The ABC's of Second Grade! D is for {classroom} Decor!

Welcome back to my little blog series.  Make sure to check out my previous posts: A is for Anchor Charts and Austrailia B is for Birthdays and Bathrooms and C is for Conferences! It's been awhile! Oops! 


One of my absolute favorite parts of being a teacher is getting to decorate my classroom! Back when I was student teaching and a supply teacher, I. Could. Not. Wait to decorate my own classroom! I still {love} it each year (but, my poor bank account does not!). 



When I first started teaching, I thought the way to go was to pick a theme. My first couple years teaching I did a {crayon} theme and every decor item in my classroom had a crayon on it. Then, I tried the {Hollywood} theme. It didn't take me long to figure out that switching out themes got REALLY expensive and I got tired of them really quickly! 

So, after I moved to my current school I decided to get rid of the whole theme thing and stick to colors that make me happy (turquoise, black and white). I recently told a first year teacher that I am mentoring that we spend more time in our classrooms than our own homes during the week, so it's important to make your classroom environment inviting and a place that you actually want to spend your time! I'm not saying go out and spend a ton of money, but I think it's important to decorate your classroom and organize it so that you enjoy being there! 

Here are some of my favorite classroom decor items and some of my favorite places to shop!

The first thing I always do to decorate my classroom is cover my bulletin boards with fabric. This is my third year in my current classroom, and I've had the same fabric up the entire time! It hasn't faded at all! So, in my opinion, it's completely worth the extra cost at the beginning! I decided to go with a bright turquoise fabric since it's my favorite color and blue is a calming color- definitely helps with the classroom environment! I got my fabric at JoAnn's, but you could really get it anywhere!


After the fabric is up, I put up the border and the letters for each each bulletin board! 

Right now, I've just got plain white border, but that is changing next year for sure! 

I'm a little obsessed with this chevron and polka-dot border from Teacher Created Resources! Definitely going to use this next year!!

Another easy way to cover a lot of space on a budget is to use wrapping paper! 

I got the black and white chevron wrapping paper at Hobby Lobby! 

For all the letters in my classroom, I just used plain cardstock and cut them out on my Silhouette Cameo! Super cheap and super easy! 

6" Aquamarine Blue Paper Lantern16" Paper Lantern Black Chevron


Another favorite in my classroom are these diy {READ} letters that I did last summer! I got letters from JoAnn's and used acrylic paint, scrapbook paper, and mod podge! Easy project and love them with my reading center!


Another diy project this summer were these simple frames from Michaels! I just painted them with acrylic paint and use them to share our class rules and other important things around our classroom! 


I try to do as much in my classroom myself as I can, but sometimes I need my mom's help! She made these awesome pillow covers for me AND made the all the curtains to cover all my bookshelves! 



And, of course I created my own items to match my classroom! These are my Chevron {black and white} Classroom Jobs! 


Make sure to check out the other Chevron Classroom Decor items in my TPT store! 















{OREO} Opinion Writing!

Last week we started our Opinion Writing unit and our class focused on {fabulous} facts and {outstanding} opinions!

This week, we moved right into Opinion Writing! I always go over the standard with my students on the Smartboard, and then we connected the opinion writing standard to the OREO writing model using these anchor charts.


We discussed each part of opinion writing and then students glued in a graphic organizer into their writing notebooks.


We also looked at some great online resources- if you teach opinion writing and you've never used these websites, go look NOW!

Spaghetti Book Club has book reviews by Kids for Kids! It's a great way to introduce writing reviews or opinion reading to kids! We read different reviews and discussed if they met our standard and followed the OREO writing model!

I absolutley LOVE KidzVuz! It's a website full of kids' video reviews for all different things! We use this website to make a list of all the different things that we can write reviews on! Then, we go even further and make a more specific list of things we feel strongly about! 


We discussed {Tasty Topic Sentences} and different ways students can introduce their reviews/opinion writing pieces.

Using Spaghetti Book Club, we looked at three different ways to write a topic sentence- a question, a description, and an interesting fact.

Then, I modeled writing my own topic sentences for my topic- the book Enemy Pie by


Students practiced writing their own topic sentences independently.



Make sure to check out this {FREEBIE} in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Next week, we will start planning out our reasons and examples and learning about ways to persuade our audience! 


{fabulous} Facts and {outstanding} Opinions!

After winter break, my fabulous team and I started team planning. For the last seven years, I've been planning everything by myself. Every. Single. Subject. Of course my team has shared and borrowed and given each other ideas, but we were all planning separtely and spending our Sundays on school work instead of with our families. I'm fortunate that I have some absolutely fabulous ladies on my team who have very similar teaching styles to me, so we decided to split up each subject and share the work!

For this grading period, I am planning all of our writing instruction. It is amazing to put all my energy into writing. Our focus this grading period is Opinion writing, so last week we focused on distinguishing between fact and opinion.

We started by creating an anchor chart and sorting words that describe facts and opinions under each definition.





Then, students created their own flipbooks to record the definitions and write the description words under each heading.


The next day, I put different sentences on our Smartboard and students had to tell whether they were facts or opinions (this could also be done as an around the room activitiy). Are you noticing the candy theme!?


Then, they sorted their own sentences. 


They have a much better idea of facts and opinions, and had lots of fun learning about the difference! 


What are your favorite activities to teach fact and opinion? 


Tips for the Future Teacher

Some days it feels like just yesterday I was student teaching in Mrs. Adams' first grade classroom, and other days it feels like forever ago! (Wow, was that really 8 years ago!?)

This year I had the pleasure of having a student teacher in my classroom for the very first time! I was definitely nervous, but also very excited to have someone who is just starting out in their career and full of new and exciting ideas! I still remember that feeling of being so extremely excited to be that much closer to graduating and having my very OWN classroom! So, I wanted to make sure that she had a wonderful experience and was excited and ready to start out in her own classroom!

The past few months flew by, and I truly hope she has learned a lot from spending time in my classroom! I wanted to do something special for her to let her know how much we appreciated her on her last day! I created a Future Teacher Tips book for my students to show her their appreciaiton AND give her some great advice!


There are three different pages that students can complete! A {Teacher Tips} page, a {Thank You!} page and a {Terrific Teacher} page. It's so cute what the kids come up with!



How sweet is this advice from one of my super sweet seconds?

The entire unit is editable, so you are able to enter in your student teacher's name to make the book personal for him/her! 


I {tried} to be creative and came up with this cute little poem to include at the beginning of the book! Like I said, I tried! 


There is also a blank page for you to write your student teacher a letter, if you want! Words of Affirmation is my love language, so I absoutely love writing letters to people! And, after spending so much time with someone in my classroom I had a lot I wanted to tell her! 

I put the book together and then put it into a little basket! I used my Silhouette Cameo to put her name on the basket and then we filled it with school supplies and books that she could use in her classroom! 


Good luck Mrs. Davis and all the other student teachers!!!

Happy Teaching!