Fri May 06 2016
Melanie’s Classroom Reveal – Introducing “COLOR MY CLASSROOM!”

Again, I know this room may not be new to some of you.  I decided to reveal this room back in October.  For those of you new to Schoolgirl Style…WELCOME! As the year is winding down, I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to teach in this space.  The room was […]

Again, I know this room may not be new to some of you.  I decided to reveal this room back in October.  For those of you new to Schoolgirl Style…WELCOME!

As the year is winding down, I can’t even begin to tell you how wonderful it was to teach in this space.  The room was SO organized, functional, and pretty!

You’ll probably be excited to know that I do plan to makeover this space after school gets out.  I have a new theme already lined up and ready to go!  I will make sure that I show some sneak peeks along the way to inspire you while you are working on your OWN classroom!

A few things I plan to address in next year’s space…a Guided Reading table and area.  I used my student desks this last year and it wasn’t the most ideal situation.  I had to work around leftover snack, supplies, and student work.  I definitely need a designated space of my own with easy access to my materials and books.  Secondly, I plan to move my classroom library into this room.  Currently, it is in my Happy Camper classroom.  I want the books to be more accessible and organized for my students to use.  I have a few other ideas, but I think I want to keep that a surprise for now!

Overall, it was a dream classroom and I am so proud of how this space turned out!

I hope you enjoy the tour and get lots of inspiration to help decorate your own classroom this summer!




If you follow my blog, you know that I am teaching Kindergarten at the same school I went to as a child.  The job sort of fell in my lap.  I wasn’t looking for a teaching position at the time.  I was so wrapped up into Schoolgirl Style that I didn’t have time to think about anything else.  Creating classroom decor and opening up our new, large shipping facility was the focus in my life.

If you would have told me that I was going to teach Kindergarten, I wouldn’t have believed you.

As fate would have it, I am teaching again and loving every single minute of it.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to do what I love most!

To read the entire story about how I ended up here, click on the link below:

My Kindergarten Story

It was February when I walked into this empty classroom.  I could tell that it had so much potential.  I didn’t have enough time to make it my own, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what it could be with just a little elbow grease and lots of creativity!  There were definitely some challenges that the room faced:  It is a small space without bulletin boards or even an easel to write on.  It had one wall painted blue…it wasn’t an ugly blue, but it felt a little “electric” to me and I was dying to paint over it!  It also had orange/flesh tone counters and cupboards along one side of the room…not my choice of color for sure!  Lastly, the floor had orange, red, green, blue, and yellow colored tiles throughout AND tables that matched.  I couldn’t ignore the existing colors and knew that I had to include them in my new design.

My BEFORE pictures:


Here is the back of the classroom.  This is the children’s bathroom.  You can see there’s just a mismatch of colors…creamy yellow walls, navy blue trim, taupe doors, orange cupboards, primary colors, gray floor trim, and an electric blue wall that you’ll notice down below.


This is the main door into the classroom.  I can’t wait to show you this wall in the “AFTER” photos!


Here is the front of the room.  I brought the bulletin boards from home and purchased the red easel that you see in the corner of the photo.  I needed a space to do our calendar routine each morning.  This wasn’t ideal, but it worked for the time being.  The rug was purchased by a friend of mine.  This was her gift to the Kindergarten classroom.  In our “AFTER” photos, you’ll notice that it’s gone.  The rug is now being used by our preschool students across the hall.


Here is the side of the classroom where the children have their mailboxes and hang up their coats.


This is the teacher work area.  The desk has to be from 1950.  There is a whiteboard next to the desk, however, it wasn’t positioned to use it effectively.  This classroom is actually part of a new addition to the school and the finishes were chosen recently.  When I asked the custodians why this room didn’t have existing whiteboards and bulletin boards, they explained that one of the teachers who had been in the classroom previously didn’t want them and had all of them removed.

 I still shake my head over that one.


and this was all that I had when I walked in…a broken rocking chair and a very flimsy shelving unit that fell apart when I moved it.


