Class Decor

Back to School, Year 7

Hello Everyone! Happy back to school! I am on my second full week and am really enjoying my students. This semester I have three sections of Spanish 1 on a block schedule and am really liking this one prep thing! In this post I want to share a few things I’m loving this (seventh!) back to school season:

New Bulletin Boards

IMG_20160815_163549I finally put up a cute Boggle bulletin board (I’ve had it pinned about two years) as well as a cognate board. My Boggle board is modeled off of Señora Dentlinger, and you can download the files for my cognate board here and here.

IMG_20160815_163038 A second bookcase – student supplies

As you can see above, I now have two bookcases in my classroom. I didn’t really have a good place to permanently store supplies for students last year, so I am loving this extra storage space.

Top shelf: Signs with our school’s theme for the year, in a place students will see them. Second shelf: glue, hole puncher, scissors, and turn-in boxes. Third shelf: Writing utensils – markers, extra pens and pencils, pencil sharpeners, colored pencils, and crayons. Fourth Shelf: mini white boards and markers on the left, extra handouts on the right Fifth shelf: Dictionaries.

The make up work box


The make-up work/extra handouts box is a black crate I bought at walmart last year. Did you know these crates are exactly the right size for hanging folders? They fit a standard hanging folder short-ways, and a legal size folder long-ways. In the past I have tried make up work boxes with folders for days or weeks, but it quickly became disorganized. So far, unit folders have been easy for me to maintain (ok, I’m only on the first unit) and won’t require re-filing until the end of the semester. Having a designated place for extra handouts has really helped me with keeping my room tidy, as well as when students ask me about make up work (am I the only teacher who can’t remember what I taught yesterday?).


IMG_20160815_063222IMG_20160801_180106Lularoe is a home sales clothing line, similar to Avon or Mary Kay. I love their clothes because they are modest, comfortable and cute, and make getting dressed on those early school mornings so much easier. My favorite pieces are the maxi skirt, the Nicole dress (green dress pictured above), and the Amelia dress (black and white pictured above-  my favorite because it has pockets!) If you need some good back-to-school clothes, I’d be glad to point you to some awesome Lularoe shopping groups on Facebook.

This guy


On a personal note, meet my fiancee! Daniel and I will be getting married next March 🙂

Happy back to school! What are you loving this August?

Class Decor


1. New classroom – I moved down the hall to a room with a better layout. I worked hard all last week getting it ready for school on Monday! It’s not *quite* finished (is it ever?) but I’m quite pleased with how it’s looking:

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Desks in pairs – 3 double rows and one single row against the walls. My biggest class is 32.
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Hot glue clothespins to the wall to hold posters. It’s super easy to put up new posters, switch them out, and take them down. I also love how I can just adjust them if I don’t get them straight the first time!
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I found a pack of 44 clothes pins at dollar general for $1. They are stuck HARD as soon as they touch the wall, so make sure to get them where you want them! I put up one badly but was able to pry it off after blasting it with a blow-dryer for a few seconds. I think I’m going to use this wall for anchor charts, and the pins will make it so easy to switch them out!
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Last May we re-located our supply closet from Timbuktu to the foreign language hall and found all sorts of treasures. Found this calendar in a giant stack of posters – love the color and it looks so much nicer than the five-year-old homemade one I was using!
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Weather decals on my window make my new classroom feel like home! These are just die-cut letters and shapes taped to the glass.
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Gotta have my maps!
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This is how I left my desk Friday afternoon. Wonder if it will still be this neat next Friday?? Ha!
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Found this cute whiteboard in the supply closet as well. I covered the bulletin board side with wrapping paper and then added border. I plan to use this table for student supplies, so the board will be great for writing instructions! I think this will also make a great spot for a station.
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Last year I was able to purchase books for a classroom library with a grant. Planning on implementing free reading time this year with Spanish 2!
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Reading quotes next to my bookcase. Bryce Hedstrom shared these posters.
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Front of the room. My old room had the white board and projector on different walls, limiting the amount of usable wall space and the area available for student desks. This set up works much better with the amount of student desks I need!

