Sunday, August 19, 2012

My New to Me Room

Not much to blog about this week other than the overwhelming feeling I have (like many others) about what I am doing and how I am getting it done.  Our state has switched over to Common Core this year, which is great, but I was a trainer for our new Social Studies Essential Standards that roll out this year as well so I missed all of our language arts training sessions.  And to top it off, I am now teaching Science instead of Social Studies - can we say STRESSED?  And another addition...I am also a new (as in recently certified, never done this before) AIG Specialist in 7th grade and am struggling to understand and complete the paperwork for new students placing into the program and meeting with those parents, plus dealing with my own students.  ENOUGH of my whining though!

I was lucky enough to move into one of the newer, more spacious rooms on our campus this year (yeah, add that to all the stress of learning Common Core and Science over the summer).  I teach at a middle school that was an old high does have character with many room having creaky wooden floors, steam radiators for heat, windows that do not open (or close entirely), and very small rooms.  Last year I had 28 - 6th graders in my room.  We had no room for a small group table, well we didn't even have room to sit on the floor.  Any time we needed to do a spread  out, work on the floor, movement type activity - we headed to the hallway!

So, to say the least, I am very lucky to have this new to me room even with its bowling alley shape.  It has a sink, storage, and plenty of room for all 30 of my student desks.  The biggest bonus - no real bulletin boards!  Yay me!  It is a work in progress, since students arrived this past Monday...adjustments will be made to make it more conducive to active learning.  I will be getting a SMARTboard at some point when it arrives - I just hope it doesn't hang out in the room for a couple of months before they get around to hooking it up for our class. 

Without further ado - here are some pictures of  my room!  I tried to make it not quite so prissy, but neat and organized and somewhat color coordinated.  So far, it makes me happy!

Back of room, the only bulletin board type area.  Objectives, assignments, etc on that board.  Also room to work with small groups.
Our dystopian literature circles study - all of our interdisciplinary units are planned around these novels. 
Scientific Method for science (yes, I teach 2 AIG language arts classes and 2 standard science classes).
Nonfiction Text Features reminders - perfect for both language arts and science!  These were found through a pinterest score.  They were created by Beth Newingham and can be found at her Scholastic Blog. Click on her name to go to her site where you can download them for  FREE!
The front of the room.  The board is off center and it drives me crazy (I did not set up this room, I inherited this way).  BUT - there will be a new SMARTboard hanging out on the wall in the near future.  It will be centered on that wall, starting under the flag, so it will work better for all students to be able to see.  Can you tell that I am a huge The Big Bang Theory fan?  One of my students last year gave me that poster for my birthday.
The side wall with the storage and door. most fabulous computer stand/teaching desk.  The classroom rules are posted here as well (using an Ikea bar) to create a little artwork on the wall.
Our class/team rules.  At first, this was a great idea I had, but then as I painted and attempted to attach all these frames together I thought this was one of the dumbest ideas I had ever tried.  It looks ok, I know it isn't all straight and such...but I am calling that creativity and character so that my OCD self can deal with it.  If you try this, trust me on this idea - take out the glass and use old school overheard transparencies!  I took out all of the glass before attempting to hang it to make it lighter - so glad I did as it crashed to the ground on the first hanging attempt. 
The wall opposite the door.  It will become my word wall.  Of all the things in my classroom, my word nerd wall poster creation is my absolute favorite!  I put the graphic I purchased with the words and uploaded that to Staples and they had it printed for me before I even arrived at the store. 
 I hope you have enjoyed this sneak peek into my classroom.  It will soon not look this neat and clean as these were taken the first day of school before students entered the room.  Thanks for stopping by and feel free to share any ideas you may have to make the room better.



  1. Glad to know I'm not the only teacher out there who despises bulletin boards. Seriously, they are my arch nemesis.

    I too love The Big Bang Theory. Cracks me up!

    Thanks for sharing Beth's Nonfiction posters. Going to check those out now.

  2. I'm not a big fan of bulletin boards either! I love your dystopian board!

    Thanks for sharing Beth's text features, I LOVE her stuff and hadn't seen these. I'll be printing them out for display in my room too. Have a fantastic school year!