There were several things that were very important to me when I came up with my classroom design:

The space had to be functional

The space had to be organized

The space had to reflect what I believe about teaching and learning …

Children’s work and art should be displayed around the room.  The classroom should allow spaces to create a print-rich environment.  The children should have access to supplies and learning materials and know where to find them.   The classroom should be arranged to allow Cooperative Learning and flexible learning spaces.  The room should have an area where classroom procedures are handled and parents can stay up-to-date with the happenings in the classroom.  The teacher should have a functional and organized work space for planning and organizing student data.  The classroom should have a meeting space with materials readily available for whole group teaching.  There should be an area designated for small group instruction and to work individually with students.  That oral language skills, out-of-the-box thinking, and creativity can be developed and nurtured by creating an environment that allows conversation, working together, freedom to take chances, and opportunities to support different learning styles.  I wanted an environment that felt “happy,” warm and inviting, and give them a little touch of “home.”  I wanted to create a place where my students felt safe and loved.

Despite my small space, I had to come up with ways to incorporate everything that was important to me as a teacher.  This was not an easy task.  I drew out the space (with several revisions) and made a list of all the materials, supplies, and furniture I would need in every area of my room.  It was a summer of planning and working hard to fulfill my “dream” classroom.  At one point, I didn’t know how I was going to pull all of this off.

It all ended up coming together though.  Here is a picture of the end result…


I painted the room and furniture white.  I wanted to brighten this dark room and give it a fresh, clean look.  It doesn’t even look like the same room!



Last year, I created the most dreamy flamingo watercolor collection (to see Watercolor Flamingo, click HERE, however it was only in bright colors.  I knew right away that I had to expand the watercolors to cover every color in the rainbow.  I planned to make it a new collection for 2016, but I hadn’t figured out how to incorporate it into a new theme yet.  As I started thinking about my own classroom and the struggle I was having with the floor tiles and tables, it hit me!  THIS would be my new watercolor collection and I can easily incorporate the floor tile colors, PLUS add the gorgeous brights that I’m naturally drawn to!


I loved the idea of paint brushes, easels, paint palettes, and doodle art to compliment the pretty watercolor accents.  The thought of a classroom decor collection that promoted art and creativity was right up my alley!  This is what I believe in.  This is who I am.

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The collection that I created uses a simple black and white background with pops of pretty watercolors throughout!  I wanted the student’s work to be the focus in the room and I wanted it to stand out against the classic black and white color combination.

By the way, the bulletin board paper is AMAZING.  This is a BRAND NEW product from Pacon.  The paper actually resembles chalkboard!


I used chalkboard accents throughout the room with bulletin board paper, border, and chalkpaint!

Check out my closet and bathroom doors!  I think they turned out great!


I absolutely cannot take the credit for these doors.  My dad used a chalkboard paint to cover the original boring taupe color.  The art teacher, Jen Mathenia (who happens to be crazy talented), actually free-handed the doors with white chalk from Crayola.


Again, my dad painted this door with chalk paint, then our Art teacher, Jen Mathenia, came in and free-handed this adorable quote on our bathroom door!  Jen used Crayola tempera paint to create this masterpiece.  Jen actually started with pencil and wrote the quote on the door, then used the tempera paint and a paintbrush to go over the lines.  Jen also had a spray bottle of water with her…if she made a mistake, she would spray the paint off and start over.  I LOVE how this turned out!


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art posters

To incorporate the doodle art/chalkboard theme throughout the classroom, I decided to cover the drywall above my windows in the chalkboard bulletin board paper.  I knew this was “dead space” in my room and the children couldn’t use it for reference materials (word wall, anchor charts, etc.) because it was too high for them to see.

This is a great place to hang their self portraits and use as a decorative focal point in the classroom.


