Thursday, July 18, 2013

Classroom Updates Day One

In my seven years of teaching, I've had four classrooms. Changing classrooms is a lot like buying a house.  For everything you love, there is always something you hate.  

For me, it's my ugly, ugly green chalkboards.  My room has four huge ones.  This week I packed my bags and spent some times tackling and taming my green monsters.

My grade level and I weighed all our options about the green monsters before school ended and decided to go with contact paper. We considered paint, but that's messy and permanent and I'm the world's worst painter. So I purchased two large rolls of black contact paper from Amazon.  I also spotted various colors of contact paper at my local teacher store. 

The whole process took about six hours today.  I say that because you have to peel the packing of the paper in small little pieces and then smooth it out.  It's very tedious work.  I rewarded myself with a nice bacon cheeseburger and fries for lunch.  

Although the process was not what I would call fun or even enjoyable, it was worth it.  Here is my completed back wall. 

 Please don't judge the mess.  I'm being very vulnerable and real by showing you this pictures. ;) This picture right here is real life in my classroom folks.  

Also, I hate my primary book bins BUT they aren't broken and are still doing a fine job.  Would I like new ones? Of course, I would! BUT I'll replace them next summer.  Mine are from Ikea and I love them, I have had them for six years now and they are handling their daily beatings from ten-year-olds well.  I hear them have them in a funky and fun green that would be perfect for my room, but I am choosing to ignore the section they are in at my local Ikea for now.

I also bought a few rolls of dry erase contact paper so I can write down our homework and some of our learning targets.  Mainly these boards are used to display anchor charts and for my focus walls, so I wasn't really worried or bothered by covering them up.

Isn't my chevron border purdy? :) I got mine at Michaels.  Who would have thought, right?  The border is from Trend and you can find it here on their website. 

Other parts of the room are coming along too.  My husband is off for ten days in August and I'd rather be hanging out with him on our staycation than getting my classroom ready.  So I've gone in a bit lately to unpack, cover my bulletin boards, and to tame those green monsters.

This year I covered my bulletin board and my cursive alphabet bulletin board with wrapping paper.  I really loved the grid lines to cut on and since I don't change them out often, I think it will work out nicely.   I was able to get large rolls of black and hot pink wrapping paper at Hobby Lobby.  

I also unpacked and labeled most of my literature circle books. :)  Since our storage is exposed, I need it to be cute and functional. The green, pink, and blue baskets came from Big Lots this summer.

Everything else on the shelf has a home somewhere else.  I don't use these shelves all that often because of how tall they are and because you can see everything.  However, they are good for things like literature circle books that you don't use all year round but still need quick access to when you do need them. 

Overall, I'm about 70% packed and hope to be open house ready next week so I can savor these last few weeks of summer! 


  1. I am *loving* the contact paper! It looks fantastic!!! I am envious of how much you have done and am really missing our Big Lots that closed last year bc those bins are cuteness :) You definitely earned that cheeseburger!

    3rd Grade Thoughts

  2. LOVE the contact paper idea! GENIUS!!! Looks great!

    I {Heart} Recess

  3. I reallllyyyy want in my room. I have my key, it is clean, and ready for me! BUT I have no car! Ugh! Next week...I keep telling week:)

    Tonya’s Treats for Teachers

  4. Ot looks great! It also looks just like my room. How fun! Next time I head to the little Japanese Dollar store here, I will take pictures. You MUST see all the green, blue and pink. I swear its all they use and teh Japanese are obsessive and so creative about storage containers! (Ummm, by the way, I live in Japan.)
    The Teacher Next Door

  5. Lisa, you won't believe this, but I am going in on Monday to do the same thing! I have a roll of contact paper from Amazon, too! :) Everything looks fantastic. I love the colors ;)

    Fun in Room 4B

  6. The boards look fantastic, but wow that was a lot of work! I am not sure I would have had the patience for such a big job. Thanks for sharing the picture of what your classroom really looks like instead of just the fantastic final product! I have open storage in my room too and sometimes I just wish for cupboards with doors that I could close and cover with cute paper.

  7. I LOVE that you used black contact paper. I used it last year on parts of my walls where I knew I couldn't get paper to work out due to the small space I was papering (I should point out the room I moved into is purple, sky blue, and Ticonderoga pencil YELLOW, with orange and brown cabinets. UGH.). I also used contact paper (green lines) to line the back of my bookshelves to give them visual interest. I'm still hoping (pipe dreaming) the district will actually paint my walls a soft yellow, but I'm resigned to having to repaper and recontact. Oh well...

    I get what you mean about all the work, but it worked out FABULOUSLY. Your students are going to love it, and so are you. You deserve to be someplace lovely.

  8. Love that contact paper! How cool!

  9. What a great idea! The boards turned out great! I love all of the bright colors!

  10. The contact paper boards turned out wonderful!! I can't imagine how tedious that must've been, though!

  11. I love the contact paper! I have one long, green board in the back of my room that could use a makeover. Thank you for the idea!


  12. Your green monsters look awesome and I love your wrapping paper bulletin board! Your room is coming along've been busy! :-)

    Craft of Teaching

  13. In my old building I had black chalkboards which I covered with bulletin board paper---what a job. LOVE the contact paper idea.

    Enjoy your staycation...I start school on the 12 of August, so I've been spending about 2 half days a week getting ready.


  14. WOW-six hours!! You did an awesome job….I'd given up at around 3 -- or at least come back tomorrow to finish!! I love the chevron border--your room is coming together :)
    -Lovely NIna

  15. I think your room looks great! Your big green monsters look awesome! I'm super jealous of all that you have accomplished. I have yet to go into my classroom. I'm in denial that school is just around the corner. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  16. LOVE IT! Black and Hot Pink are 2 of my colors in my classroom too this year! I received primary colored bins from a teacher that was retiring this past year, and since they didn't match my room I just spray painted them! You can check out my blog post on Part 1 of the process! (link is under my name) Part 2 hasn't come yet because it's supposed to be my Monday Made It for tomorrow, however the humidity and temperature has NOT been cooperating this week to finish them...fingers crossed it looks like today may be the day I get to! Just have to check the weather again in about 30 minutes lol

    The Very Busy Resource Teacher

  17. The contact paper looks fantastic! Do you know what you're planning to use the boards for yet? (Is that where the focus wall is going?) I'm guessing you can't still write on them, but I can't wait to see how they turn out!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  18. You did great Lisa! I love your room -- open storage and all, lol. I am using contact paper on my desk this year. I couldn't find any to match my room colors so I chose black parisan (I think that's what it's called).

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