Second Grade Classroom Tour

Oh. My. Word. The last month has been BUSY! Next year, I am going to hire some guest bloggers to keep my blog busy the month before school starts! I am in awe of all of you who have continued to blog multiple times a week. I haven’t even been able to find the time to blog ONCE a week, but I’m here now! :)

I’ve been in school for 11 days. My yearly tradition of getting September Laryngitis has continued! I call it September Laryngitis because ever since my first year of teaching, I have gotten it EVERY September. Last year, I only got it for a day, so I thought that my body was getting used to laryngitis germs… this year, not so much. I currently have no voice and my energy level is at a .02343. But… I do have the energy to sit here and blog silently! So it here it goes…

We have Open House a few days before school starts. Students and parents come in to drop off supplies, meet the teacher, and tour the classroom. I always do a Classroom Scavenger Hunt for Open House to help get students acquainted with the classroom. I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but here’s one shot of what each student’s desk looked like:

D.O.T Binders (Teaching in Flip Flops)

We use our binders to store lots of stuff! Each binder has 5 tab dividers that I have labeled Morning Work, Math, Reading, Language, and Poetry.

Each student had a candy treat waiting! Download a generic file (free!) that you can use in your classroom (HERE!)

My classroom is SMALL! I am standing in the back corner and this is pretty much it! The only thing you can’t see in this picture is my classroom library, which is in the back, right corner. I have tried about 37 desk arrangements and this is the best one that works for me! I use my SmartBoard A LOT, so I like all of my students to have a great view of it. This arrangement also allows me to have a large space in front of the SmartBoard for us to sit in a circle during Morning Meeting and for the students to sit on the carpet during lessons.

(Please note: If you have a classroom set of desks that are the same color and height, consider yourself lucky! The other big reason I use this arrangement is because it allows me to keep those five lovely tan desks away from the nice grey ones!…. sigh….)

Here’s a side view! I am standing by the classroom door in this picture. Don’t tell my administrators that I took down my alphabet chart to display some awesome quotes this year! My students have an alphabet on their nametag, so that’s good enough, right?! I felt slightly rebellious taking it down this year, but I just love the some of the quotes from Technology Rocks. Seriously and Second Grade Shenanigans. I plan on talking about the quotes during our Morning Meeting each week. As a side note, that’s not actually a dry erase board that you see! It’s actually dry erase film stuck on top of a vintage, green chalkboard. It works pretty well and the magnetic surface of the chalkboard comes through the film! By the way, my school turns 80 this year… I jazzed up my board this year by framing sections with black border {with magnet tape stuck on the back}. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked it, but now I really like the separation it gives to the board.

Here is my pride and joy—my SmartBoard! The good news is that I don’t know how I’d teach without one! The bad news is that I had to lose my best bulletin board because they installed it right on top of it! Ohhhh well. The little shelf thing on the right is where I put my laptop. It is rather large, but we were told that it wasn’t optional, so there it is! To the left of my SmartBoard is my WBT Scoreboard. This is my first year using it… I was really good at it our first week of school, but it is slowly fading away! Any suggestions from scoreboard users out there?

Here is another new item in my classroom this year—my Super Improver Wall! HERE is a detailed post about how I use it!

Here is a close-up of my 10 Super Improver wall levels {rookie, learner, leader, captain, rising star, pro, expert, genius, superstar, and legend}. I decided to use a pocket chart to keep my SIW simple! Best of all, I bough a tiny, rainbow cardstock stack from Michael’s (it was less than $5!), so I don’t have to cut any paper as students move up to the next color!!!! I also bought a star hole puncher, so that’s what students will use to add a star on their card. 10 stars equal a new card color. They are pretty pumped about this idea!

Here is my Phonics Dance wall, daily schedule, Word of the Day wall, and my classroom computers {the OCD in me is very upset about the fact that not all of my computers match…but I am thankful that I have computers!}. Are you familiar with the Phonics Dance? I absolutely love using it in the classroom. I definitely recommend attending one of their conferences if you have the chance! The real Phonics Dance is made up of cutesy pictures, which I’m not a big fan of, so I remade my own with photographs.

The beautiful schedule pictures came from Kristen at Ladybug’s Teacher Files. Now that school has started, we use an arrow with a magnet on the back to indicate what point we are at in the day.

The Word of the Day of the day section still looks exactly as pictured. I have been introducing the Word of the Day during Morning Meeting, but have been slacking with writing them on sentence strips for the wall! Oops… The Word of the Day poster comes from Stacey Riedmiller. The days of the week signs come from Amy Lemons.

