Sunday, September 2, 2012

Classroom Tour

Well, I thought I'd be the next to post about my classroom and give a tour.  Please note that some of the things posted in my classroom are IB (International Baccalaureate) related and I'm required to post.  I lose some hanging space, however I've grown to really appreciate having these posters hung because it connects me to the rest of the school and what they are talking about in the classrooms.

I love having a very colorful room.  I've always resorted to doing things in a "rainbow" sort of fashion.  Makes it cheery and a fun place for my students to be.  Teachers in my building always compliment my room and it brings me pride and joy in my teaching space.

This is the view my students get when sitting on the risers.  I'm so lucky to have a SmartBoard in my classroom!  It has enhanced my teaching in SO many ways that I will never go "old school" again!

This is the view from the door as you walk in.  I love my colorful risers, but I also wish I didn't have them.  I go back and forth on whether not to keep them because there isn't really a place to store them, which for my principal means lets get rid of them.  Our building is packed to the gills right now and we are maxed out on space.  Luckily we're building an addition to our building starting in the spring!  So, perhaps them I can store the risers and gain more floor space!

Another view of my room.  I'm so lucky to have a lot of storage.  I basically have two walls of cabinets.  BUT, the downside is that I don't have much bulletin board and wall space.

View from the other side.  The door goes to my decently sized storage closet.  However, one section is for the PE teacher because she doesn't have much storage in her area.  

Some of my views from the front.

My supplies storage.  I need to make a sign/label for my clipboards.  The numbered boxes are my crayons and they coordinate with the risers that are also numbered.  The tray on the top that says "I Took Action!" is an IB thing.  I will explain it more in depth with my "Music In Action" wall.

Here are my classroom expectations wall.  And wonderfully they spell Music!  I got this idea from a Music K8 magazine my first year of teaching and I have used them ever since!

I'm proud of this little section.  A few of these things are Pinterest inspired and others are what I've always done, but I have made them new.  

The mailbox is where students "mail" their assignments or turn in their assignments to me when they are done.  They LOVE this thing.  There are kids who will stand next to the mailbox (without any prompt from me!) and make sure each kid turns in their paper just so they get to close it!  Ha!  It can sometimes cause problems, but I view that as a teachable moment about taking turns and sharing that it just makes me love having the mailbox all the more! for some Pinterest ideas.  I came across this idea and instantly LOVED it.  Because I see every student in my building and I don't get around to correcting papers immediately, this will be a huge help!  Before students turn in their assignments, they need to highlight their name to double check that they have done it.  And I'm sure those mailbox monitors will be taking care of this as well!

These next two things I'm also pumped about!  I've seen in a couple places the "Sharp" and "Flat" containers for pencils.  Dual purpose items I just LOVE and it totally makes me a music nerd and I don't care!  Plus I then know when pencils need to be sharpened.  The "Exit Tickets" box is another Pinterest find.  I love doing quick exit tickets at the end of a lesson as a formative assessment.  I have enough for 2 class sets because I see two classes of the same grade level back-to-back (below is what it looks like).  The students fill out the ticket answering a question about the lesson to see if they have fulfilled the objective.  The tickets are printed on colored card stock and laminated so kids can use dry erase markers on them and then I can quickly erase them for the next day.  Saves on paper and they are all set to go!

This is where my students store their recorders.  Each color is a class and the letters separates them into groups.  I have 6 risers and 2 of them equals a group.  Which this year I have hung signs above because I would like to use the groups for other grade level activities. I found these buckets really cheap at Michael's a couple years ago.  Another thing that makes my classroom so colorful!

These two pictures are my IB posters.  The top one are the Key Concepts.  Each unit should have a key concept or two or three connected to it.  They have questions attached to them that helps guide student thinking and discussion.  You can see Perspective and the question is "What are the points of view?"  When doing a listening activity, we talk about different perspectives and student points of view and how that is their opinion on the music.  There are several others--8 total.  The bottom picture are the Attitudes.  Last year our building really focused on Integrity.  We find that this "attitude" is one that will help them become a well-rounded person.  These really are similar your standard "Character Ed." terms that most buildings have, but with many more.  Confidence, Independence, Empathy, Tolerance...etc.  IB believes that these things are what makes a well-rounded individual and they are recognized globally.

