Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Home Sweet Classroom

HGTV is so popular because all of us secretly want to know what the inside of other people's homes look like.  One of my favorite things about visiting a friend's home for the first time is getting the "house tour" and soaking up their decor, storage, furniture, and homemaking.

Confession? Teachers l.o.v.e. doing the same thing in other teachers' classrooms.  Even when I stop in to my coworkers' rooms for something, I'm saying "uh huh, uh huh," all while looking around at their new art, posters, organization, desk arrangement, etc.  And visiting a new school?  I feel like a tourist craning my neck as I walk down the hall and peek inside rooms along the way.  (P.S. read my note at the bottom of the post- feel free to leave a link to pics of your classroom in the comments!)

So in the spirit of a tour, I thought I'd show you around my classroom all set up for the 2016-2017 school year!  (Note, these pictures were actually taken last week...students have since invaded and as you can imagine it is a little fuller and lot less neat.)

This is my 5th year in 5th grade, and my 5th year in the same classroom (alleluia!- At my last job I moved in and out of spaces four different times in three years!)  
If you are curious to see the progression of this room, you can check out these posts:
The "Before" and The "After" (Fall 2012)
Fall 2013
Fall 2014
and apparently I missed my 2015 post :)

This year I ditched the owl theme and started fresh with a colored pencil theme!  A little less cutesy, and I was ready for a change.

 I had already decided on the pencil theme when a teacher friend asked if I would like to take these giant pencils off her hands.  They were retail store props and she was ready to pass them on.  I super excitedly laid down the seats in my car and hauled them away- note that they were all the way in the back of my trunk and the tips touched the front windshield- they are giant!  And one of them is a Ticonderoga, which is only the absolute best pencil in the world.

My cozy little corner, complete with all the heavenly helpers who have my back throughout the day.

Our closets and word wall, which will be added to throughout the year.

Organization center- mailboxes, assignment board, objectives, and calendar.

Books, books, and more books.

I moved and rearranged our faith corner and I love it!  It is much more visible and I have room to display featured books for different Saints and seasons.

Our school wide Catholic Assignment Notebooks just happen to match my theme for the year!  (I was a little too excited about this.)

Cute new birthday chart!

And new privilege system chart.  It is laminated and is now labeled with privileges the kids have the opportunity to earn (or lose) throughout the day, like using the laptops, earning Saint cards, etc.

 Year five seemed to be the year a lot of posters fell apart, so I've got some fresh routine reminders up on the wall.

 Cute welcoming door.

The coveted 5th grade lockers with cute little pencil name magnets. :)

Jobs and responsibilities organized.

And St. Maximilian Kolbe watching over us all.

There you have it.  Teachers of all kinds, don't you love classroom tours?  If you have a blog or other social media platform, I'd love for you to share pictures of your school classrooms, CCD rooms, or homeschool spaces.  Feel free to leave your links in the comments below.  I can't wait to see them!


  1. Where on earth did you get the giant St. Maximilian Kolbe??? I love him!

    Thanks - and good luck this school year!


    1. Hi Joyce! St. Max was made by a talented CCD teacher who used to share my classroom. He's made from sturdy foam board, paint, and real clothes! He's the best, but also catches guests off guard- they often catch him out of the corner of their eye and jump! :)

    2. I understand - Pope Francis stands guard outside my office!

  2. I love this! Adorable. Praying for a great year for you!

  3. Where did you get the banner in the first image? (below the pencils)

    1. Hi Erin! I painted it :) It's just bright blue tempera paint on black bulletin board paper. It actually turned out better than I thought it would!

    2. No, *below* the pencils. The saints banner.

    3. Oh sorry- The student work hanging on the clothesline? It is an image of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph I found in an old Catechist Magazine. Unfortunately, it isn't in their archives online, so I can't send you straight to it. Sorry!

    4. Ooh. Super disappointing. :-( Are old editions available to purchase? If so, which edition is it?

    5. Hi Erin! I actually have contacted them before about this, because the series they ran (called Catechist's Keyboard) was super useful and cute. They used to have links to all of those activities on their website, but they are all inactive now. I have contacted them a couple of times asking if there is anyway to still share them, and have received no response :(. If you find anyone with an archive, I think this was from 2010 or 2011, so that would narrow it down for you. Sorry, I wish it was something I could just send to you :)

    6. I think what you are looking for might be found at Catholic Artworks. This is a small Catholic art/teaching aid company run by a single family. Brenda and George, the owners, used to do the artwork and craft ideas for Catechist Magazine. They eventually started their own company and closed the toolbox/keyboard materials. I purchased the entire set of CD's (20 in all with the promise of four more that never materialized) many years ago so I still have all of the clip art and craft activities. Most of the toolbox material has been updated and made into collections for purchase at Catholic Artworks.


    7. Hey Angela! Thanks so much for making that connection! Do you know if the Jesus, Mary, Joseph triptych was on the CDs?
      I actually was familiar with their work, and excited when they started Catholic Artworks, because I loved their style and thought their projects in Catechist magazine were very usable. Unfortunately, I have had a bad sales and customer service experience with them. Basically, I placed an order, never received it, was never reimbursed, and never got an answer as to why despite multiple contacts with them. So, I won't buy from them nor will I send others their way. It's a bummer on all parts, because I really like their materials!

    8. I wonder if they have more business than they can handle. When George and Brenda first started out they seemed to be a bit more on top of things. I, too, have written to them and never received a reply; however, years ago George often replied within a few hours.

      I did look through my CD's but can't find that particular triptych doesn't seem to be on them. There is no complete index for the 10 CD's so I just went from the descriptions. I'm thinking this may be a newer piece of art work, towards the latter part of the Catechist's toolbox/keyboard archive. My CD's date from 2009. I did find it on the Catholic Artworks website...


  4. Great ideas!....I shared it on my Facebook Page "Education in the Eyes of Virtue" Feel free to check it out