2. New schedule: My school has changed to a block schedule this year – four 80 minute blocks and a 30 minute enrichment/remediation/advisement block. I have never taught on the block before but I am looking forward to learning how! I have one section of Spanish 1 and two sections of Spanish 2 each semester.

3. Interactive notebooks, FVR, name cards….I have lots of new-to-me instructional ideas I am excited about implementing! One change I am most looking forward to experimenting with is interactive notebooks (here’s my pinterest board). My department’s curriculum requires a LOT of grammar and vocabulary, and I think ISNs will be a good way to organize notes and support all that memorization. I am also looking forward to implementing some Free Voluntary Reading time in Spanish 2, and possibly in Spanish 1 as well. And lastly, I’m going to give Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell’s name card rotating seat assignment idea a try. One of the things I love most about teaching is how every day, week, month, and year is new, and an opportunity to perfect, refine, and experiment with methods, and I’m excited about trying out these new ideas!

4. Grad school. Eeek! I’m going back to school this year! I begin coursework for my master’s degree through Auburn University in two weeks! I’m excited about the learning and nervous about the extra work and cost, but mostly excited. The program is an MA in Spanish Education, and looks really sound on research and methodologies I’m passionate about (hint – NOT teaching tons of grammar and vocab for memorization) – there is a CI demo scheduled for our first seminar! Anyway, if you can’t tell by the number of exclamation points in this paragraph…I’m super excited about taking on the student role again.

Class Decor

Class decor: Clock Redesign

A few weeks ago my classroom clock stopped, so I brought in this one from home:


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Found when I moved into my apartment. Not my style.

It’s a fine clock, but it has a definite kitchen vibe.  I realized that since the front is open, without any glass over the hands, it wouldn’t be too difficult to slip some paper under the hands and glue down a whole new number design. Here’s the result:

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It’s not quite the Pinterest-worthy dream I had (have you seen this beautiful thing??), but I like it!  Much better than the rooster 🙂


Class Decor

Word Wall + Word Ladders

Updated my bulletin board, por fin!

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Thank you to Amy Lenord for sharing her Word Ladders with me!

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Word wall – my students are referencing it already! If you want the files, here’s the dropbox link.

Before and after:

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A teacher commented to me yesterday, “I don’t put anything on my walls. The kids don’t look at it anyway!” But look at this beautiful view from my desk – the time and effort it takes to decorate my classroom is worth it to me!

Class Decor, Teaching Reflections

Reflective Teacher 30 Day Challenge Day 5: My classroom

Day 5: Post a picture of your classroom, and describe what you see–and what you don’t see that you’d like to.

I’ve already shared some of these, but here they are again:

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I love this classroom. I love the door to the outside, the natural light coming in through the window. I love my big desk, my Promethean board, and having separate computers for my desk and for the board up front. Also, see that little box in the front of the room, between the white board and the color posters? I LOVE that I can control the temperature!


I love this whole wall of white board, and the proficiency descriptors above it.

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This bulletin board needs work. I’m working on numbers right now so students reference the posters a lot, but it’s not very pretty, and I could use the space better. I love Amy Lenord’s rejoinders word ladder bulletin board (she even sent me the word files for it!), but I haven’t gotten around to putting it up. I’ve also seen some great ideas for “Why Study a Foreign Language” bulletin boards – I want to put up something along those lines as well. Maybe in the hallway? There’s a bulletin board just outside my room I could probably use.


Lastly: student desks. The maroon ones in the pictures above are fantastic – there’s no bar on the side, so students can get in and out from either side. It makes it super easy to try different grouping arrangements (I’m always rearranging the furniture). Also, at my old school the student desks were in terrible condition – lots of broken seats, and many of them entirely too small for teenage sized bodies. I also spent a whole year at the old job with 28 desks, and classes of 30-35. The remaining students sat in chairs (with no writing surface). I know that chairs and no desks would be some teachers’ dream, but it wasn’t mine, so I am very glad to have adequate seating for my students this year – desks sized for adult bodies, enough seating, safe for students to sit in without sharp edges poking into their legs.

