Happy summer everyone! I hope you are all finding your summer to be just as relaxing and refreshing as I am. Some of you may not want to even think about getting back into that school building yet as summer just seems to be flying by. End of July is always when I start to feel that back to school itch coming on. I love the feeling of starting fresh in my classroom with new students, new lesson ideas and new classroom decor. This year I am moving to a new district where they are currently building a brand new elementary school! This is so exciting but because of this nobody has even seen the new building. I have no idea what type of classroom shell I will be working with this year though I know I will be in for a treat with one of the most up to date buildings in our area. What I do know: we have some seriously neat technology going in, we have some new curriculum changes beginning, and I have a highly supportive team to get to know and reach out to for help. I am so excited to start my new journey this school year in a new district, brand new building, and new position in second grade. With all this said I am hoping to get a jump start on all this neat little projects you see all year but just never have time or energy to get done! Here is a list of 5 projects I know I can complete even before seeing my room or my class list. I have also included shareable links to some of the cricut design space projects I created to use with these classroom DIY’s.
Labeled crayon boxes
These crayon boxes are something I used in my classroom last year and loved! It was so convenient to have students grab a small box of crayons to take with them to small group centers, another classroom, or the computer lab for testing. Whenever we had testing to complete I came armed with new and exciting coloring sheets or puzzles and students new to bring their crayon box along. My testing day quick tip: DON’T require reading after testing. While this is something my students are in the routine of picking when finishing early in my classroom I do not believe its best practice after standardized testing. They should be getting time to REST their eyes and RECHARGE their brains. There is ample research showing the calming nature of coloring to students and even adults. So pack some coloring sheets and maybe a couple extra for yourself and have your students grab their own personalized crayon box. I love the portability of these but the size allows for only crayons to come along eliminating all the other nonsense that can tag along in a regular sized school box or pencil pouch, not to mention elimination of the sound of 25 school box rattles on the trip to the computer lab. Here are some photos of some from last year, I will have to continue to make higher numbered cases as I am moving from a SPED class of 10 to a full sized gen ed room. I am thinking of buying different colors and using them as a method to creating colored groups in my room. What do you think?
If you own a Cricut feel free to use my link for the project which I have created! You could even spend your summer cutting them and wait to apply until the school year begins if you are thinking of using different colors as a way to group students. You must be sure to mirror the image before cutting. This allows you to place the image on the inside of the box, eliminating drastically decreasing (because you always have at least one) the urge for your students to pick off the sticker. Here are some choices for purchasing the actual boxes.
So last school year I inherited an old wooden easel from another teacher. It was missing some screws and was just plain flat wood. No shelving in between, no place to put your tools, no clips to hang posters from. It really wasn't that great for doing anything with. Until now I was using heavy duty metal clips to hang anchor charts on it. I have upgraded it to allow for a chalkboard writing surface, clipping items to, and holding writing materials. I plan to use one side as a method for taking attendance, lunch count and hall passes. Even if you don't have an easel laying around like I did take a look at things you may have at home or in your classroom. Is there anything that doesn't really get used? Or isn't being used to it full potential? With a little chalkboard paint or hooks, clips and cups you can have something much more functional. I plan to allow my students to use the chalkboard part at times like indoor recess for free time.
You Will Need… white-board display
This idea came from an Instagram photo I saw a while back and I cannot remember where or who posted it so please let me know if you’ve seen something similar so I can give credit where credit is due! I love the idea of being able to quickly post what items students will need to bring and even where they may need to go. I have created another Cricut project with the vinyl lettering and the photo images of items I would like to be able to post. Once I get into my classroom I will decide where to place this but ideally it would be on the white board. I will update as soon as I have a live photo in my brand new classroom! For now here is a snapshot of the project in design space. The letters are set to be cut out of vinyl, the photos are set to be printed, then inserted into your Cricut machine to do the cutting for you. Click the photo to get to the actual project and feel free to edit as needed to fit the needs of your own classroom.
Bitmoji Growth Mindset Posters
I have really gotten into the Bitmoji theme when creating classroom decor this summer. Last year a created Bitmoji stickers to use and my students loved trying to collect all the different stickers. You can see that blog post HERE. This year I plan to post growth mindset posters which I have created using my Bitmoji. I love the idea of using your own face as method of reminding and encouraging students to retrain their brain. For some direction on how to begin using Bitmojis to create classroom decor or whatever else you may come up with check out the post 5 Easy Steps to Bring Bitmoji’s to the Classroom.
Personalized Growth Mindset Posters
I can’t wait to get these into my classroom. I am hoping I will have some space to post theses on cabinet doors. I am sure the perfect spot will hit me as soon as I get into my room!
Bitmoji Voice Levels Chart
Lastly, to go along with my new love of Bitmoji decor, I have also created these voice level charts. I plan to punch holes in these and connect them with ribbon creating one connected chart while still allowing room for a clothespin to be clipped on the expected level. I am waiting to do so until I get into my classroom and decide whether I want it to be oriented vertically or horizontally. I will upload photos when I get into my room! I think these are so much more relatable than many of the pre-made charts out there. You can edit the wording to exactly what works in your classroom. One idea I had was to change my wording to the language used in the story Decibella. This is a great beginning of the year story to address loud voices and could it then be easily connected to your voice levels chart all year. I will be posting this chart front in center when I get into my room so my students can always clearly see the expectation. Last year I used a different voice chart without photos and due to the set up/ size of my room I had to post it in the back of the classroom. This was not ideal as I struggled to remember to move the clip, and it was not in the students' line of sight serving as a constant reminder. This will be a priority for the front of my classroom this year! I printed and mounted each image to an 8x8 square of scrapbook paper. I plan to laminate after punching the holes for my ribbon in the correct spots for a long lasting project with a huge impact on my daily classroom routine.
Personalized voice levels
Simply copy and paste your own Bitmoji into a document and feel free to use my wording or change it up to fit your needs
And there you have it, 5 things you can do today to create a space you and your students love this school year. It can be hard to complete projects before getting into your new room, meeting the new team, or having your class list. Even if you have to put off the finishing touches as I have done in a few of my projects here at least you’ve got that neat project in the works rather than saved to an endless Pinterest board full of picture perfect classrooms. I love my Pinterest boards but I wonder how many pins I have saved with a true intent of coming back to that are now lost for good. Id love to photos of the projects you create from these ideas and post any additional summer DIY’s you’ve worked on in the comments below.