Everyone loves Before & After Pictures, right?  So, here we go!

These pictures are just what my room looked like at the very beginning of the year.  At the end of this post, I’ll post some pictures of what my room eventually evolved into throughout the year.

Before-After-1     Before-After-2


And now for some details.

My Desk Area



This table below is to the right of my desk, and where I keep my Master Notebook.


The Student Center

The Studnt Center is located right at the entrance of the classroom, to the left of my door.


The clipboard hanging on the wall is what my school uses for Hall Passes.  At the beginning of the year, I kept generic school information on here, but this later became my Data Wall, where I would post student grades anonymously, using their Student IDs.


The green flower was used as decor at a little boutique I used to work at and that went out of business.   I designed the letters myself using this template, which you can feel free to grab and edit to your liking:


Here are my inboxes for each period.  In addition to the bins, I also use decorative folders.  They help keep the papers more tidy and organized, and I can just grab a class folder and take it to my desk.  This is also where our shared classroom supplies live — tape, stapler, and 3-hole punch.  I also keep the tissues and hand sanitizer here (high schoolers actually use A LOT of hand sanitizer and tissues, so don’t be afraid to put those things on your Materials List at the bgeinning of the year, or even offer Extra Credit for kids who bring stuff like that in), as well as where I collect Bathroom Passes.



These are my two Student Notebooks, which the students have access to at all times.

The first one is the “Make-Up Work Notebook,” which students consult when they are absent.  For each week, I type up a page of everything we did on each day, including Bellwork and any notes or activities we did. I also list what materials they need to either get from me, or copy from a friend.  The actual worksheets and assignemtns are in the “Absent Bin,” which is also labeled by day.

The second one is the “Extra Creit Notebook,” which holds several Extra Credit opportunities and assignments, so that students can choose the assignment that best suits them.  I offer Extra Credit all year, but students can only get a certain amount of Extra Credit points per quarter, and they are excluded from Extra Credit opportunities if they have too many missing assignments or homework, and if they have too many behavior warnings and issues.

IMG_6818    IMG_6819

Here are my covers, which again, you can feel free to grab and edit.  The original can be found here, at Living, Laughing, and Loving.

Make-Up-Work---Cover    Extra-Credit---Cover

And the original:

Originally from Living, Laughing, Loving

Originally from Living, Laughing, Loving

Aaaaand, here is the Student Center later in the year, with a dry-erase calendar and Student Data:

2012-12-21 14.27.47


Throughout the year, I experimented with various baskets and cups for my everyday supplies, like pencils, markers, colored pencils, glue, etc.  By the end of the year, though, I had enough supplies to justify using my counter drawers for them.  So, instead of a basket of markers, we now have a drawer full of markers.  I still have some stuff in the baskets and cups, but it seemed silly to keep all of my drawers empty.

2012-12-21 14.27.12

I printed my own labels and had them laminated at school, using these free printables from Catch My Party.  Here are the originals:


And here’s a blank template:


Word Wall

Here are some examples of my Word Wall, and how it has progressed throughout the year.  I use tape to make connections between the words, which makes it “interactive.”  Unlike Elementary Word Walls, my kids rarely need to actually take a word off the wall to use, so I needed to find another way to make it engaging and “interactive.”  Drawing the connections helps the students understand how the new vocabulary terms fit together, and I frequently see them looking at it during activites or discussions.

2012-10-12 11.02.53     2012-11-12 14.27.33

2013-01-25 15.11.18     2013-02-20 07.09.07

Materials/Worksheets & Reference Wal

On the far wall of my classroom, in front of my desk, is where we keep all of our papers that we’re currently using.  Initially, I had an extra White Board on this wall that I use as my Common Board, but when I decided to move my desks so that they were facing each other, I asked if I could have the board moved to the back of the room.

So, this wall now serves as a sort of “reference wall,” with a World Map, a Map of Europe, and a World History Timeline.  I like having these maps on this wall because if I’m using the SMART board (which I usually have on all the time), I can’t access my roll-down maps at the front of the room.

The wire baskets keep all of the papers that we need for that particular day, and then they are filed in to the Absent Bin, which you can see in the second picture (the black organizer with hanging folders).  The blue plastic drawers to the left of the table is where I put papers that have been graded and need to be returned.  I choose a classroom helper in each class, who is responsible for passing back papers whenever they have free time.

2012-11-16 16.23.39

2012-12-21 14.26.48

Back Corner & Library

Here’s a view of the room with the desks now turned so that they’re facing each other, and with the Common Board moved to the back of the room.  In the back corner, I have my bookshelf that was initially in my closet and filled with very old Language Arts books for the first half of the year.  I finally cleared it off and moved it out in to the classroom.  I also made a “Student Work” Wall with butcher paper and border, which I change after every unit.  And since I don’t have windows in my room, I bought a green floor lamp at Wal-Mart, which was on sale from their “dorm room” collection.  The kids love turning the lights off, so if we’re taking notes or watching videos on the projector, I turn off the overhead lights and turn on the lamp.

2013-03-22 13.47.13

The Common Board:

2012-11-16 16.22.57

2013-03-22 13.46.53

Common Board Headers.  Just cut and laminate!





I like to have picture books and lower-level books available, because I have such a wide variety of reading levels, not to mention several kids who barely speak English at all.  I also keep National Geographic and TIME magazines available, because one of the Extra Credit assignments I offer is an Article Analysis Worksheet.  Most of my collection is from my mom’s Elementary teaching days, but the kids enjoy looking at the picture books.  I even let them use the lower-level books for Extra Credit Book Reports, as long as they address everything I ask them to do.

2013-03-22 12.02.09    2013-03-22 12.02.31

2013-03-22 12.02.41

I got the apple from Cracker Barrel, on sale for like $10.

Centers/Group Work

Finally, here is my room set up for Centers and/or Group Work.  Next year, I want to hang paper lanterns or pom-poms over the designated group areas, but for this past year, I just used paper tents to designate which group went with which center.

2013-03-20 07.02.53