Here is where I recognize when my students come up and tell me "I sang that song we learned in music to my sister" or "I went on this music website at home" or "I wrote this song at home!"  IB wants students to apply their learning in their everyday life, not just at school.  So they really like to celebrate and recognize when a student Takes Action at home because of what they had learned.  Earlier I have the "I Took Action" tray where students fill out a quarter sheet form sharing what they did, I then post it here to celebrate it! I know it seems like a huge space, but with 560 students, I need a lot of room!  Last year I was posting around and outside of the border because so many kids shared what they did at home!  How exciting!

Here is my music word wall sections.  These tall white things are our "chillers."  We don't have air conditioning, we have chillers.  Which really work amazingly.  There are little holes that air flows out of and helps regulate the temperature in my room.  They are metal, so I decided to magnetize all my letters I punched out so if I need more space or less space I can easily slide them where I need them.

I saw the "Isle of Rest" on another music teacher's blog and I really like the idea and modified for my use.  Our building is a PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) school, which basically means that we have a school-wide behavior system.  I love it.  Because now when the students come to me, they have consistent expectations!  Hallelujah!  All the classroom teachers are on the same page.  So, we do buddy rooms for behavior and the art teacher and I are buddy rooms.  This is where they need to go for about 1-2 minutes, regroup their thoughts and actions and return to art class.  I will be getting a little sand timer that the students need to use to let them know it is time to go back.  While they are waiting, they need to read through our C.A.R.E. poster to remind them how a Stevenson student is supposed to behave and then it'll be time to return to the art room.

Behind my desk is this lovely bulletin board.  Instead of handing out string for belts, this is what I do.  As students pass their belt, they pin up their little recorder karate guy on the bulletin board.  I use the clip art from Recorder Karate and created my own little guys on colored card stock.  So, when the students are passing their tests, it's a wonderful visual to see how kids are doing.  Plus some get really competitive and helps them get motivated when they see a buddy of theirs in another class move ahead!

I have this chalkboard space that I really didn't know what to do with for a couple years.  I would post some motivational posters, but just wasn't satisfied.  Then I had the idea of using chalkboard markers and writing some music quotes on it.  I wrote this one last year and thought of writing another one, but I just LOVE this saying so much!!!  Plus it looks so pretty!  

This is where I post the "Song of the Week" for my students.  The kids in the other grade levels really like looking to see what their siblings or friends in other grades are doing.  Or just remembering what they did in past years.

I don't do a ton of writing in the primary ages, but in 3rd and 4th grade we end up doing a bunch more.  This is my storage system for their folders.  Some of the bottom ones are saved for 2nd Grade to store some papers when needed as well.

This is an area of when students are done early with an assignment, they can come here and get a word find or music sudoku or other busy work that may be fun and enhances learning, but doesn't go towards a grade. Each drawer is a grade level and there is a drawer for blank paper as well.

I know many music teachers do this, but this is my Mystery Composer section.  I love doing it!  It's a great way of getting music history in.  I do a new one every other month.  And then once kids turn them in, I review who he/she is with the class.  This year the Art and Spanish teacher and myself got a grant for 15 iPads to share!  So, I'm planning on using those as the lesson the students can do for the Mystery Composers, with the aid of Prezi, which there is a viewing app for that!

This is where my Recorder Karate belt songs are stored.  When students have passed a song, they come here to grab the next belt.

I saw something like this on another music teacher blog.  I will write down lesson objectives in "I can.." statements so students can see what they should be able to accomplish by the end of the lesson.

I am attempting to do a Musical Word of the Week!  After the W.O.W. is done, I will then post it on the word wall--which is why it is currently empty.  The first word--Music!  It asks, "What Is Music?"  Yeah...I know...I'm going all deep and philosophical on the first day.  BUT--I am going to be asking students during the first lesson, "What is music?"  And I'm really excited about the responses that they are going to give.  Kids just have wonderful ways of saying the simplest things.  I think I will be blogging about that one!