Doodle Art Frames How-To:

I posted this picture on Facebook today and I’m already getting questions about how I did this.  It was actually pretty easy…

You will need:  Doodle frames printed from a local office supply store, an ink pen, a white oil pastel or white crayon from Crayola, chalk pens from Michaels, a stapler

  1.  Included in the COLOR MY CLASSROOM decor collection, you will have large doodle frames that you need to print out at an office supply store.
  2. I had each frame printed on a 9×12 sheet of paper.  If I could do it again, I may even go bigger…I would probably do a 10×13 sheet of paper.
  3. I used one staple to attach each frame on my drywall surface.  This allowed me to find the right placement and make sure the spacing looked okay.
  4. Once I had everything spaced nicely, I pulled the large doodle frame off the wall, turned it over on it’s backside, then used a white oil pastel crayon from Crayola to trace over the faint lines.
  5. I stapled the paper back in its place, then used an ink pen to trace over the doodle frame.  *The pressure from the pen will create an oil pastel copy of the frame on the black chalkboard paper.
  6. I bought several sized chalk pens from Michaels.  I used the chalk pens to trace over the oil pastel lines.



If you look closely, they are not perfect by any means.  Don’t worry if you make a mistake.  This is suppose to be a “doodle,” so mistakes make it look more authentic!


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I tried to incorporate the chalkboard look in all areas of my room…this even included my desk.  Remember my old, 1950 metal desk from the BEFORE photos?  It’s gone!  One of the teachers in our building was getting rid of this adorable desk and she gave it to me…she had painted it white and chalkboard.  PERFECT!  I even embellished it with the coordinating chalkboard border.   I LOVE it!  I added a watercolor banner, a lamp and flowers from home, and some cute desk accessories from the Schoolgirl Style Shop!



The top of the desk was a boring wood laminate, so I found some cute polka dot paper from Michaels and used a spray adhesive to glue it to the top of the desk.  I added an inexpensive black calendar on top to protect the paper from getting torn or wet from my Diet Coke.


The tassel banners from the Schoolgirl Style Shop add a pop of color to my desk!


I also painted an old, brown bookshelf white, then added the polka dot paper in the back of the shelves to coordinate with the rest of the room.  It was super easy…I cut the paper to fit the back of the shelf, sprayed it with the glue adhesive, then pressed the paper to the back.  The shelves looked like they were ready to be thrown out, now they are one of the cutest parts of the room!



I also have a little obsession with pretty office and desk supplies.  I wanted a way to show them off instead of hiding them in a desk.  Matt made this pegboard supply board for me to hang behind my work area.  Now, I can stare at those colorful Sharpies!  C’mon, I know I’m not the only one that gets excited about Sharpies and markers…I’m pretty sure it’s a teacher thing!

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In between the bathroom door and my desk is my pride and joy…my love…my favorite thing in the ENTIRE room!

My hutch!

I knew I wanted a hutch from the moment I stepped into this room.  I know it sounds strange to add a piece of furniture like this in a classroom, but I just knew I had to have one.  I wanted my classroom to feel like home.   I wanted something I could decorate seasonally for the kids or a place to display my favorite books.   I searched high and low for the perfect piece.  It was also important that I didn’t pay a fortune for one.

My son works at a consignment shop in our area and I told him what I was looking for.  It wasn’t long until the perfect hutch came in AND it was really inexpensive!  SOLD!

My dad painted it white and I added this paint palette from Pottery Barn Kids (it is no longer for sale) to the top of the hutch.  The circle paint colors were totally off from my color theme, so I used a little stencil paint to customize the colors to match my room.

The hutch has become the place where I store all of my books.  Inside, I have bins filled with books that go with each month and holiday.  I have never been more organized!





I have such a small classroom that in order to create flexible learning spaces, I had to be a little creative.  I purchased these adorable chairs from The Land of Nod.  I love how they tie in with my color theme and they pop against all of the white and black in the classroom.  I purchased the red, hot pink, turquoise, green, and yellow chairs when they were on sale.  I have to tell you, they are the sturdiest chairs I’ve ever had.  I used them all summer to stand on to hang different things in my classroom – even all of the men that helped me, used them to stand on too!  I probably could’ve purchased bean bags or something different, however, I couldn’t resist the “old school” feel that these chairs have.  They look playful and fun…the feeling I was trying to achieve in my classroom.


I created a sitting area in front of my desk…this is my attempt to create alternate seating for my students.  This has been one of my favorite additions to the room.

