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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Classroom Improvements

Hey everyone! I am thrilled to be sharing some improvements with you today as part of the #2getherwearebetter monthly link up hosted by Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd & Lucky Little Learners. Today, we are talking about classroom improvements. We are thinking about this past year, learning from it, and making improvements throughout our teaching and our classrooms!

After co-teaching in two third grade classrooms this year, I have learned a lot about myself and other classroom management techniques. I have seen my co-teachers do things that I would NEVER have done or even thought to do in my own classroom (positive things, I promise!). I watched as they allowed a child to read and come to centers on his own time in order to not "throw him off" or provoke a meltdown. I have worked daily in classrooms that were so completely different than mine, but have grown to love their differences. 

This year was also an important one in my professional career. I completed my master's degree in Reading and began assisting in and teaching professional development opportunities at my school. As I look back on my first major presentation to staff, I laugh. It seems like I have come leaps and bounds since then. I am so grateful for these opportunities and for administration who believes in my passion and supports me. I was also blessed to be able to attend a week-long training in the Orton Gillingham method of multi-sensory education. This experience forever changed me as a primary teacher. It rekindled my love for emergent literacy and beginning reading instruction. Although it is a bit pricey, I highly recommend this training over all others I've ever been to!

a literacy centers professional development workshop I gave to new teachers at our school


Tip #1: Go with the flow.
So often we say this, yet we don't follow through. Every single year is different in our classrooms. Every single child is different. I'm probably {a bit} OCD. Everything has a time and a place. This year, with these specific students, I learned that my "Type A" ways are not always going to work. I learned to be flexible and to give students specialized attention if and when necessary.

Tip #2: Collaborate about classroom management ideas!
YOU may have never had a child on the spectrum in your class, but maybe your colleague has! This may be the first year that administration "stacked" your class, but maybe Mrs. Jones has had stacked classes every year! The moment you bring these topics up in meetings or informal settings, ideas will find their way toward you.

Tip #3: Work hard and become a leader. 
This is part of an old proverb, but it is 100% true! The only way I was ever able to present to my fellow teachers was by working extremely hard to fine tune my learning before hand. Teachers should be constantly learning and improving their craft. I cannot wait to flood my brain with information this summer during the SDE I Teach First and TPT Vegas conferences! Learning in order to help my students in the future, is something that truly excites me to the core!


Soon, I will be teaching kindergarten. I am SO excited that I sometimes wish there was no summer break. {Did I really just say that?} Teacher. Nerd. Truly, third grade was fun, but my heart is in the primary grades. I'm planning to improve a few things about my approach and classroom this year. Check them out below!

***Disclaimer: We are locked out of our classrooms ALL summer, so there are no fun classroom pictures yet. Plus, all of my supplies are tucked away inside the cabinets. Major teacher problems over here.

Communication: I have always had a classroom website and have emailed/called parents frequently. However, one of my co-teachers this year had a wonderful communication system in place in her classroom. The parents were the sweetest, and they had amazing relationships with my colleague. This year, I am focusing on strengthening my communication with this new & improved {FREE!} classroom website (, a weekly newsletter, positive phone calls home, and frequent emails/notes. I really hope to create a sense of community for the parents and their students. 
Decor: Teaching kindergarten means labeling everything. every. thing. ev. er. y. thing.
Lately, I've been focusing on making posters and labels for objects in my classroom. I decided to keep my blue and green color scheme this year, but to add read pictures in order to engage students throughout the day with environmental images. I cannot get into my classroom until early August, so for now, my kitchen counter will have to do...

labels with REAL images for all parts of the classroom

Classroom Library Arrangement:  Before co-teaching third grade, I taught first grade. My classroom library was the focus of the entire room. I had purposefully done this to see how students progressed during reading. I absolutely LOVED this setup, however, it may not work as well for kindergarten. I'm thinking of creating my library in a more closed-in space this year. I'm not sure exactly how I will arrange the furniture quite yet because I'm hoping to use alternative seating and very few tables. I'll be sure to keep posting more pictures as the new room decoration beings!

first grade classroom

So far, I have printed new kindergarten-friendly book bin labels and have them ready for the first day that I am able to make my way into the new room. Until then, I will keep plugging away at posters, object labels, and mini projects!

Place your library in the CENTER of the room to change things up and create an automatic focal point for students.

What areas of your teaching or your classroom are YOU improving this summer? Comment below and be sure to check out these other fantastic bloggers!


  1. Thanks for linking up with us Meredith! How did I not know that you were moving to kindergarten next year?! How exciting! I taught kindergarten for 5 years and loved it! BTW, can I just say how much I love those number posters! I can't wait to get them hung up!!!
    Lucky Little Learners

  2. Great post Meredith! I am excited to see your kindergarten classroom and check out your new creations! I'm sure your experiences in first grade and third grade will really help your kinders make incredible progress. They will be so lucky to have you :)

    Polka Dots Please

  3. Ohh I LOVE your little library!!! <3 So excited for your new adventures in kindergarten!

  4. I LOVE your posts, friend!! Thanks so much for linking up with us! I can't WAIT to get my number posters (of yours!!) hung up!! :) See you soon!!!

    Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd

  5. I would LOVE to see your library labels!!!

  6. Great post Meredith. It was nice meeting you in Vegas. Congrats on the PD.

    Mr Elementary Math

  7. How did you make your tree? I love it!



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