I was so lucky to have worked with the BEST people to make this classroom possible. Not only was Diana awesome, but so was her principal, Betsy Kato. She allowed me to come in on the weekend and kept the building open for me to finish the room. She also had the awful looking cabinets painted for us! Thank goodness! The entire staff at Myers Elementary were so kind and welcoming! It really is a fantastic place to teach and learn!
Thank you, Myers Elementary!
I thought I would dedicate this blog post to the details in this classroom. I thought it might be helpful to know what I was thinking when I created certain elements in the classroom.
So, when I looked at this room for the first time, I knew that the long area above the windows had to be spectacular! This was my focal point in the classroom. When you walk in, your eyes naturally go there. It needed to be cohesive and attractive. Look at Diana’s old room…
Diana broke this up into four different bulletin boards. To be honest, I am not crazy about this look. I totally get what she was doing and know that she planned to use this as four different bulletin boards, BUT…
I think the space is useless.
I once had a literacy specialist explain that it is too high for little bodies to see up there. I know this would be a logical place for anchor charts or maybe your word wall, but in reality, the children cannot use it effectively. All items used as reference should be at the children’s level.
I knew I had to incorporate the dog theme in this space and it needed to be amazing! I came up with the idea of using dog silhouettes for the impact it would create when you looked into the room. It would be big and bold!
Ummmm….Hello gorgeous, amazing, spectacular wall! I think I’m in love with you!
I embellished the dogs with colorful ribbon for leashes and collars. I also added pretty dog tags, dog bowls, balls, and bones to tie in the color theme.
I have to give a shout out to Pat Ambrose. Pat is a retired teacher from Myers Elementary (she has an art degree as well). She drew every single dog for me BY HAND!!! I expected her to use an overhead to make the dog silhouettes, but NO, she just started drawing away. So, don’t freak out if you can’t draw like Pat! You can purchase the silhouettes from me and use an overhead projector to trace. Your dog will look exactly the same!
My colorful nameplates were used as Diana’s daily schedule. With my editable tags, you can create anything! Also, notice the double borders. You know how I love to do that to create impact, plus it helps pull my entire theme together. I’ve also been putting solid border around my alphabet lines lately. I think it looks like it is framed in – I LOVE that!
Okay…so here I go again with the Creative Teaching Press tree. Have you figured out that I love this?!? I used four trees in this classroom. One is never enough. If you want to create a dramatic look, add them everywhere! Trees can be changed seasonally and it is a great place to add student’s names.
This entire space is dead space. Can I add student work or anchor charts? Nope. The space isn’t wide enough. Don’t leave this area empty!!! This is where teachers make decorating mistakes. Typically, you might see someone throw a poster there or put up a piece of paper or even leave it empty. The narrow trunk of the tree fits perfectly in this space! You can turn this area into a focal point despite the awkward dimensions.
I also used trees on both sides of the Word Wall. Again, it was a very narrow space that needed to be filled with SOMETHING. The trees fit perfectly in this spot! I added the colorful bones in the tree to pull in the color theme on this side of the room!
Here is the 4th tree. This is the front of the classroom. I needed to create a focal point on this side of the room. I also needed something narrow to cover up a metal bar that went directly through the center of the whiteboard…how about ANOTHER tree!
I chose two colors of Bordette to use throughout the entire classroom. I also used it to embellish my shelves and around the doors! This gives ugly, outdated shelves a custom and coordinated look.
Another decorating secret is the lanterns! Lanterns are actually pretty inexpensive. I used 16 lanterns in this classroom. If you skimp on these types of embellishments, you won’t get the same impact. Lanterns can be purchased in the Schoolgirl Style Shop!
I love using pennant banners in the classroom. This is probably your best value out of anything you can purchase in the Schoolgirl Style Shop. You can purchase the design for a small price and use it over and over to create as many pennants as you need. I used a ton in this room!
Do you notice that I used it at the top of the ceilings? It is so important to cover the white areas in the room. If it is too high OR it can’t be used for anchor charts or student work, you can hang some pennant banners and “BAM!”…cute room transformation!
Diana had a ton of book baskets, but they were in several different colors. I bought inexpensive dishpans and black utility baskets from Dollar Tree to replace and transform the space. I added my colorful labels and tags to pull the entire theme together. Doesn’t this area look clean, organized, and cohesive?
If you choose to add something over your tables, make sure you choose an odd number. I like to do things in “3’s.” I used 2 lanterns and 1 table sign to hang over each group of tables. Make sure you vary your heights too!
Don’t forget to clean off all your junk off the top of your shelves! I had Diana take everything off and store it behind the curtains. Again, I don’t like too much empty space in a classroom, so in those awkward areas, I like to add the children’s self portraits. I used a large sheet of black paper and added a coordinating nameplate for the students to make a colorful picture of themselves! I love to use oil pastel crayons – they are so much brighter as opposed to traditional crayons or colored pencils. The portraits will POP and the kids will LOVE seeing their faces decorating their classroom!
*There are a ton of great websites that show you how to make self portraits with your children. I have used the one at Deep Space Sparkle and they have turned out amazing! This is also a great site to purchase units that are centered around art projects for your students. Check it out! You won’t be disappointed!
I love chevron designs and I created this unique chevron color combination for this collection. You can purchase the paper from my shop, print it out, and wrap cans for a customized look. Super inexpensive, but makes a big difference with the overall look of the room. It is the small details that matter!
I embellished the cans with a black ribbon…
Lastly, I think it is so nice to personalize your space with picture frames. I adore these candy colored frames from the Schoolgirl Style Shop! They coordinate perfectly with this theme.
Just recently, I walked into a high-end store in Northern Michigan and saw my exact dog silhouettes framed in a basic black frame. I was shocked to see how expensive it was!!! The dog silhouettes are very inexpensive to purchase in my shop. You can purchase the file and print out as many as you would like, then frame. You will have a classic, Pottery Barn looking piece of décor for your classroom at a fraction of the price! I even plan to use these in my family room! Dogs are all the rage in decorating right now!
Well, I think I covered it all! Hopefully, this post was helpful and it gave you some great ideas to use in your own classroom!