Classroom Tour 2015

It's that time of year again...While many of my friends are casually making their way back to school to set up for the new year, I am frantically finishing...

As several of you may know, I accepted a new first grade position at a new school in a new district.

This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.  I love my Turnbow family dearly.  I spent 9 years teaching first grade in the same classroom at that school.  In many ways, I feel like Turnbow "raised" me as a teacher.  It's where I first started out as a "baby" teacher.  My dear principal and teammates helped me grow as a teacher and professional in more ways than I can count.  And I am forever grateful and blessed to many of those Turnbow friends for suffering through my teaching shortcomings to help raise me into a tolerable teacher! :)  God knew exactly what He was doing when he placed me there 10 years ago.  I met my best friend there, I worked on an absolute dream team of teachers and made friends like family to me.  I will never forget my experience there.

So I knew that if I were ever going to move schools, it would have to be a God thing.  After all, my plans were to finish my teaching career there.  But God had different plans.  After moving to our new house and making my commute 35 minutes instead of 15 minutes, I needed to find a place closer to our new house.  After school let out, my husband and I made the decision for me to look for a new job closer to home...after many hours of tears and prayers...it was not a decision that was made lightly.  I knew it was a bad time (in my eyes) to make a job switch in June, but within a week of turning in my resume, I was offered a new job at Elm Tree in Bentonville...15 minutes from our new house!  Surely, God knew what he was doing!

I am so thrilled to be at this new school.  I can already tell it is a wonderful school with a very close and friendly staff.  And I see a little bit of Turnbow in many of the people there which makes my heart happy!

With all of that....Elm Tree is a year round school.  This means I just finished my week of inservice and kids will come back to school August 3rd.  I am super excited as a mommy of a little one to try out this new calendar schedule!

The fun part is that I was not able to get into my room to set up my brand new classroom until Thursday, July 23rd.  And my family was vacationing in Disney....So we returned from vacation Sunday, July 26th at 12:30 and I worked until 1:00 am or later Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to set up my room for our Open House on Wednesday....

PHEW!!!! I. Am. Exhausted!

All of that long introduction to say...here's my new room.  Once I got past the exhaustion, it was a lot of fun setting up a brand new classroom.  And it's not 100% finished, but I wanted to go ahead a post before the first week with kids crazies start! :)  It was a new challenge and I love new decorating challenges!  So let's get to it!!

Yes...I stayed with the western theme.  I just love it too much AND I didn't want to have to spend the money on a new theme this year!

Cons of my new room:
1. No color.  I really wish I had taken a "before" pictures, but I was to frantic trying to get organized.  It's like a tub of gray paint exploded in this room!
2. No windows.  I am super sad about the lack of natural light in this room and the fact that I didn't get to use my curtains. #sadface

Pros of my new room:
1. I can use hot glue to decorate!!! #happydance
2. All those gray walls can be stapled into so bye-bye expensive tape! #doublehappydance

 I hot glued rope around my doorway and made some bandana and burlap swags to dress up the windows.  This is the closest I could get to curtains!


The swags are red bandana, burlap, and a black and white dot bandana.  I used one of each and cut 2" strips and tied around twine.  Super easy and super cheap!

The view from the sink corner of my room.  Yes I know most of my walls are bare.  That's how I like it.  I don't want stuff on the walls until we learn it together.  I strongly believe that the walls of a classroom should reflect the learning of our classroom...so, naturally, our classroom starts out basically as a blank slate.

View from my desk/small group area.

View from my classroom library.  I told ya it was gray!

View coming in the front door.

Cubbie shelves. Love how much color the bandana and burlap squares added.  I just folded them over on twine and hung on command hooks.  Super easy. Super colorful.  Lots of bang for my buck right there!  Also...I *heart* my Turnbow painted pot I kept! #tear

The shelves made the perfect display for my art piece I did in college, my framed picture of my first class and my Listen to the Musn'ts poem {grab it HERE}.

Stealing my creative former teammate's idea from last year and having a special seat for my ranch hand this year.  I'm planning to go back to highlighting my ranch hand more throughout the week like I did a few years back.  I'll be blogging more about that later.  My name is up there because I am always the first ranch hand! :)

With only 1 official bulletin board, I had to get creative.   Here's where I'll post our big idea for our unit...as well as our "I can board." {which I haven't finished yet...told ya...still frantically trying to finish for Monday!}

I was super excited to find a way to make my Ladybug cart skirt work from before!

Thanks to a $14 mirror from Walmart, my kids can actually look at themselves in the mirror when they wash their hands!

Since there is only one bulletin board in this classroom, I had to make one from scratch.  But I love how well it breaks up this gray blob of a wall! {Grab word wall cards HERE}

New room, new set of black shelves.  I just love these shelves.  Best organization tool ever in my classroom.  This year, I'll be storing browsing boxes on them for my kids as well!

And my classroom library, aka "Reading Corral."  I am SOOOOO happy with how this turned out.  This area was so so sad with just the corral fence and no furniture.  I needed something with some height and to add some visual interest over here.  I had the idea of making a barn of some sort, but couldn't quite figure out how to execute that in a reasonable way.  Until my *genius* hubby suggested corrugated metal.  Y'all, he's seriously the best.  I talked to him about the idea Sunday night around midnight, he drew out plans Monday, built it late Monday night and installed it Tuesday night.  For realz...he just awesome.  I love that he puts up with my crazy ideas!

Aren't these perfect?  A little toilet cleaner and steel wool to age these and they're beautiful.  Later, I may come back and glaze over them to age them a bit more, but that's on the back burner for now! #priorities #keepinitreal

My classroom library shrunk when I moved because I had to leave many of my books, but it ended up being just the right amount for this space. {Grab the tub labels HERE) Thanks, again, to Walmart for a cheap, cute shelf!

Out with the old floor pillows and in with new pillows from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  I kept the same bandana accent pillows.

Calendar board and dry erase board...

Love the combo of the wavy burlap ribbon and chevron ribbon.  Both from Hobby Lobby.  When you have to completely decorate a room in 3 days, there is no time to order just the perfect border.  So, Hobby Lobby bailed me out with wide ribbon that worked beautifully!

Here's my guided reading and small group area.  Love that I was able to combine my desk and small group table in the same area this year.  Also...the jury is still out on a desk chair.  I told ya it wasn't completely finished!

My desk area.
 Chalkboard is from Hobby Lobby and blank because my chalk markers died.  Others are in the mail and on the way....again...#keepinitreal

Calm down spot...

Cooper has fallen in love with Telly the Turtle this summer.  He is going to be devastated when he learns Telly has moved back in with Mommy's first graders....

Thank goodness I sharpened 30 pencils before the last day of school last year...that's one less thing on my to do list this year!

I love this bandana lamp I made a few years back.  And I can see it so much better in its new home on my desk.  Just a cheap lamp from Walmart with a little hot glue, rope and bandana fabric.  Super easy to do!
Writing table...

Above my cabinets...I had have the upper cabinet space to decorate this year.   But I still love how cozy it turned out!



I am so excited about my new adventure in a year round school and can't wait to get started with kids on Monday!

P.S. Looking for great dollar deals for back-to-school?  Check out my Dollar Deals Linky tomorrow (Saturday) morning!



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