Math = Love: A Blank Slate: Photos of My New Classroom

Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Blank Slate: Photos of My New Classroom

This has been a very busy week. Monday was Memorial Day. I had an all-day textbook training on Tuesday. Wednesday featured a New Hire Meeting at my new school where I got to fill out fun paperwork. Tomorrow (Friday), I am meeting with a team to do some curriculum writing for the state department this summer. This means that a lot of the stuff that I need to get done this week has ended up on today's to do list.

So, in the interest of procrastinating on said to do list, I figured I would give you a peek at my classroom for next year. I was able to get keys to my classroom on Tuesday, and my brain is already running with ideas of how to decorate it! This will be my third new classroom in three years. So, I've gotten quite used to decorating new spaces! In case you missed the announcement, I will be teaching at a new school starting in August. After six years at Drumright, I'm returning to Coweta High School where I graduated from in 2008. It's super exciting to be coming home. I've already had a few back-to-school nightmares about my new/old school, though, and it's only May!

Here's the door to my classroom. I'm hoping to be able to hang my Math-y Welcome Sign posters on the door. That won't decorate the entire door, so I think I might make some math symbol posters to decorate the rest. Hmmm....

And, here's the view of the other side of that door. I was able to score a rolling table/cart thing that the library had decided to get rid of to sit right by the door. I'm hoping to be able to put hand-outs on that table for kids to pick up when they walk in so I don't have to hand them out myself. I will have much larger class sizes than I'm used to, so I need to find as many ways to save time and become more efficient as possible.

The first thing my principal said when he showed me my classroom was that I would definitely not be disappointed in the amount of whiteboard space. He was right. Here is the first of three whiteboards.

The second wall of the classroom features two windows, a chalk board coordinate plane, and another whiteboard. After having a dry erase coordinate plane for the past six years, I think I'm going to have a hard time getting used to using chalk. Luckily, I found a box of boxes of chalk that another teacher was getting rid of. So, I don't think I will run out of chalk for the next century.

The podium in the corner turned out to be broken, so it had to go. But, that's okay because I have a wooden podium that my mom found at a garage sale that I've been using for the past few years. It even has built in storage!

The other window on this wall is by my desk corner.  I actually have two desks, and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that. I do love the fact that there is a coat rack hanging on the wall because usually I just end up tossing my coat on the back of my chair only to have it fall off fifteen times a day.

The classroom I just left had a giant desk, so this one is going to take some getting used to. I got a bit spoiled the past two years by having lots of hanging file storage in my desk. But, I did manage to snag an extra filing cabinet that someone was getting rid of. It's not in the photo, but I think I will set it up next to my desk for extra storage. 

I am super excited about this bookshelf, though. I've never had a good place to store textbooks/binders by my desk so this is a HUGE plus. 

Here's the view from my second window. 

This is my computer desk. I was super excited to see that they have already programmed my name into the telephone.

These filing cabinets are going to come in super-handy with organizing all of my laminated activities. In the past, I've sorted them alphabetically. But, I'm thinking that with eight different drawers that I will sort them first by subject, then alphabetically. For example, I want to have separate drawers for posters/decorations, games/puzzles, algebra activities, trig activities, science activities, etc. 

I'm sure this rolling cart will be useful for something. I haven't figured that out yet, though. Maybe supplies for students to access???

I was excited to find a magnetic coordinate plane on top of the filing cabinet. I haven't put it together yet, but I'm thinking that will end up being super useful.

Up next, my wall of cabinets. I've been spoiled by having a wall of cabinets for the past two years, so I was very worried when job hunting that I was going to have to give them up. So glad I don't have to!

See those piles of textbooks? Thanks to the help of my amazing husband that Algebra 2 books have been carted off to the surplus storage area, and the Pre-Calculus books have been moved to the giant cabinet on the far end. That cabinet also now houses Trig books and Calculus books. SO many books. We are adopting new books for next year, but they are all digital. I don't know how that's going to go, so I'm holding on the to Pre-Calc books just in case.

