'Round the Room

Here are the more updated tours of my classroom since the start of this lil' blog:

In 2006, when I was starting my teaching career, I was trying to decide on a "theme" for my classroom.  I settled for western because I've always been a cowgirl, I love rolling in the mud, I grew up on a farm, and I was able to milk a cow by my first birthday...

Or not...

Really, I'm just a clean, neat freak city girl that loves the "homey" burlap feel of western decor.  It's cheerful and comfy, but not overstimulating for those busy-eyed-six-year-olds.  And it's full of texture.  Plus I was able to decorate on a *cheap* budget...which is SUPER important when you are just starting out.  You pretty much can't beat the prices of burlap and bandanas!

**These pics were taken in the middle of the year so it's not quite as "bare" as it is starting out...I'm a BIG believer in anchor charts and tracking our learning throughout the year so our walls fill up pretty quickly!**

Our table group signs: these change each unit to match what we are learning about.  When these pics were taken, we were learning about weather and each group was a weather type.

Word Wall...

I Wonder Wall: This is where students ask questions about our unit we are studying.  They can write their questions on sticky notes and add to their speech bubbles.  At different points throughout the unit, we will check in on our questions.  We will see if any of them have been answered, record answers, and sort questions into the key question types. It's close to empty now because in this pic we were at the very start of our unit.

Calendar (which is just for me...we do "calendar" activities on our Promethean Board now.) & Sight Word tracker ("We're Not Horsin' Around!")

What's the Big Idea Board: This is where I display our unit's central idea, lines of inquiry and learner profile words.  My school is an IB (International Baccalaureate) PYP (Primary Years Program) school.  So that is why you see that terminology on this board.

Our "Reading Corral" or classroom library area.  Thanks to my sweet daddy for building my corral fence for me!

Sticker charts and classroom management system:

Browsing boxes shelf for charts, guided readers.  Students use these to practice familiar reading.

Big books storage: Another thing made by my daddy! I finding myself using this less and less these days with a Promethean Board though...we seem to do most of our shared reading on our Promethean Board!

Love LOVE these shelves! I added these to my room in 2012 after I saw the idea on Pinterest.  It has changed.my.world! Sooooo much easier for organizing materials, math manipulatives, and classroom management.  Plus, I had left over storage to store our basal readers.  These "green readers" weight down the shelves so they don't move! Each group is in charge of keeping their plant alive during the year (watering once a week, plucking off dead leaves, etc.) We store kleenex and group materials that I don't want in their desks (dry erase markers, scissors, and glue sticks) in buckets on the top shelf.  Their writers' workshop journals, working portfolios and "offices" are on the middle shelf. On the bottom shelf we store the groups math manipulatives for their math story problem time, basal readers and the HORSE (take home) folders, which aren't shown.  My sweet team would say I'm slightly very OCD about my room, and my kids learn this quickly.  This is an "honest" look at a group's shelf in January.  They know to keep the labels facing out, buckets in a straight line, etc...and they keep it up pretty well--some better than others, but they all really do try their best!!

Extra math manipulatives as well as tools for counting collections are stored on this shelf:

And the curtains my sweet mom-in-law made me my first year...since then I've taught myself to sew and she doesn't have to "bail me out" as much anymore!

Yes, I've had the same theme for my entire teaching career. Yes, I could change it.  But why change something that works so well??? It seems to fit this city gal just fine!


  1. I love all these ideas! Question, the group shelf that you went into detail with...does each group have one or is it one for the whole class? Great idea either way. Why didn't I ever do that in my class? Also, since being out of the classroom for a few years, I'm unfamiliar with a Promethean Board. What is it? Is it like a smart board?

    1. Yes! Each group has one...keeps them from having to go so far to get supplies! :) Promethean Boards are just another brand of a smart board. Smart Board is like the "kleenex" for these boards. Everybody calls them Smart Boards, even though there are several different brands. Ha! :)

  2. I am teaching First Grade for the first time this year. I just happened to find your website from TPT. I was looking for Social Studies Activities. Anyways, can you explain to me how you do your units for literacy? Do they cover all the new Arkansas Social Studies Frameworks? I am a teacher in the Mountain View School District.

  3. The literacy units were written based on the suggested units from common core and I added the content to them to cover Arkansas science and social studies standards. I wrote them a few years back so it was based on the older standards, but I still use these units because they cover about 95% of the social studies standards (except for Arkansas history which is covered with a separate unit I have on TPT). I hope that helps! Welcome to first grade!!


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