A Room in Review - What Worked? What Flopped?

I've only been out for almost a month, but being a typical teacher I am already thinking of next year, and next year's decor!

I loved some of the things I had in my room, and by the end of the year, detested some others. I guess there is no happy medium when it comes to my feelings about my classroom!! Except for my color scheme, I loved the brights with blacks so that is staying.

classroom lamp and labels

My zebra lamps, they fell over a lot - almost everyday. When they fall over, they don't just fall over - the light flashes (scaring the children and myself) and burns out. Needless to say I went through a lot of light bulbs. Velcro didn't help since the felt and cardboard base detached from the lamp.

They only cost five dollars, so I wasn't expecting a miracle, I did however hope they would stand. Thus I must either find away to attach the base securely, or buy a better base to put the lovely lampshades on.

Update for 2021:
table lamp for classroom

I love these lamps! They never fall over, they come in a lot of beautiful colors and they have lasted for 4 years now. I have them in blues and pinks!

My Kindergarten Classroom
You can see one of them on the shelf by my whiteboard in this photo.

Headphone storage in computer lab
Baskets for headphone storage, definitely a flop! They worked well for storing papers and supplies, but they were a flop for headphones. I put two headphones in each tray every morning, but the next day I would come into six pairs in one tray with two empty baskets down below.

Not to mention cords trailing everywhere. I think the after school kids needed a tutorial on headphone storage! I am definitely going to be scouring the blogs and Pinterest for headphone storage ideas.

Update for 2021: 

Headphone storage is still a struggle! I have tried a lot of ways, but I tend to just put them in gallon bags and then store them in a bin!

Built in dry erase boards on table
Zebra duct tape fits into both categories: it is a flop table-wise, but it worked great as a border. It held the contact paper up all year on my bulletin boards and was easy to remove.

The tables were another story. I had to use every ounce of strength to rip it off at the end of the year, and oh! How my poor nails suffered! I wonder if it is because my students leaned on it everyday, maybe it got too warm and adhered a bit too tightly. I will definitely be looking for something that is easier to remove next year!!

genre signs
Pre-Primer Word Wall and white board tables

Contact paper worked great on the bulletin boards with the word wall and tables. It stayed up all year especially with the zebra duct tape framing the edges. I will definitely use this again, it was way less frustrating to hang than bulletin board paper! (I have a tendency to wrinkle that paper immensely!)

The tables were a bit picked in places at the end of the year, but the overall effect was nice and they were a lot easier to keep clean.

DIY Whiteboard with dry erase sheets

The dry erase paper made an awesome whiteboard, however I put it up when it was ridiculously humid out, so it came out all bumpy and crooked. The overlapping edges didn't adhere right so it was lifting by the end of the year. I never had this problem in the past, I think I need to choose a better day weather wise next year when I set up!

If you want to learn how to contact paper tables and boards, check out this post!

Whiteboard tables

The dry erase tables were such a time-saver. It cut down on students wandering around the room looking for supplies and talking to each other on the way.

classroom storage

I placed one of these tissue boxes on each table each day (they are filled with dry erase markers, crayons, felt and Magic Erasers.) If anyone wanted to take notes or write about their stories they just needed to grab a writing tool without moving an inch!

Reading Plus Skills

These pockets worked, but I think I will put laminated sheets in next year instead. I hate wasting paper, and waiting in line at the copy machine.

I loved having a central zone for students to pick up work and they really liked it too. They knew where to get a new activity once they had finished their stories without interrupting the mini-lessons, or other students, to find out.

I loved my bathroom passes - except when the humidity made them peel apart!! I am going to print them back to back this summer, rather than on separate pieces. Hopefully they will last all year that way!!

Overall I would say most things worked out really well. Now I am off to find a better table border, let me know if you have any ideas in the comments below!!

If you want to see my classroom for the most recent years, check out this post!

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  1. I really like how you listed what worked and what didn't! I might have to reflect back on my own room and think what worked! Thanks for idea!
    Rambling About Reading

    1. You're welcome Jess! I had fun doing it actually, it made me really think about everything and what should stay. Thanks for visiting!

  2. I love knowing what worked and didn't work. :) Fab post, should be a linky!

    1. Thanks, I wasn't sure if it would be interesting enough to anyone else!