Group Number Signs

Last year in this post I included a link to my group number signs inspired by Sara.


These were truly one of the. best. additions to my classroom last year.  I absolutely loved them!  The only thing I didn’t like about them, was I hadn’t made enough!  I often like to have smaller groups or pairs, and often wished I had signs for more than 10 groups.

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 10.53.23 AMScreen Shot 2018-07-12 at 10.53.30 AM

SO I decided to make signs up to Group 17.  You can download the file here if you’re interested in using them in your own classroom.

Screen Shot 2018-07-12 at 10.53.51 AMScreen Shot 2018-07-12 at 10.53.57 AM



Ready to Go!

Up until a week ago or so my classroom looked pretty much the same as it did last year, which was fine.  I loved my room last year.  However, now that I’ve spent some time in there this weekend and added a few new things, I feel ready to go for the year.

The only thing that’s missing is my play table.  I haven’t quite figured out the perfect spot for it (or what I’ll use for the table).  I’m hoping once the year starts, and I see kids in the space, I’ll have a better idea of where would be a good place for it.

Here’s some of the changes in my room since last year.  (The link to download the files for the stuff used in my room last year is in this post.

Within the first few minutes of class, there are often students asking for a pencil, students needing a calculator, and students needing to get what they missed from being absent.  I decided to put all of these things in one space.  Last year, the folders for missing work were in the back of the room, sort of behind my desk, and I hope that this will be a better spot for them.  I’m also trying something new with pencils this year.  We’ll see how it goes.  Pencils became a daily frustration of mine.  I don’t mind giving a student a pencil who needs one, but I didn’t like the system I had last year.


The True Delight poster is from Meg.  Here is the link to her post with it.  I love the quote.  I love that seeing the poster reminds me of Meg, and I love that the quote is from Isaac Asimov.  Growing up, every morning while eating breakfast my dad and I would do the Isaac Asimov’s Super Quiz that was in the paper daily.  I usually wasn’t very good at them, but I looked forward to doing it with my dad everyday.

To make the magnet board to hold the pencils, I got a 12×12 magnetic sheet like this one at a craft store.  I already had the frame at school that I had used for something else in my old classroom, and it was perfect for this.  I added a piece of scrapbook paper, and attached it to the wall with command velcro strips.


This is the quote I put up above the calculators.  I saw it recently on Twitter and decided I wanted it up in my room.  You can download it here.

This summer I made an electronic version of a poster I had up in my room last year.  I decided I should make it using Publisher before our school switched over to Macs.  You can download it here.  It’s designed to be printed as a 22×28.


If your school has laptops and you don’t have a laptop stand, you need one.  I’m serious!  I got this stand for my laptop at some point last year mainly because my cousins are chiropractors and didn’t give me much choice.  BUT I absolutely love it and can’t imagine going without it.


I didn’t think my classroom could become any more “Sarafied” than it already was, but then Sara posted this.  I was wrong.  It could, and it did.

The bins below are one of the things I took from Sara’s post.  Sara puts all of the handouts, worksheets, etc. into a bin, and if a student needs another copy of something, they dig through the bin.  No more filing extra papers.  No more digging through said files when a student comes in asking for another copy of a worksheet from a month ago.  I’m already looking forward to this!


I have been in Sara’s classroom a couple times and have always loved the group number signs she has hanging from her ceiling.  Megan recreated them.  You can download them here.  I ended up deciding to add groups 7-10.  Here is the link to the ones I made.  It’s a pdf since I used a bit different font for the front side.  If you want and editable version, go to Sara’s blog and check out what Megan made.  They’re great!!

I attached it to the ceiling using a magnet like Sara suggested in her post.  I used a hot glue gun to attach the yarn to the magnet.  I think I ended up having the signs hang down a little bit over a foot.




Another thing I took from Sara’s post was to make these binder clips.  When I printed off what Sara shared on her blog, I discovered that her binder clips were bigger than mine.  I made a smaller version of what she shared.  You can find it here.


Then there’s this.  Casey started this in her classroom years ago.  Hers is amazing!   She sent me the pdf of the poster, and I decided to make one of my own.  I love it!



Top Organization Things of 2016-2017

This week’s topic for Sunday Funday, organized by Julie, is “Everything Organization”.  This post has been sitting in my drafts since the end of the school year, and although there probably isn’t anything new in this post, I figured I would join in on this week’s topic anyway.

As a teacher, you have so many things going on all at once and having an organized classroom helps me immensely when my brain is being pulled in multiple directions at the same time.  Here are a few things last year that helped keep my room organized, thus helped keep me somewhat sane all year!

  •  Command Hooks & Binder Clips – I think I got this idea from Sara Van Der Werf, but I’m not exactly sure.  It’s such a simple idea, but it’s been so useful, especially to keep papers that typically would have been in a pile on my desk off my desk and easy to find.  I use it to keep my list of students who need to make up tests along with the tests themselves.  I put seating charts on another one and class lists on another.  I also have one next to my calculators with the list of students and the calculator that’s assigned to them.


