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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Teacher Tuesday: classroom setup update!

It's Teacher Tuesday! Today I'm rounding up all of the updates I have made to my classroom since I last shared in my post on my classroom setup. There were quite a few projects that I hadn't completed (or even started!) when classes started- I guess it's always a work in progress, right?!? :)

First I would like to introduce you to my now-in-use behavior reward / color-coding board!

I created a few more magnets to use in the color-coded teams section of the board. I made little pennies and nickles (with a big 1 and 5 on them) to give points to different teams. I have told the students that I will not always award a team with a point every time they do something great (win a game, do an activity really well), but I will plan in advance when I want to award a team for a particular activity. It keeps them on their toes a little bit and gives students a chance to "win" in a smaller group, especially for those students who are stuck in a class full of difficult behaviors... if you know what I mean ;) It has also been great to see students connecting with students in other classes and grade levels by finding out they are on the same team. I even had one student report that she and her brother were on the same team so they were relieved to not be competing against each other! :)

The minion magnet shows which team will be leading the class to the door at the end of class. I used a minion because I put minion tape on the floor to show where the students should line up! That has been a huge hit of course.

I also have a magnet for the bass xylophone. I currently only have 1 bass xylophone, and last year it caused major issues every time we played our Orff instruments. People would literally leap over the instruments to get to it, and there would be temper tantrums and tears from students saying they had never had a turn- and I'm just talking about my sixth graders! So I decided to split up the school year into 6 (we are on trimesters so half a trimester each) and give a team "dibs" on the bass xylophone for a period of time. Hopefully this will make it easier for me to keep track of who has had a turn, and it will at least ensure that there are fewer arguments and more people will get turns. I have already used it with a few classes and so far it has made everything much simpler!

My next update is just a little thing. I had been meaning to update the "title" for my dry erase objectives boards ever since I made them last school year, and I just never got around to it. Now it has been updated and it looks so much cooler! :)

This was another little thing but it has made my life a lot easier: I attached my white board markers to the top of the board with velcro dots!

I saw the idea on Pinterest here. I love that it makes the markers last longer because they are hanging upside down. The added benefit for me, though, is that my white board is pretty much on its last leg- literally. The legs are wobbly and shake like crazy every time I have to roll the board anywhere, and the markers were constantly falling off the little shelf on the bottom. Problem solved! I also realized after I did it that now most of my students can't reach the markers, so I don't have to worry about someone using them. And, of course, they only add to my rainbow-ified room now that they are all lined up in rainbow order! :)

Speaking of rainbows... I also finished up my color-coded supplies area!

I color-coded the clip boards and dry erase boards and put half in each milk crate, then labeled the crates with the color teams that store their boards in that box. I also covered up some six packs with black paper and rainbow duct tape to hold my cups with color-coded pencils, white board pens, and crayons:

So far the system is working out well. No missing pencils yet! And it's very easy for me to keep track of who hasn't put things away, and the handing out/putting away process is much faster.

My art teacher colleague had an old mailbox she was getting rid of, so I covered the tags with more rainbow duct tape and labeled them for each class:

I have been using it to hold papers that get turned in, and then I put them back there after I grade them to pass back. After using it I am liking it so much that I may get a couple more- I have a few ideas in mind that I would like to try!

If you follow my Facebook page, you may have already seen this picture:

I am absolutely ecstatic about that minion pillow. I bought some cheap pillows this summer to make a little listening/reading area when I do centers (don't worry, I will pull them out from under the table when they are using them!), including a couple of white ones to decorate with fabric pens. I did the first one (you can see it peeking out behind the yellow pillow) and knew I needed help! My art teacher colleague swooped in to the rescue again and came up with the musical minion idea on her own as well- she handed it to me and I almost did a back flip I was so excited (OK not really because I'm too old for that... but you know what I mean)! Isn't it amazing?!? OK time to stop gushing.

I also got some visuals up in the hallway outside my classroom. The posters you see here are in the main hallway outside my room, and I bought them from Lindsay Jervis here. I love how colorful they are, and they are written in kid-friendly, easy to understand language.

They are the perfect thing for the hallway for any administrators and homeroom teachers to notice as they walk by! :)

Just inside the door to the right of those posters is a small entry hallway with doors to a small "practice room" (which is actually where the instrumental teacher has her pull-out lessons) and my room. I made these up and finally finished printing, cutting, laminating, and stapling. Whew! I do still need to fill in the rest of the wall a bit, but I am glad to have it up before open house rolls around tomorrow!

I think that just about covers it- hopefully things will settle down enough so I don't have to do part 3 for my classroom setup later LOL! If you missed the original post, you can find it here:

Hope you are having a wonderful week!


  1. I used to have the exact same blue cardboard mailbox. I bought one specifically for holding papers that needed to be returned. I loved it :)

  2. Hi! I just found this post on Pinterest and love your behavior board! How do classes move up the keyboards? Do team points factor into this? I also use rainbow groupings and would love to hear more about how you use them.

    1. Hi! Classes can move up the keyboard by earning points as a whole class, which I track using the letters to spell "MUSIC". You can read more about that in this post: They earn their way up the black keys to their first incentive, then the white keys, then all of the keys. I was using the colored squares you see in the picture to track points for the small color teams, but then we ended up rolling the color team system out to the whole school PBIS-style. You can read about that here: I have written a lot about behavior management this past year. You can find more posts on the subject by clicking on the "behavior management" label on the right sidebar (there is a section that says "labels"). I hope this helps! I'd be happy to discuss it further if you're interested- this has been a huge topic for me :)

    2. Thanks! Can't wait to dig into your blog more. You must have one of the most efficiently managed classrooms ever 😎

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  4. First, you KNOW how I feel about rainbows and color coding....just love, love, love. And second, I love your Bass Xylophone idea. I, too, only have 1 and I often have students hurdling over it to be first. :) Thank you!!! :)

    1. I was lucky enough to get 2 more bass xylophones through DonorsChoose back in the fall- it made a huge difference but having the system of assigning teams to have dibs definitely still helped a lot!