More IB posters.  These are the Profiles.  These terms go all the way up to the high school level.  Not all the others do.  To be a citizen of this world, IB believes that these are the core traits or profiles that transcend cultures.  Balanced, Caring, Risk-Taker, Knowledgeable, Thinker, etc...

This is where I keep track of classroom points.  Each class starts with 100, and it is up to them to keep them.  When I take away a point value, that means they have lost those points.  The list of points do not add up to 100, it's to give me options with how many to take away depending on the severity of the actions.  At the end of the Trimester, if they have reached their goal of points, they will get free choice time or center time.

My signs for my riser groups.

This is my little Treble Clef chimes (a gift from a student) that I am using to be a mark where the line leaders are supposed to use as the front of the line.  I always am asking kids to move back so I can get to the door and this seemed like the perfect solution.  I like to be the one who opens it so I can greet the teacher and let them know how the day went.  If I don't, sometimes the teachers will just take their class and I won't get to share anything with them. Even the fun great stuff that the kids are excited to share with them!  SO--I saw this again on another blog and I stole the idea!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the tour of my classroom!  I love my teaching space and perhaps something here can inspire you to try something like so many others have inspired me!


  1. I love your Music in Action display space! I think I'm going to try and incorporate it starting this year. Maybe in March, we do a huge MIOSM celebration and that may be a great time to start it up! :)

  2. Thank you! I love it too! Kids always come up to us saying stuff like "I taught that song to my family" or "I wore this shirt because we had music today" or "I looked up that video on YouTube that you showed us and shared it with my family." I also put up pictures that kids draw for me on their own time that is music related. I think I will post an update on what it looks like. Glad to inspire you to celebrate your kids in a new way!

  3. Hi! I found your site on pinterest, and I just wanted to share this story (because it's a small world). I am a music teacher in Woodbury, and as I was looking at your pictures I noticed that you work with a fourth grade teacher named LaFleur. It's funny, because I am pretty sure that I teach her daughter.

    I love how you have your room laid out, there were a couple of really great ideas (like exit tickets and music in action) that I will probably steal. I also really like your version of the "music" rules. I have "music" rules too, but they are different. I think I might like yours better!

  4. Can you explain to me a bit more about your point system? I am looking for a new idea to use with my multiple classes this year and this looks simple yet effective.

    1. Sorry for the extremely late reply, but I actually have ditched the point system because they kids didn't always seem to know where they were at and it wasn't as effective as I wanted it to be. I went to doing a clip chart thing and it seems to have an immediate affect on the kiddos right now.

      Point System: Each class started with 100 points, then I would take away points when I wasn't satisfied with the choices the class made. But they could earn them back. When they reached 2,000 points, then they got a free centers day.

      Clip Chart: Each Grade Level has their own keyboard with each class getting their own clip. If they had a good day, then moved over one key, if they had an OK day, then it would stay the same, but a rough day would move backwards. When they get to the end, they get the free centers day and the clips start back at the beginning for another round.

      Let me know if you have any other questions and I'll do my best to be more prompt in my reply.

  5. Your room is fabulous! I'm in the midst of clearing and cleaning my room. There are things I have not used in so long. Your room has inspired me to move forward and get my room done. I have a couple of weeks left and I'm very excited. Thank you!

  6. I love your room! What great ideas and useful ways to utilize space! I'm so stealing the "Music in Action" board - love love love!

  7. Your classroom looks like lots of fun. Can I be one of your students? :-) I promise to sing in tune!

  8. Fun and fabulous room! I love the blackboard!

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  10. Hi there! Any chance you know where those risers are from? I've gotten a grant to purchase things for my room and I'd love some risers (to use for concerts as well!) and I like that your risers don't have spaces for the kids to trip/climb through. Thanks!

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  13. Love this! I've been teaching music "a la carte" for years and just took a job at a new school where I finally have my vert own classroom!! My question is, how often do you see the kids? Weekly? Twice weekly? Thanks!