That being said…there are 33 student desks in my room. Why are classes of 30+ the norm? I really have fantastic students, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to have classes of 24, or even 28? I want to hear each of my students SPEAK, every day, to give them individual feedback, to write comments on their writing, to adapt my curriculum to their diverse needs. I do my best on all this – to differentiate, to interact with all students out loud, to adapt my lesson plans to give them more work on the topics they struggle with – but with 160 students, my ability to do that is limited. In my dream classroom, I would have less students, so that I could teach them better.


More pictures of my classroom here: Class Decor.

Details on the Reflective Teacher 30-Day Blogging Challenge here.


Class Decor

Class Decor

I moved to a new school this year, and I got really excited about decorating a new room! I spent quite a few hours on Pinterest looking for inspiration, and even more time executing those ideas!  Here are a few shots of my room, one week into school. Now, let me be honest and tell you that I have ZERO artistic talent (my big sister got all the artistic genes!), so while I might dream big Pinterest dreams, I also realize that I have time, budget, and skill limitations. Here are a few shots of my classroom, one week in. It’s a work in progress but I’m quite pleased with it!


20140807_090023 If I post Señorita in enough places maybe they won’t call me Miss this year!20140807_090003


I saw a picture of a teacher’s classroom with a narrow white board next to the door of her classroom where she wrote reminders for her students – homework, tests, please bring _____, etc. I was so JEALOUS, until I realized I could do the same with the window beside my door! I put up a few pieces of white paper on the outside, so on the inside I can write on the glass with a dry erase marker. One of these days I’ll throw up some border, too, and then it will truly be Pinterest worthy!

My white board:


Standards, plus a giant proficiency rubric above (thank you Kara and Megan!).

20140807_08151920140807_081531I made this calendar during pre-planning my first year teaching. It is laminated, so I just erase and renumber each month (or better yet…get a student to!). PowerSchool gives me a handy notification icon when my students have birthdays coming up, so I went ahead and wrote them on there. Later in the year I’ll ask my classes about birthdays (in the TL) as the month turns.



My desk, with maps above. Some students helped me make these maps a few years ago. I projected a map onto the SMART board, turned off the touch features, and had a student trace the map onto a piece of chart paper with a pencil.  Then, we outlined in black, colored in the countries, and laminated them.  I write the names of the countries in dry erase marker, and erase if I want to quiz students.

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This isn’t decor, but it’s a Pinterest idea that’s really working for me so far! When I moved schools, I packed up my curriculum in these file boxes from Fred’s. Now, I’ve converted one into my make-up work box.  I’ve got tabs for every day of the month, labeled 1-31 (or I will, when I get another box of hanging folders). Each day, I put left over handouts in the box, along with a list of any vocabulary words or assignments we did. I had a lot of trouble managing make up work in the past, so this is way for me to stay organized (today I had a student go straight to the box when I directed students to get out a handout he was missing – success!!!).

Seat assignments:


This is another organization strategy that worked well for me this year. I sat down with my rosters before school started, and typed up labels for each desk indicating who sat there each period. I’ve tried other strategies in the past, where students are randomly assigned a seat at the door (such as Martina Bex’s fantastical creatures), but I found it was confusing for students. Especially on the first day, I want to be very clear with what I want from students. Having their names on the desk has other benefits as well – first, when they come back the next day, it helps them remember where to sit, and secondly, it makes taking roll a breeze.  I just look to see which desks are empty, check the label, and move on.  I will note that even with name labels, a couple of students STILL sat in the wrong desk, but we got it straightened out quickly.


To wrap things up, a final decoration picture:


Straight from Pinterest – Adiós on the floor in duct tape!  It’s not quite so pristine now, but holding up better than I expected.

My next project – a boggle bulletin board like this!