This arrangement has offered endless opportunities to work with students individually or in small groups.  It’s also allowed the students to work alone (if they choose that) or to work with a small group.

The white Ikea coffee table is feather light too.  I’ve pulled the table away on occasion and the children have used the chevron rug for a meeting place to work on assignments or Centers.


This green sofa is from Ikea.  This was another way that I tried to incorporate the feeling of home in my classroom.  I love how compact this sofa is, plus the green cover comes off for easy washing.  I believe it came in several colors…I happen to like green the best though.  The kids use this to meet with groups, we read together and I assess students here,  my own children sit and do their homework after school on the sofa, and I’ve been known to prop my feet up during lunch when I haven’t felt well.


The white benches from Ikea have also been amazing to offer an alternate work space or seating for students!

They are also low enough where the kids can sit on their knees (on the carpet side) and use the benches as a writing surface.


The black bins are filled with clipboards and dryerase boards/markers.  The clipboards also allow the students to find a comfortable spot in the classroom to complete their assignments.


The polka dot fabric was purchased at Hobby Lobby.  We used a no-sew iron tape for the window valance and the curtains that cover the open shelving.  To attach the curtains to the countertop, we used a heavy duty, wide Velcro strip.



The shelving on the back of the Ikea couch holds all of our supplies and Writing Workshop materials.  The children know where everything is at and can get their own materials whenever they need them.  The Jelly Totes (available in the Schoolgirl Style Shop) are perfect for holding all of these supplies.  I often struggled with baskets because pencils, crayons, colored pencils, or skinny markers fall out of the holes, but this never happens with the totes.  They are solid and deep enough to hold a ton of materials!  The totes are also made out of a solid, sturdy material…your students can’t break these!  These are an excellent investment when it comes to classroom organization.



When I came up with the overall idea of doing an art themed classroom, I instantly thought of the traditional paper chain.  What a simple, easy, and inexpensive way to incorporate color into your classroom!  This could be a great way to include your students in the decorating process!  I’ve always loved paper chains and I think it adds a playfulness to any space!


I carry the most amazing set of 12 lanterns in the Schoolgirl Style Shop.  These are a little smaller than most of the lanterns that I carry, however, these were the PERFECT size to embellish the paper chains.  We used fishing line to tie all of them together and to create the varying heights.

Talk about “WOW FACTOR!”


We also attached a lantern to each end of the chain for some extra flair!


The type of paper that you use is very important!  If you plan to keep your paper chains up all year long (or even longer), make sure you use a fadeless construction paper.  I used Pacon’s Tru-Ray construction paper.  This is a high quality, fade resistant paper.  My paper chains will stay a vibrant color for as long as I have them up!


Paper Chain Canopy How To:

  1.  I used Pacon’s Tru-Ray construction paper.  This is a MUST!  If you want to your chains to stay vibrant, use this brand.
  2. I cut my chains 1 1/2 – 2 inches wide.
  3. I made enough chains in every color that stretched the width of the room.  We had a lot left over and plan to use them in other places around the school.
  4. To attach the chains to the ceiling, I used a metal pocket chart ring.  It was a spur of the moment thing.  I’m sure there are probably other ways you can attach it to the ceiling – we just happened to have one there, so we tried it and it worked!  We attached the metal ring to the metal criss cross bars on the ceiling for support.  *You can see this better in the picture below
  5. On the end of each paper chain, we used two pieces of contruction paper to give it strength.  We just stapled an extra chain on top of the other…this gave it the support it needed to make sure the chain didn’t rip off the metal ring.  We also doubled the chain at each end of the paper chain canopy to make sure it didn’t tear and fall down from the ceiling.
  6. We used fishing line and a bent paperclip to attach the ends of each chain to the ceiling, then hooked it into the metal crossbars (on the ceiling).
  7. We added the center lanterns to the metal pocket chart ring with fishing line.  We adjusted the height of each lantern to give it that waterfall look.
  8. We added a small lantern to each end of the canopy by using a paperclip to attach it to the paper chain.



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The COLOR MY CLASSROOM collection comes with this amazing calendar package!

