Sunday, August 31, 2014

Mission Organization: Putting it all Together

I was so excited to finally meet my awesome 3rd Graders this past week!  Still have a few things I'd like to do with my room now that I've actually had students in it, but I'm happy with how things turned out.  Next week, I'll show you what we've all been up to, but for now, I'll just give a little tour of my classroom!

Originally, I was going to decorate my whole door as the TARDIS from Doctor Who, however, the fire code in our district won't allow that, so I used some "3D" letters and a cute cartoon as a start for my door decor:

My favorite part of the room is the Large Group area with my awesome benches (see last week's post).  The rug is a great buy I found at IKEA for about $20.00!  I'm housing my library in fabric bins inside the benches, so this doubles as my reading center.  

I used 3M hooks, a curtain rod, and drapery clips on the back of my bookcase to use as a holder for my chart paper.  Below the chalk rail, I attached clothes pins to the wall with mounting tape to hold current anchor charts. The red and blue pocket charts will hold papers, task cards, and other items students will need during workstation time.

I'm back to using Every Day Counts this year, so I found the perfect corner for Calendar Time (think I may add a rug here too!).  I also used a Doctor Who theme with the months, weather, and seasons. The corner shelf holds all of the calendar items as well as drawers for pens, pencils, glue, and paper. This will also eventually house my Maker Space where I'll have Legos and other items for the students to use to create during workstations.  Oh, and of course, every room must have a TARDIS on the bookshelf, just for a little more awesomeness!

I'm actually still working on my final desk arrangement, but this is pretty close!  Once the plastic storage drawers go on clearance at Target, I'll add them to the middle of each group to hold notebooks and supplies.  On the back board you can see my Math Workshop rotation board.  I hope to get that started with setting up rotations in the next week or two.  I also have my small group table in the back along with all of my Math Tubs and some of the manipulatives I'll be using at hand.

I'm also very lucky to have a great Computer Station setup, along with an iPad cart that I plan on making great use of once we really get going next week.  I also love my TARDIS a la Van Gogh poster, and the banner I got from Staples on this wall! It says, "Welcome to 3rd Grade Adventures in Math & Science."

I really do want to try and make each day a little bit of an adventure for my students.  We'll work hard, learn a lot,  and have a little fun along the way!  This is always a work-in-progress, so who knows how this could change throughout the year, but I think we're off to a great start!

Until next time, have a FANTASTIC week!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mission Organization: Making a Milk-Crate Bench

Vacations are done, teacher training has begun, and my kiddos come next Monday, so it's time to put my room together (tour coming soon!).

One of my favorite Pinspirations that I've been putting together is the awesome milk crate benches that are going to double as my book nook.  It took a little help from my tool-wielding hubby, but we finally put two of them together.  Here's how we did it!

How to Make a Milk-Crate Bench

For each bench you will need:

  • Three milk crates 9"x 9"x 13" (You can ask for them at the grocery store, or buy from Home Depot, the Container Store, or online)
  • 1/4 inch MDF cut to size (You can use other types of wood, but this is light, durable and less expensive)
  • Three 5/16"x1 1/2" bolts, three 5/16" nuts, and six 5/16" Fender washers
  • Polyfoam (most craft stores will have this)
  • Fabric (I wanted Doctor Who fabric, so I found some on
  • Zip ties (at least 8)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Upholstery stapler and 1/4" staples

1) We  zip-tied the three milk crates together and then took measurements for our MDF.

2) Test the board to make sure it fits.  Then mark where to drill the holes for the bolts.  We did one on each end and one in the middle.

3) Drill the holes with a 5/16" bit and then insert the bolt through the holes over Fender washers to distribute weight.

4) Cut the polyfoam to size, leaving about a 1 to 1 1/2 inch border.  Glue to the top of the board.

5) Cut fabric to size, gather and staple to the underside of the board.

6) Attach board to crates using another washer and 5/16" nut.

7) Cut the zip-ties and you have a completed milk crate bench!

I added cloth drawers for my classroom books and other storage.  They turned out great, and were even tested by one of my colleague's children.  They loved them, and I hope my 3rd graders will too!

My Quality Control Experts - Think these benches passed!

Now to get ready for another day of prep and training.  Once the whole room's together, I can't wait to show it off!

Have a FANTASTIC week!