for your first few days back!

    4. Hi there! I will work on getting them done...thanks for the idea. We start after Labor Day!

  5. Effectively teaching elementary math to children aged 5 to 10 (Grade 1,Grade 2,Grade 3,Grade 4,Grade 5).Great for Homeschool kids! All math results are logged and graded and we show how they are improving through real-time here Grade 4,Grade 5


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