2014 Classroom Reveal and First Read Alouds

I'm beyond excited to share my 2014-15 classroom with you!  I've minimized the zebra print (yes gasp!) this year and I've added other black and white patterns as well as lime green to accent.  The results make me truly happy.  I can spend 8 hours a day in this space for sure now, probably even more.  We all know, a teacher's work is never done!  

#1  Front of Room -

This is our daily meeting space. It also contains our white board and easel for recording lesson notes and our Smart Board. The Learning Carpets CPR467 - Solid Green Rectangle carpet I purchased for a great deal from Amazon and shipping was FREE since I'm a Prime member. Woo hoo!  The black pillows and green ottoman bean bags are from Big Lots.  Great deals on all.

This is the other side of the Smart Board. We are required to post our daily learning targets. This area also holds part of our library and our read around the room, mystery walker, and classroom job charts.  All of these sets will be available in my TPT store soon!  

The learning targets area is pretty self-explanatory. This is where each morning I write (in "I can kid friendly language") what the students will learn in each of three subjects I teach. We talk about the day's learning targets during our morning meeting and we discuss how they'll know if they achieve each target.  

Mystery Walker motivates students to move quietly in the hallway.  I have Natural Jumbo Wood Craft Sticks  in the first drawer of the green 3 drawer unit you can see above.  One drawer has the Mystery Walker sticks. They are marked with student names and an MW so they don't get mixed up with the other sticks.  I pull two sticks each time we leave the room and those are the Mystery Walkers.  I secretly watch those two students as we walk to and from a location and if they were following our hallway expectations, they earn a prize when we return to the classroom.  I change the small prizes up - in the past I've used jolly ranchers, starbursts, pencil top erasers, grippers, pencils, bookmarks, classroom money, etc.  If the Mystery Walkers do not follow hallway expectations, when we return to the classroom I simply put that stick back into the drawer. I do not announce who it was, that way any student who may have talked will wonder if it was them. 

The Read Around the Room chart shows which students can read in our special classroom spaces for the day.  This year we have the four green bean bag ottomans, a large black pillow, a stool, a table area, the carpet, and a rocking chair.  Again I have Natural Jumbo Wood Craft Sticks  marked with student names and an RR so they don't get mixed up with the Mystery Walker sticks.  These sticks are kept in the second drawer.  I pull sticks each morning for these special spaces.  The next morning I take out the sticks and put them into a rubber banded group until all students have made it onto the chart once. Then all the sticks return to the drawer and the process repeats! 

Lastly, in the third drawer of the green drawer unit are Natural Jumbo Wood Craft Sticks  marked with student names and a J. These sticks are placed into the jobs pockets to show which students have which classroom jobs.  Students apply for jobs in our classroom.  I have an application (remind me to post that in a later post) that students must complete and I chose the best applicants for each job.  Jobs change monthly.  I've found students do much better with their classroom jobs when they have ownership over the jobs they choose.  All students who want a job are able to secure a few jobs each year.  Also, switching them monthly allows students time to get really good at the job and then to be able to train the new employee. 

#2 - Classroom Library -

If you follow me on Instagram you've seen a few sneak peeks of our classroom library. It's my favorite space in the room.  I've combined it this year with our meeting space and my small group space.  Last year these were three separate spaces, but when you have a small classroom, you do what you can to maximize room to move.

Here's a few close ups of how I organize our books (by genre on the first three shelves, by author on the fourth shelf and buddy books are in the last shelf. On top in the green baskets are "Mrs. O'Bryan's Favorites" these are the books I read for my 40 Book Challenge and recommend to the class.  The second green basket is "Books We Recommend." These are the books students recommend to the class on their blogs and during status of the class. 


The classroom library labels can be found in my TPT store.  Here's also a sneak peek of the first books we will read aloud.  Our chapter book for September is the The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School.  In October we will join in the Global Read Aloud with One for the Murphys.

During the first week, these are the picture books I will read aloud to set the tone for our classroom community - 

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners

The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up For Others

The Energy Bus for Kids: A Story about Staying Positive and Overcoming Challenges

#3 Student Desks -

I have 32 fifth graders this year and currently I have the desks arranged into three groups. One group of 12, one group of 10 and one group of 8.  I arrange the desks this way to conserve space.  Also, I place students into partnerships and seat them directly across from their reading partner and next to their math partner.  This way students can turn and talk easily when instructed.  

You can also see our Critical Verbs of the Common Core word wall in this shot. I've posted these already to help me remember to use this language of instruction constantly and so I can point out and refer to the words when they are used and found in our daily work and discussions.  Each card contains a verb from the Common Core and the example/definition.  

Here's a close up.  They are so stinkin' cute I'm beside myself!  :)

#4 Back and Sides of Room -

In the back of the room I've created a space that shares many things - our nonfiction library, listening center, student computer, math manipulatives and student supplies. 

You can get the black & white chevron supply labels in my TPT store also.  The classroom meme rules on the cupboard door are from the fabulous Tracee Orman.  And the self-assessment posters on the file cabinet are from the amazing Kristine Nannini.  

On these bulletin boards we will add the Common Core ELA & Math vocabulary cards we master during each unit.  I love seeing these boards grow throughout the year!  

This is just a quick view of the one window in the room (I get so jealous of all of you who have walls of classroom windows - but hey you can't have it all, right!?!).  The zebra drawers are where I keep copies for the four classes I teach - two sections of math, one section of reading and writing.  I also store task cards and centers in these drawers too.  Don't mind the boxes in the corner that still needing unpacking.  I'm just realizing that I never got to those.  LOL

#5 My Desk Area - 

Lastly, here is a photo of my desk area.  Posted on the bulletin board is our monthly calendar, September birthday reminders that I found on Fifth Grade Freebies, and our daily schedule. Don't you just love the black and white curtains covering my shelf where I store text books and around my desk??  Hopefully I'll post a Monday Made It soon to describe how I used only a hot glue gun, yes I said only a hot glue gun, to make all of the curtains in my classroom. 

Here's a closer shot of our calendar.  I got the idea to display a desk calendar from my team mate Stephanie Rye of Forever in Fifth Grade.  I stayed up way too late Thursday night making the month header, all because Nikki from Melonheadz Illustrating posted these adorable monthly kidlettes and I just had to find a way to use them.  Darn her!  LOL.  Anyway, you can find these monthly headers in my bright chevron calendar set on TPT.

Well that's it!  I hope you enjoyed the tour!  I know I learn so much from touring all of my colleagues rooms throughout the year and I love looking at all of your classroom reveals too.  Back to school is truly my favorite and the most inspiring time of the year!!


P.S.  I'm leaving you with the view from our hallway.  This is our classroom window display. It's not my favorite display I've ever created, but I was tired and running out of ideas.  So I plugged all of my students names into Wordle to create the poster in the middle and found these FREE black and white inspirational quotes on TPT and voila.  The hanging puffs were $1.50 at the Dollar Store! 


  1. I love the mystery walker. I'm going to start that next week!

    Oodles of Teaching Fun

  2. Beautiful! Your room looks ready to go!

    1. Thank you! Now if only the first day nerves would go away! :)

  3. What do you use on your bulletin boards for background? It is fabric? Your room looks amazing!!!

  4. Hi Lisa, yes it's just plain black fabric from JoAnn Fabrics. It lasts several years before you have to replace it. :)


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