Katie’s Classroom: A Bright and Colorful Classroom

I have been waiting to write this post since I first decided to become a teacher. It’s my CLASSROOM REVEAL!

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

It’s a huge post, so I’ve put it below the cut. Click the link to see my classroom!


Before we get to what it looks like now, here’s what it looked like when I first got into my room. Nice and big, with a whole wall of windows.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

I have so many desks. 32. Which is insane, but my classes are going to have lots of students. None of them should have 32 (at least I hope not!), but I’m holding onto the desks just in case.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

My school is really old. And has a lot of built up dirt. I didn’t even realize until my mum insisted on cleaning my room. To illustrate, below is a picture of the bottom of my door. The right side is where my mum scrubbed. The left has not been scrubbed. The bits on the floor are pieces of gunk my mum had to chip off the door. Ew.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

Random furniture had been put in my room. Other than the student desks, the furniture was pretty beat up. I had most of it taken out of the room.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

And here’s what it looks like now!

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

On my pinterest I have a whole board dedicated to classroom and teacher resources. I spent hours looking through classroom reveals and decor ideas to see what I liked and didn’t like.

I knew I wanted consistency throughout the room. Too many of the classrooms I looked at had multiple styles in the same space. This ended up making the rooms look cluttered and busy. I also noticed that lots of color schemes involved black or other dark colors. To me, dark color palettes made the rooms look …heavy somehow. When students came into my room, I wanted to it feel cheerful and airy.

To achieve consistency in my design, I decided on a white and rainbow color scheme. I was heavily inspired by  School Girl Style’s Confetti Crush collection.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

One of the first things I did was paint the borders on the bulletin boards white. They were initially this terrible grey green color.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

A little white paint made a HUGE difference in this space.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

This bulletin board is right next to the door and I’ve put a few posters up. I made all the posters in the room myself. This allowed me to use the same colors and fonts everywhere. This board also has a calendar I got from the dollar section at Target.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat
Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat
Also on this wall are two huge white boards. I’ve turned one into a place to write the date and agenda for the day. The other I’ve left blank to use as a word wall.Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

Above the two boards I put motivational posters with art from here. I’m not a huge fan of traditional motivational posters, but then I stumbled across PositiveDoodles on tumblr. The artist said she is fine with people using them for non-commercial reasons, so I turned them into posters. They’re colorful. They’re cute. But they’re not overbearing.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

If you continue down this wall, you reach my corner!

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

But back to that in a minute. First I want to talk about my favorite spot in the room: The Book Nook!

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

I’ve been buying books at thrift stores for the past year to put into my classroom library. This is an ELA classroom so I wanted to make sure that books front and center. There were two bookshelves already in the room, and then I bought the two tall ones. They were only $10 a piece, which was a crazy bargain. I painted them white, and my dad built additional shelves for me to add to them for more book storage.

Even with this extra storage, I still have books that haven’t been sorted and put out.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

I’m lucky that my classroom is large enough for a dedicated reading corner. It was important to me to make this a really cozy space that students would want to spend time reading in.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

My mum made these amazing pillows for the Book Nook. They’re made from an outdoor vinyl fabric for easy cleaning, and each have a different quote about reading on them.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

I also pulled in an old couch I had from college (that luckily went with the color scheme!). Initially I was resistant to putting in a chair because I was worried the students would fight over it. However, the sofa anchors the space really well, and I can always take it out if there are serious problems.

I’ve also provided bookmarks I cut from paint chips, and some fake succulents that were on sale at Michael’s. Above them are posters explaining the system I used to label my books by genre, and one explaining how to check out a book. On the wall between my desk and the Book Nook I have a small white board where I’ll write what book I’m currently reading.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat
Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat
In these tubs I pulled some high interest books – most of my DK books are in these because they have beautiful pictures. I’m going to have readers of many different ability levels, so I wanted to display some easier books to highlight the range of the Book Nook.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

The rug is the single most expensive piece in the room, and was a super generous donation from my parents. It’s an outdoor rug so it’ll hold up to dirt well, but is still soft and comfortable to sit on. I anticipate doing a lot of read alouds, and I picture my students sitting on the carpet while I read to them from the sofa.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

There are two additional shelves – the one in the Book Nook has themed books on it. On the other side of the air conditioning unit is a shelf with books the students can take home. THAT’S RIGHT THEY CAN TAKE THESE AND KEEP THEM. This is possible thanks to an amazing program in our area that gives free books to teachers working in high poverty schools. I have many more boxes of books in my cabinet and behind my desk.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

I love my windows. They make the room so bright. The view isn’t super great, because they mostly overlook the roof of the library, but you can see a little of the courtyard as well. Across the windows is a pennant banner for extra color. Above the windows were these weird square indents in the wall. My mum had the idea to create squares out of foam core board and cover them with paper. This let us decorate them the way I wanted and then just stick them up into the squares with command strips. I’ll also be able to reuse them next year!

