Math = Love: A Work in Progress (aka What I've Done to my Classroom Thus Far)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Work in Progress (aka What I've Done to my Classroom Thus Far)

 School starts the 16th.  Today is the 8th.  Take away two days for professional development.  So much to do so little time!  I have exactly five days left to get my room ready for Open House...oh my!

Anyway, some people wanted to see pictures of what I've been doing to my classroom, so here they are.  A few of them didn't turn out as clear as I would have hoped, but my classroom isn't actually done yet.  So, I'll take better pictures when I am finished. 

"Left Side" Bulletin Board -- Eventually, I want my students to be able to do the left hand page of their interactive notebooks without me telling them exactly what to put there.  So, I wanted to create a bulletin board of examples of things that could be included on the LHS of their INB.  This is totally a work in progress. 

Graphic Organizer Examples for the LHS of the INB

Vocab Word Pictures - I love these!  I can't wait to see what students will come up with!

Foldable Examples...  I need more!  I've been having to downsize foldables to make them fit like I want them to in our INBs.  This section will definitely grow as I make more foldables, discover more, and have students create their own.  (And, I'm so excited for the Global Math Department's Conference on Foldables next week!)

"Problem Solving Strategies" Bulletin Board -   I have the strategies printed.  I need to laminate them, though, before I hang them up.  One of my big goals for the year is to teach my students how to effectively solve problems.  I totally changed my mind about how I'm going to do bellwork this year.  Each day for bellwork, we are going to solve a Stella's Stunner problem.  I originally wanted to do ACT practice questions, but I've decided to teach problem solving strategies by looking at these math puzzle type problems.  I think these will spark great conversations, get more students involved, and ultimately teach them how to solve all kinds of problems.  And, if I can teach students how to actually read a problem, try different strategies, and persevere -- they will have these skills for the rest of their life and it will help them on all kinds of standardized tests (and life).

Applied some vinyl decals to my door.  My mom picked these up for me at a garage sale for 10 cents each.  And see that white door and white trim?  I love it so much.  It was red in its former life.  So much better now.

Bulletin Board at Back of Classroom - I think I'm going to use this bulletin board, at least for now, to hang up inspiring quotes.  I have them printed off.  I just need to laminate them!  I will probably change this bulletin board out as the year progresses. 

Table at Back of Classroom.  The white crate will hold extra handouts / foldable templates / blank graphic organizers / etc. The red magazine file will hold my sample INBs.  I think the smaller hanging file box will hold frequently used forms.  The stacking trays are for students to turn in work to.  There are only 5 trays, though, and I teach 6 classes.  I haven't figured out what I 'm going to do about that yet...  And, I have a tray of notebook paper and a tray of graph paper.

One of my favorite things - My Pi Filing Cabinet.  My mom bought this for me at a church garage sale.  The top was scratched up, so my dad offered to paint it for me.  After my mom and sister found some brass number stencils, the idea of painting pi on my filing cabinet was born. 

Close up of my filing cabinet.  Since red is one of the school's colors, I had pi painted in red.  Now, I have a pop of red in my room instead of an overwhelming amount of red trim. 

Supply Caddies for each Group of Tables - These hold all the supplies students will need for their INBs.

Inside of each caddy: 4 glue sticks, 2 pencil sharpeners, 4 dry erase erasers, 4 dry erase markers, 2 pairs of scissors, and colored pencils. 

Everyday when students enter the classroom, they will pick up a supply caddy for their table and one of these communicator pockets.  I really believe in the power of doing math with a dry erase marker.  I think students are more engaged and more likely to take risks that they wouldn't take with pencil and paper.

As you can see, I still have a lot of random things in my room that I need to find a home for.  I have one more bulletin board that hasn't been hung yet.  I need to laminate my posters for the wall, too.  I'm also going to take painters tape and make a grid on the dry erase board to record objectives, assignments, and announcements.  But, I finally did figure out how to arrange 24 desks in my room in groups of 4.  I've been working on this for days now!


  1. What are your dry erase pockets made of?
    I love all of your bulletin boards, that will be so helpful for your students doing INB!

  2. They're made of clear plastic. My school used some grant money to buy a set a few years ago. They are an older version of these:

    A lot of people online have made their own out of sheet protectors and duck tape.

    1. I bought mine from oriental trading ... just under a $1 a piece. They work great!

  3. I want a pi file cabinet!!!!! Sooooooo cool!!!

    Tales of Frogs and Cupcakes

  4. Love your bulletin board of left hand page ideas for your students' interactive notebooks. The left hand page is often a struggle for me! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Your room looks awesome so far! I LOVE the idea of the LHS bulletin board...when I finally get into my room and see what I have to work with, I may be stealing that :)
    ☼ Kate
    To The Square Inch

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  7. I love the pi file cabinet. Mine belongs to the school, so I can't spray paint it, but I plan on using stickers. Thanks for the idea!!!!

    I also like the direction of your desks, I may try that as well.


    Hodges Herald

  8. Love the idea of vocabulary word pictures!