Next up on the tour is my fabulous clip chart! Well, it’s not actually a clip chart… it’s more of a magnet chart! I designed the chart in Word and uploaded the file to VistaPrint. It is printed on a vinyl banner that has lasted very well! I made the magnets myself (circle magnets are EXPENSIVE!!!) using wooden circles that I spray painted and stuck magnets onto. This is my third year using the chart and it has worked WONDERS in my classroom. It is so positive and the students love it! Never once do I tell my students to cheer for their friends when they slide up, but every year, my students knock my socks off as they cheer for their friends and praise them high and low when they make it to Above and Beyond! To the left of the chart are my Whole Brain Teaching-ish classroom rules, which are:

Rule #1: Follow Directions Quickly
Rule #2: Make Smart Choices
Rule #3: Respect Others, Respect Yourself, Respect Our School
Rule #4: Use Your Best Effort
Rule #5: Keep Your Teacher Happy!

Here is my naked CRAFT board from Kristen at Ladybug’s Teacher Files! We will start posting strategies up this week!

Here is my classroom library! I have nearly 2,000 books!!! If I didn’t love books so much, I wouldn’t let my library take up a quarter of my tiny classroom! I wish I could let it take up even more space… oh how I’d love to fit a comfy couch in there! All of my books are labeled by category and AR level, except for the ones in the blue and yellow bins, which are labeled only by AR level. I labeled my books and baskets five years ago and they are in need of an upgrade, but that sounds like A LOT of work! :) The blue, yellow, and green baskets on the right side of the library are my students’ personal book baskets. The awesome batik fabric hanging on the wall is from Ghana!! It’s the ABC’s in sign language, which was made by the School for the Deaf in Ghana. I LOVE it.

Here’s a close up of one side of the library. I use stuffed animals to help all of the books stay propped up and the students also read with them! Most of the animals are from Kohls :)

This side of my classroom could use some work! It looks messy and sad, but at least it’s funtional! This is my guided reading table, which also doubles as my desk (not enough room in my classroom for both). Behind the table are my students’ mailboxes, which my dad originally made for me when I was a child and won 77 Beanie Babies from McDonald’s! He added the middle slots in the shelf to turn them into mailboxes when I started teaching. To the right of the mailboxes is my filing cabinet, which houses all of my beloved files. And to the right of that, is our level’s laptop cart! I am housing it in my classroom this year because I am teaching technology to the whole second grade!

Here’s the last wall in my classroom! Lockers, lockers, and more lockers! There are pros and cons to having lockers in the classroom, folks! Pros: easy access to backpacks and lunchboxes. Cons: Lockers left open, stuff hanging out of lockers, clicking and clanking of lockers, and smells coming from lockers! The handprints were only for Open House, so students could find their lockers. Now, their self portraits that they made on the first day of school are hanging up! Above the lockers are some sweet sweet storage cabinets that house my junk! Typically, I put my Word Wall on my cabinets, but this year, I am having mixed thoughts so they are still naked. The past few years, I have felt like my students rely TOO much on the Word Wall, so I’m contemplating not putting one up and maybe just using personal Word Walls that they can keep in their binders. Any thoughts???

Last, but not least, here is the bulletin board outside my classroom! I made it with clipart from Ginger Snaps.

Phew! That was a lot of photos! I am glad to be back in blog-land! I guess being stuck at home with no voice had its perks for me today! Hope you all are enjoying your first few weeks back!


  1. Looks wonderful! You've made great use of this space in spite of its size. I love your CRAFT wall - great idea to have that on a white board for quick changes. Your library looks very cozy, too! Happy new school year!!

    Second Grade Sparkle

  2. Your room is great. I loved seeing all your great ideas. :)

  3. I love your room and what you have done with it! I have a small closet I mean room, too! I usually call it cozy...Sounds nicer, doesn't it! I don't know how people have a life, teach and blog the first weeks of school! Have a great year!!
    Owl Things First

  4. i love your room! So clean and pretty! Best of both worlds!

  5. Your room looks fabulous! I think we all are struggling to keep up with everything.
    ~April Walker
    The Idea Backpack
    Come on over and linkup your technology tips post and enter my giveaway!

  6. I too use a u-shaped desk arrangement and love it! Will be moving into a new space next year and am going to refer back to your great ideas here :)

    1. Thanks Stacey! I LOVE my desk arrangement! Unfortunately, our class sizes are going to increase next year and I'm not sure I can fit any more desks into the U shape! I will be experimenting this summer :)

  7. I went away from a word wall this year and never looked back!

    1. I ended up putting it above the lockers again this year, but still have mixed thoughts! The students who need to use it, don't use it, and the students who don't need it, use it! Go figure!

  8. Hi there, I want your clip chart and want to order it from Vistaprint. Would you have the file to share or share the font you used. I like it just as it is. Love your classroom, it is so bright and cheery.

    1. Hello! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I no longer have the file, as it was on a computer that crashed. I made the clip chart in PowerPoint, saved it as a png, and uploaded it to Vista Print. Sorry I can't be of more help!


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