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

On these colored squares I put posters I made. Each color square has posters on a different theme (figurative language, capitalization rules, genre, etc.). I wanted the decorations in the classroom to serve a purpose. These posters will act as reference points for my students. And if they are focusing on these instead of the lesson then at least they’ll be learning.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

On the center pillar I put up our class expectations for easy reminders. Tangent – my mum and I got a laminator on sale at Target and it is our new favorite thing. We laminated all the posters in my room and they look so professional and durable now. I’m in love. I want to laminate everything all the time.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

Next to our expectations is a table with our binder bins. Each student will have a binder, and those binders will stay in the room so that they can never forget to bring them.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

In the corner are all my student supplies. They all live on a $15 dollar shelf from Walmart. I went back to get another but they were sold out in the store and online. I guess everyone else saw what a great deal they were too!

Our school doesn’t really have a budget for us to buy supplies, so I shopped the discount items at Walmart to get markers, colored pencils, etc. All these supplies went into labeled containers I got at Party City.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

I know these containers will never look as tidy as they do now. But right now they’re pretty and make my organizational heart happy.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

Next to the supplies is a set of drawers from Michael’s where students will turn in and find everything.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

Each period has a turn in drawer, and a drawer where I’ll put their graded work before I pass it back. There’s a drawer for extra copies, and one where I’ll put absent work. Like with the supplies, everything has a home. On top is a framed poster that asks students to think about if they’re proud of the work they’re about to put in and reminds them to put their name on it.

I didn’t get a better photo, but above the supplies station is a mirror. In one of my teacher classes the textbook talked about how middle schoolers are really hyper conscious of their appearance (which rings true to my middle school experience), and so having a mirror in the room gives them an easy way to check if their hair looks weird, etc. without having to leave to go the bathroom or be distracted the entire class.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

Up top is a hole punch, staplers, tape, pencil sharpener, and pencils. Inside this container are golf pencils. This is an idea I borrowed from a teacher friend. You can get 150 for about $8, and my friend says the students don’t like them so she’s seen an uptick in students remembering to bring their own pencils. We shall see if it works.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

The table next to the supply center has clipboards, paper, and the all important hand sanitizer. This is also where I’ll put handouts for the day.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

The front board has my projector, and I added a Rapunzel inspired quote above it. My clock hangs above it on the other side. I got it for a dollar at a thrift store and spray painted it yellow.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

The bulletin board to the side is where I’ll put up student photos. Each frame will have a class photo and then I’ll rotate photos below of students doing work. The small cart under the board I got for free back in college. Now it will be an excellent place to put my laptop when I want to use the projector.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat
Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat
The desks are in clusters right now so the students can do group work. Each desk has a colored dot on it. The numbers indicate the group number, and the colors give me the option to easily call one person from a group to grab supplies, etc.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

Back to my corner. My desk front was gross so I covered it with white paper and hung a pennant banner from it. One bulletin board behind my desk features my favorite quote: “Have courage and be kind” from the 2015 Cinderella movie. The other is for “Wow Work” from the students.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

I’ve wedged my file cabinet up against the bulletin board, and got two 6 hole white cubbies from Walmart that I stacked on top of each other.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

I’ve got some photos of me and my family on top of my file cabinet, and then have most of my supplies tucked into these cloth bins. I wanted to keep my desk clear of clutter so I could focus, but also so students weren’t tempted to use my supplies instead of those in the student supply center.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

I couldn’t resist having a little decor on my desk, so I have my book mug and a little sign that says “Boss Lady”. I found it at Michael’s and thought it was hilarious. It’s still hilarious.

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

There you have it – my classroom! It wasn’t exactly cheap or easy, but every time I walk into my classroom I absolutely love it. I’m going to be spending the majority of my time in here so it’s worth it to me to make it a place that I want to be.

My classroom is all ready to go for our first day of school! Now if only I could also get my computer log on and teacher email…

Colorful Bright Classroom KatieandCat

Thanks for reading!

Katie and Cat

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One thought on “Katie’s Classroom: A Bright and Colorful Classroom

  1. Love it! I’m sure your students will appreciate all the work you put into your classroom and will feel comfortable there. It’s obvious that you care a lot about their experience in your classroom!

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