    Upper Grades Are Awesome

  3. Thanks for sharing. I love looking into other teachers' classrooms. I love the characteristics of nonfiction posters. I'll use them in my grade 7 class. Plan to take the titles off of them in order to use them as a diagnostic at the start of the year before posting them for student reference. I'll post a similar post on my blog nice I'm back in my class.

  4. It looks great in your room. My room was redone this summer and is very...white..soon to be covered. I hear you with changes...isn't that the only thing that is 100% consistent. The Common Core English standards are very straight forward and I know you will pick them up with ease. Plus you will have a others trying to figure it all out as well...It will be a great year. LOVE you rules hanging. I start tomorrow with my students.. Happy School Year

  5. Your room looks great! I seldom do bulletin boards, as my students love to do them. They help each other to improve their displays and take pride in sharing their own ideas. By the end of the school year, they have some excellent displays.

  6. Your classroom looks great! I have taught AIS Math for the past 6 years (I think AIG & AIS might be the same thing Academic Intervention Services). I was a bit lost when I first started doing it but, it has gotten better. LOL Enough so, that I can explain to another woman whose assignment was changed to AIS. I told her that as an AIS teacher, what you're doing is just giving students different tools to learn with.

    Also, I would see that a student had something wrong on their paper & I would say 'Ok, this answer isn't coming out right but, I can't figure out how you got there. Can you explain to me the steps that you took?' That way, the student felt that they were getting their point across to me & I could see their way of thinking. Then, I could go back & say 'You know that part where you subtracted? Well, that's where you're supposed to add instead.'

    Good luck with the new year!

  7. AWESOME room! Your students are totally going to love it!
    ☼ Kate
    To The Square Inch

  8. Hi Randy!

    I am a Canadian teacher in Ontario and I recently accepted a job teaching middle school. I will be teaching English, French, Social Studies and Math...I am so stressing out right now!!! If you could e-mail me with more specific ideas as to classroom setup and good resources that may apply to your Canadian neighbour, I would truly appreciate it!!!

    Thank you so much!!! Your class looks amazing!!

  9. Love the dystopian board and your Word Nerd Wall poster! I'm a former English teacher at a small, Christian school, but I left to go back to graduate school to become a certified teacher. I just start following you and would love for you to follow me!

  10. I love that you are going to be doing a unit on dystopian novels!

    I'm working towards my single subject credential in Biology right now and am interested in teaching 7th grade life science, so I'll definitely be reading!

  11. Your room looks great! I have started using interactive notebooks and I am going to do the white airhead inferencing activity. I saw that you said you somehow made it into a one page foldable for the notebook. Would you be willing to send it to me? My email is I would really appreciate it; your site has been really helpful in figuring out how I want to use our notebooks this year!

  12. love your word nerd wall idea! i tell my students that i am a word nerd and i hadn't even thought of creating a word nerd wall! thanks!!

  13. COOL room set up! Oh what I would do for all those CABINETS! I used to have a LONG counter with bookshelves mounted above and cabinets below AND a walk in closet! DREAM ROOM....then I moved schools.
    Good job!

  14. I love the dystopian literature theme. That's perfect for middle schoolers! I hope your Smartboard is up and running soon!

  15. I like the rule set although rules are hard to follow sometimes you still have to obey them. My class already has a Smartboard and it's SUPER cool!!
    I hope that you love your Smartboard!!!

  16. I've been setting up a Dystopian Unit for 7th grade - thinking book clubs for individuals as well as an over-arching whole class text. Would you be willing to share more details of how you ran this last year, what it looked like, what worked and what didn't? Hey, I bet you could do a WHOLE blog post about it!! :)

    1. Carianna,

      This is just for you! I hope it helps. And thanks for inspiring me to actually take the time to write a blog post. I have been really slack about it!

      Dystopian Literature Circles

      Hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions. I will do my best to answer them for you.


  17. Thanks for sharing!! I don't know too many, except maybe early elementary teachers who love bulletin boards! I always cover mine in fabric so I don't have to redo the background for YEARS!!

  18. Do you have your behavior posters for sale, I would love to have them.