My principal is hoping to bring back Calculus in the next few years, so I didn't want to get rid of the calculus books in case that does end up happening. I guess it's my job as the pre-calc teacher to inspire enough students to sign up for calculus in order to make it happen. Of course, I think that means I will then have to learn to teach calculus which could be interesting.

The Algebra 2 books were Common Core aligned, and we are no longer a Common Core state, so I didn't feel the need to keep those since the digital books we adopted are much-more aligned to the Oklahoma standards.

And, the books on the counter were just the start. Almost every one of those cabinets had even more textbooks in them! I had to clear them out to make room for my own teaching supplies. 

I originally took a photo of this tall cabinet because it was locked, and I couldn't find the key. My husband ended up being able to get it open for me.

The next wall features a bulletin board, and the third whiteboard. I'm used to having more than just one bulletin board to decorate, but I will still have plenty of wall space to decorate.

There is also a SMARTBoard on this wall. The school is slowly phasing out the SMARTBoards, so I've been told that a 65" TV will be installed over the summer to replace the SMARTBoard, and I will be given a tablet to write on that will project on the TV. I'm not sure if this means they will take the SMARTBoard down and put the TV there or if they will put the TV somewhere else... I guess I will just have to wait and see! 

And, now we're back to the door, so I guess this concludes the end of my new classroom tour. 

Yesterday, my husband and I spent hours tossing out pile after pile after pile of papers from every drawer imaginable. I was excited to find a nice stash of dry erase markers that will definitely come in handy with dry erase boards on three out of four walls! 

Of course, most of my other finds were much less exciting. Unlabeled floppy disks, anyone? 

I also can't help but share a photo of the bulletin board directly outside my new classroom. 

You might remember a similar bulletin board that I put up in my classroom in 2014 that went viral on twitter and pinterest. It's very cool to realize that something I did in my classroom four years ago has had an impact on students in my own hometown.

Okay, one last thing and I promise I will end this post and get up to something that's actually productive. I learned this week that each department at my new school has a mission statement. How cool is that?!?

If you have any decorating ideas, I'd LOVE to hear them! 


  1. I am excited and waiting to see your classroom after your decoration touch!

  2. This year I switched over from teaching with a SmartBoard to teaching with a TV and a tablet. I really like it now that I've gotten used to it. I can move around the room and teach without being glued to the front. I did have to convert my Smart Notebook slides over to Google slides, but it works really well now! Hopefully you'll like it too.

    1. Glad to hear that it worked well for you. I'm excited to give it a try!

  3. Wow! Your school is really organized - new teacher orientation for my district is two days before school starts in August. What kind of schedule do you have - traditional 7 periods or block or something else? What math class do seniors take if they don't take calculus? Is your school 1:1 with laptops since your textbooks are digital? Lots of questions! I'm excited for you!

    1. I still have a day of New Teacher Orientation in August. This was just meeting with HR to fill out paperwork. We're on a traditional 7 period (50 minutes) each day. Except for Fridays. Then, classes are either 45 minutes or 40 minutes depending on if it is an early release day or not.

      Seniors have the option of taking Pre-Calc, AP Calc (offered virtually), Statistics, or College and Career Readiness Math (if they take this class, they don't have to take a remedial math class in college). There is also a College Algebra class that is offered for college credit that students can take if their ACT score is high enough.

      We are 1:1 with Chromebooks, and I'm super excited about that. I can finally use Desmos with my students!

  4. Seniors at my school can take AP Stats, AP Calc AB or BC, or Differential Calculus, which is partly a review of Pre-Calc skills and then an introduction to calculus covering all of differentiation and up through anti-derivatives. It's a popular class for students who don't want to brave the AP world. It has been one of my favorite classes to teach, and I use Interactive Notebooks heavily in class. Best of luck with your new school!!

  5. One more question - what's the bright orange flag on your window?

    1. It's not a flag. It's a fluorescent orange vest. And, I'm not entirely sure why it's there. I'm wondering if the previous teacher had parking lot duty???

  6. I have a suggestion for the rolling cart. Since it has six drawers, you can make a drawer for each day of the week (M-F) and one labeled "Next Week." They are great for planning ahead and having a place to store copies and materials you need for each day.