Monday, May 27, 2013

Clutter-Free Classroom World Headquarters {A Garage Makeover} Post 1

I feel like I've been Missing in Action lately. I've been knee-deep juggling the following (all of which I'll elaborate on in the coming weeks)...

  • preparing for Open House at School
  • finishing up some major Common Core Math projects (so excited about these)
  • getting my ducks in a row for another awesome summer of helping teachers get organized and prepare for the upcoming school year


  • getting the ball rolling on creating the Official . . .

At least that is what my hubby has dubbed the latest home improvement project. I'm actually super excited about it and looking forward to sharing the process with you all as it comes together.

Our house was built in the 60s. It is a Cape Cod-style house with a garage underneath. The garage was designed for a 1960s car.

Translation: Not enough clearance for SUVs. 

Which means we had no use for it as a garage.

But, it's a decent-sized space with some natural light. It's cool in the summer and heated in the winter. We used it mainly as storage. 

Until now.

We're transforming the space into an area dedicated to all of the different aspects of my little hobby turned business. We're creating an "office area" for blogging, bookkeeping, filing, etc. There will be a "studio space" for all of the crafty-type projects that go with being a teacher...or at least a teacher obsessed with cricuting, spraypainting, modge-podging, etc all things classroom-related. 

The part I'm most giddy about though is "The Learning Lab!" One of my dreams has been to develop an After-School / Summer Enrichment program that will provide an opportunity for kids to explore math and science topics and creative projects that we struggle to fit in during the normal school hours. Therefore the biggest section of the space will be designed with that in mind...a mini-classroom right in my own home. My elementary-aged self would be so jealous since I spent the better part of childhood "playing school" in my playroom and shed.

We've been busy designing the space and picking out all kinds of things to go into it. Yesterday we spent FOUR HOURS wandering Ikea and decided on the following items from there:

I know. It's A LOT of white, right?

While there is a small window in the back and a strip of small windows in the front that let in natural light, it is still a fairly dark space overall. The white furniture and shelving seemed like a perfect choice to brighten the space and allow for the addition of lots of color in other ways.

Like paint.

Below are the colors we picked out.

They are bold. And colorful. And fun. 

And since they have become Clutter-Free Classroom's "signature colors" they seemed to be the perfect choice.

I'll also be adding in lots of color through bulletin boards and framed, kid-made projects and artwork.

Did I mention that I am so excited about this!!! Hubby will be home the next few days priming and painting the space and we plan to order and assemble all of the furniture and shelving next week.

In the meantime I'll be back to getting ready for open house, putting the finishing touches on the Common Core materials, projecting, photographing, and getting ready to kick off another summer of daily blogging on June 1st! (I'm hoping to be around online between now and then, but time will tell).

Happy Memorial Day to all and a special thanks to the men and women who have served our country.

If you are still in school and looking to do something Patriotic or with a focus on Veterans this week, I have two freebies available that may be useful. Click on either image to access and download them.

Follow my Teacher Store so you don't miss
Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

Check out CFC's Helpful Series for Teachers: 

Monday, May 13, 2013

FREE Guide to End the School Year Stress-Free

 Have you started your countdown?

Be honest...did you start it in January?

Despite the fact that I still have SEVEN weeks left, I am aware that many of you are getting close to single-digits. I think we all are thinking about wrapping up this year and thinking about how we will get organized and set up our rooms for next year I thought this would be a great time to highlight a FREE resource I put together to last year to help you end the year on a positive note and be ready to trade in your teacher shoes for flip flops as soon as the final school bell rings.
{Click to access and download this free resource}

Please feel free to pin, share, and email it to anyone you think would benefit from it. 

How many days do you have left?

keywords: elementary school teacher classroom organization management end of year tips resources printables ideas get ready for summer first year teachers to do list 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th kindergarten preschool pictures lists

Follow my Teacher Store so you don't miss
Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

Check out CFC's Helpful Series for Teachers: 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Classroom Themes on a Budget: Tips & Ideas

It's that time of year. I'm getting excited for summer. I'm getting nostalgic about the current year. And my mind is spinning with how I will set up and decorate my classroom for the new school year. I kind of love a classroom theme. For years I painstakingly changed it up every. single. year. 

I started with a beach theme
It made me happy. 
Especially in the winter. 

After that I did camping, western, jungle/safari, detective/mystery and Hollywood themes. I was the first to create classroom theme packets on Teachers Pay Teachers and have blogged about a wide variety of featured themes for several years now. 

{Be sure to check out my classroom themes page for ideas and photos for just about every theme you can think of.}

While I often get the itch to do another theme (I know my 3rd graders would love a sports or rock and roll theme), I am loving being more focused on color schemes and patterns in the classroom. My current classroom uses the printables from the Blackline Design Bundle printed onto bright cardstock.

However, since I'm still a bit of a theme addict, I like to live vicariously through others. I know a lot of people are hesitant to take on a theme because of the cost. Admittedly, it can be a very expensive process. BUT, it absolutely doesn't need to be.

While I was at Dollar Tree yesterday I came across so many things that could be used to turn a classroom into a themed environment. I wanted to post a few today to give you some ideas.

Pick a theme that is easy to gather "artifacts" for. 
When I did my camping theme I brought in coolers that I would normally need to store in my garage for the winter to use as seating in my group area and placed flashlights, lanterns, and sleeping bags around the room. I also used lots of sticks, rocks and other free bits of nature in my decor.

My friend Jill once did a board game theme. So cute! Old games and puzzles make great decor for this theme and are readily found at yard sales during the summer.  Think creatively!

Pick a theme that offers "Seasonal Clearance."
Gardening supplies, beach things and camping gear all get discounted at the end of the know, right around the time you will be setting up your classroom.

Share with a friend.
Do you have friends that teach in other districts or at other schools? Box up all your borders and decor at the end of the year and make a trade.

Ask for donations.
Tell people what you are planning to do and see if anyone wants to donate to the cause. I'm sure there are lots of Pinterest-loving Crafty moms who would love nothing more than to create something for your room.

Follow my Teacher Store so you don't miss
Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

Check out CFC's Helpful Series for Teachers: 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Be a Successful Teacher in the Fall by Planning Ahead Now

Summer is the perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork for being an amazingly organized teacher with outstanding classroom management and great parent communication throughout the upcoming school year. With the implementation of Common Core and a new teacher evaluation process in most states, it is more important than ever to be organized and on top of things. 

Because the Teacher Appreciation Sale is the only big site-wide 28% off promotion between now and the end of the summer, I have created a mini-catalog to showcase some of my products that would be great to have now so you can use them over the summer to prepare for your best school year ever. 


Tools for Being an Organized Teacher

The Clutter-Free Guide to Organizing and Managing Your Classroom continues to be my best selling product and an all-time top-selling product on TPT. It includes 60+ pages of tips and photos

The Ultimate Teacher Organizer
is another one of my top sellers and is full of adorable printables to help you keep everything you

Prepare for Communicating With Parents

Plan Ahead for Effective Classroom Management 

Plan Your Behavior Management

Create a Welcoming Classroom

(the Black and White Classroom Decor Packet shown above was designed to save you money on ink and looks outstanding printed onto colored cardstock...use it with any color scheme for a quick and easy way to create a beautiful, cohesive look)

also be sure to check out all of my classroom theme packets on my product page

Follow my Teacher Store so you don't miss
Flash Freebies or Discounted Debut Items and view my easy-to-navigate online catalog.

Check out CFC's Helpful Series for Teachers: 

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