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!




Quote Posters 2017-2018

In the past 24 hours my excitement for the start of the school year has grown exponentially.  Up until yesterday afternoon, I wasn’t ready for the school year to start and for summer to be over.  I took a couple math courses this summer and finished up my last final yesterday, and as soon as I got home from working on that I was ready to start thinking about the school year.

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I really enjoy creating things for my classroom.  I like that I’m being productive, but it doesn’t feel like work.  Last year I shared some quote posters I had made in this post.  Every year I like to create a few new ones.   Last night when I got home, finding quotes for new posters was one of the first things on my list of things to do for school.

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I thought I’d share what I made in case anyone else wants to use them in their classroom.  Here is the link to download the posters, and again here is the link to last year’s post where you can download the other posters I’ve made.

Mathematics is the study of patterns.

This summer I was crazy fortunate to spend several days learning from Sara Van Der Werf. If you’ve ever heard her speak or even been around her for more than 30 seconds, you know what a huge blessing that was!  SO much of what I’ve done these first few days and things in my classroom are either from her or a result of something I’ve learned from her this summer or her blog.

One of the things that Sara continued to bring up in her sessions was that math is the study of patterns, and that mathematicians notice patterns, describe patterns, and generalize patterns.  In my notes from one of her sessions I have written down that one of the things she tells her students related to this is that powerful people notice patterns, describe them, and generalize them.


This idea kept coming up over the summer, and I knew I wanted to make a poster for my classroom with that on it to remind myself of this so that I can stress this idea to students.

Sara said she’s got a blog post on this topic, so let’s hold her to it and make sure she blogs about it soon!

Update 7/21/17 –  Read Sara’s post on this here.  She’s got some ideas I will DEFINITELY be using the first week of school this year!

The files for the poster are here.  The poster is 24″ x 18″.  I printed it from Vistaprint.  If you use the Publisher file, you will need the fonts KG Life is Messy, KG Dancing on the Rooftop, and KG When Oceans Rise.


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.

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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.

Quote Posters

I start school crazy late this year because my school is in the middle of a building project.  After seeing so many blog posts and Tweets this week from all of you back with students, I’m anxious to get back at it, but I’ve got to wait until September 12th to have a classroom full of students!  In the meantime, I’m enjoying reading all your first week ideas and am taking notes of what I want to steal from you all for when it’s finally time for my first week.

This post is simply my attempt to organize some of the quote posters I’ve made over the years so that they’re in one place -right now they’re in about twelve different folders on my computer.  Because let’s be real, who actually has an organized computer?  If you do, PLEASE teach me your ways because I. certainly. do. not.  It’s a mess.

I have always loved quotes.  Over the years, I have found countless quotes I want to use in my classroom.  A couple years ago I started putting up a quote of the week on the whiteboard below the agenda for the day.

Honestly, I do it more for myself than the students.  I put up a new quote every Friday before I leave for the weekend.  Sometimes I pick one that resonates with me personally -something to encourage me throughout the upcoming week.  Other times I pick out a quote in hopes to encourage a student or a group of students based on something I noticed that week or something I know will be coming up the following week.

Here is the link to most of the quote posters I have made.  I print them off on colored card stock and laminate them.  If I find more in random folders on my computer or make more in the future, I’ll try to remember to add them to that folder, but no guarantees.

Divisibility Rules Posters

Confession:  This time of the year I spend more time than I should creating things for my classroom.  My first year teaching my walls were pretty bare, and it was sort of depressing.  Since then, I’ve slowly started adding new things to the walls.  I really enjoy making these types of things and don’t have time during the school year to do it.  I tell myself it’s an ok use of time because for 9 months out of the year, I’m in my classroom more than anywhere else.  Totally valid reasoning, right?

Jo Morgan wrote a post on divisibility rules recently, and it was the push I needed to find/create a set of divisibility rule posters for my classroom.   (If you haven’t checked out Jo Morgan’s site, you’re missing out!  Her weekly collection of gems is my favorite.)

I couldn’t find anything that was exactly what I wanted, but I did get enough ideas so that I was able to create my own.

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Here is the link to download the pdf and Word Doc of the posters.  You will need the fonts KG Blank Space Sketch, KG Blank Space Solid, KG Wake Me Up, and KG Be Still And Know for the Word Doc.  (I know, I know…kind of an excessive number of fonts.  I’ll admit I have a problem.)

This year I want to be intentional about discussing with students why these divisibility rules work.  There’s a video in Jo Morgan’s post that explains the rules for 3 and 9.  Does anyone have experience explaining these rules to middle schoolers?  Any tips/advice or things you’ve found that work well to help students understand these rules?

Next on my list of things to create was a set of perfect square and perfect cube posters I had seen here earlier this summer, but I was happy to see that Sarah Carter already did.  Thanks, Sarah!