The package includes:

  1.  A large calendar with coordinating month headers and numbers (print out at a local office supply store)
  2. Bulletin board embellishments
  3. A Seasons chart
  4. A Weather Chart
  5. Birthday chart, cupcakes, and candles to customize for your student’s birthdays
  6. A Month Chart
  7. Tally Mark chart
  8. Today’s Pattern
  9. Today’s Date
  10. Day of the Week Chart



This is my Word Wall.  My Word Wall is located right above my student’s coat hooks…





I also cannot take credit for this idea…

I observed the fabulous Jen Roman from Grand Blanc Schools (in Michigan) and Jen had these huge whiteboards cut to fit the length of her student’s tables.  She used them during Math Workshop.  The children were sent back to their seats to work on the Problem of the Day as a group.  It was amazing to watch!

You can use this idea for about anything.  I used the dry erase boards instead of nametags.  What a cute way for the children to find their seat on the first day!

The possibilities are truly endless with these boards!


Lastly, I created this super functional Command Center in my classroom.  Remember what it looked like before?

It was an empty, useless space without a purpose.

Now, this space holds all of my daily procedures.  The kids walk in and choose their lunch (created with the magnetic decor in the Schoolgirl Style Shop…this stuff is awesome!), a large monthly calendar to keep track of how the kids are getting home, reminders, and day to day activities.  Student mailboxes are below the calendar (remember the blue ones in the old picture?  I painted them white to go with the rest of the room).  I included coordinating bins to hold lunch money, notes from parents, attendance forms, extra handouts for parents, and an area that holds all of my papers that I need to take to the office or make copies.

How many times has the office called you and said that a student is going to get picked up from school early?  Last year, more than likely, I would forget with everything on my plate.  This year, I run to my calendar and quickly jot it down.  This calendar has saved me over and over again!

This area has made my classroom the most organized and efficient it has ever been!


Remember this board in the old room?  I had the custodians move it to this wall.  You could easily make the same thing with a large piece of dry erase board from Home Depot!


I used Washi Tape to create the lines on my calendar.  If you look closely, you’ll see that they aren’t even.  I’m not overly picky about this sort of thing.  I know that this would drive some of you crazy!  The amazing function that this board has, outweighs the crooked lines!  You NEED to try this!



This was my classroom on the first day of school.  It is now filled with student work, self portraits hanging above the windows, songs and rhymes are posted all over the room, anchor charts are displayed prominently throughout, the counters are covered with books about apples, pumpkins, trees, and Fall, our pocket charts are filled with learning activities, our Word Wall is filling up, and the once empty shelves are covered with writing paper, our handwriting books, and supplies the children use on a daily basis.

My room looks lived in.  My room looks like we are learning.  My room looks like children live there.

When I would dream about my Kindergarten classroom, this was it.

I couldn’t ask for for a better, happier place to come to each and every day!

Hope you enjoyed the tour and, more than anything, I hope I was able to inspire YOU to create your own dream space!


Stay tuned for my “Happy Camper” reveal!


Photos courtesy of E’lisa Campbell from E.C. Campbell Photography in Clarkston, MI

Schoolgirl Style Shop – To purchase the COLOR MY CLASSROOM collection and the coordinating items that you see in the photos, click HERE

crayons, markers, oil pastels, tempera paint, chalk – Crayola

Tru-Ray construction paper for paper chains and chalkboard bulletin board paper – Pacon

Parker Play Chairs, pom pom pillow on sofa, rainbow throw pillow (not pictured) – The Land of Nod

white benches, white shelves, white coffee table, green sofa, turquoise cart – Ikea

black and white polka dot fabric, chalkboard “pray” sign – Hobby Lobby

red pillow on sofa, red and white chevron rug – Target (seasonal item – discontinued)

white buckets on pegboard – Save on Crafts

polka dot paper and chalk pens – Michaels

White hutch – Fratz Consignment in Fenton, Michigan

alphabet and “happy” pillow – Wayfair

Chalkboard inspirational sign above shelf – Duckies, Seaside, Florida

Polka dot rug and paint palette – Pottery Barn Kids *I returned the rug due to heavy shedding.  The paint palette is discontinued.



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