  • IMG_5363Calculators – At the start of the year I had two bins with calculators that I took out for students when they needed calculators.  This was a pain.  I was constantly checking to see if I got all the calculators back, and I learned that students do not know how to neatly put calculators back.  Partway through the year I decided to number the calculators and put them in the shoe holder I already had in my classroom for cell phones -it’s a school policy that this is where students put phones during class.  I assigned students who needed calculators a number in each class and posted it next to the shoe holder (using a command hook).  This worked SO much better than the bins!  It was easy for me to check at the end of class if all calculators were returned, and if one was missing, I knew who to talk to about the missing calculator.
  • Unit Binders – This may have been the biggest game changer for me this year.  In the past, I found the biggest binder I could and shoved all of my originals and answer keys in there for as many units as possible until it was full, and then I found another huge binder.  I would also have one pile of stuff I was currently using with the intent that I would file the stuff when the test was over.  I never did.  It was nearly impossible for me to find anything in these binders, so I didn’t really use them much.  This year, I decided make a binder for every unit for each of my classes.  I originally saw this from Gina Wilson, but I wanted ones to match my own units.  I recognized the fonts and created my own version to go with my classes.  My mom always says that if something makes you smile, you’ll use it.  She’s right.  These binders and covers make me smile.  This is the first year that I actually kept up with filing my originals and answer keys every week, every two weeks at the most.  In the front of the binders I also have the learning targets and vocab sheets I post on the board.



  • Task Card Bins – I have several (ok..more than several) bins of laminated task cards, card sorts, etc.  This year I have them labeled on the outside with the class, unit, and general topic of what’s inside.  On the top, I have a card with exactly what’s inside as well as how many copies I have of each.  (I also have a folder on my computer labeled “Activities” where I have folders for each unit for each class with the activities I have in these bins.  Then if I’m lesson planning at home I know what activities I already have copies of.)IMG_1388



  • Supply Bins – This isn’t anything new, but having these bins with labels on them have been great.  My classroom is right next to the senior locker bank/commons area.  They will often come in asking for scissors, glue, etc.  It’s nice that I can direct them to this area, and they can find what they need without having to stop whatever it is I’m doing.img_8377.jpg
  • Copies – I’ve been doing this for a few years now, but I have different colored file folders labeled with the days of the week for each of my classes.  I use these to keep the copies I need for that day.  I also have one for “last week’s copies” to keep handy if a student needs a new copy of something from the previous week.  My goal is to file the copies from 2 weeks ago every week, but that rarely happens…  One great thing about this system is that my co-teacher can easily find copies, and if I end up being gone unexpectedly, I can direct someone else here and they can find what they need.IMG_3192
  • Hand in/Return Bins – In the past, I had file folders for papers that needed to be returned to students in the same bin where I kept my copies.  I found this tray at a garage sale and thought it was perfect for this.  I’m terrible at returning papers to students, so having it sitting on the counter not only helped me remember to this, it also encouraged me to actually pass them back when I got sick of looking at the stacks in the trays.img_5027.jpg
  • Paper Tray – I got this tray for papers on my desk so that papers I still needed but didn’t want to deal with right away weren’t quite so cluttered on my desk.  If the stack became taller than the tray, it was time to deal with some of them.  I didn’t let myself have random stacks of papers other places on my desk.


I’m looking forward to reading the other Sunday Funday posts this week on organization to pick up a few more ideas from the rest of you to try to stay organized this year!

New Classroom

I FINALLY get to start school tomorrow!  I.  Cannot.  Wait.

I’m beyond excited for my new classroom, but I’m even more excited to see it full of students tomorrow and for all of the great math that will happen here this year!!

If you see something you’re interested in, and I haven’t included the file, comment and I’ll add it.  The link to the download the posters I’ve made is at the end of this post.

Here’s the outside of my door.  The welcome sign is from Sarah and can be found here.  After going to training this summer from Sara Van Der Werf, I was inspired to make one for my own school.  Here’s her post on the math badges.



This is on the other side of my door.  I saw this on Twitter I think and ended up changing some of the fonts.  I also read this post, and again changed up the font for the quote.  You can find the files for these here, along with other posters found in this post that I’ve made or edited from others in the #MTBoS community.



When you walk in the door, this is what you see.  🙂  I just love it!  I already joke that I live at school, but now I’m really not going to want to leave.



View from the front.  The posters above the cupboards are these from the same blog post from Rock Star Math Teacher as the Yet posters.  The cupboards, shelves, and storage behind my desk are a work in progress.  I’m waiting until I start using things during the year to decide where the best places for things are.



When I finished this today, I felt like I was ready to start school.  I don’t know why, but setting up a weekly calendar for homework was one of the first things both times I’ve set up a classroom.  These are the road sign posters above the calendar.  (Red posters on the right: This is the top poster, and this is the bottom one from Sarah Carter.)



In the back corner of the room, I’ve got a version Sarah Carter’s perfect Square and Cubes posters.  I had seen this post before Sarah blogged about the ones she made, and that font with the dots stood out to me.  I ended up finding a similar font and added it to the Publisher file from Sarah’s post.  I also liked what Math by the Mountain added, so I added my version of that.  The #mathfail sign and my version of the perfect squares and perfect cubes posters are also found here.



I’ve also got my #mathfail bulletin board thanks to Sara Van Der Werf.  You can find lots of pictures on her blog.  Here’s part 1, and part 2.



Sarah Carter’s place value posters.

Screen Shot 2016-09-11 at 8.44.05 PM.png


Here’s a view from that back corner.



Here’s a view from my desk in the back.  I haven’t done clothesline math before, but I’m envisioning it between those two things that jut out by the windows.  And those windows!!  Love them!  The blue and yellow posters back there are my version of Sarah Carter’s “Mistakes are” posters.  You can find my version here.



And here’s another view from my desk.  I LOVE all of the whiteboards they put in for us!!  I’m excited to try some #VNPS with them!


Here is the link to download the posters I’ve made.