I hesitated on creating this post because I haven't been in my classroom yet this year to set it up, but I wanted to share with everyone as you begin your journey in creating a classroom environment that fosters curiosity and inspires a love for learning. So, I have found a few pics from last year. They are not the best at displaying how I have organized the classroom library, but it will give you an idea on how you can start with a few IKEA furniture pieces.
In this photo, the centerpiece is where all my students, and many students who meander into the classroom yearning to learn more, head straight to. It is an older IKEA coffee table that has a drawer and inside it has four quadrants where I display rocks and minerals, shells, nests, bee honeycombs, old artifacts, and anything the children find that they feel is valuable! I leave several magnifying glasses on the table and I usually have a science book flipped open to a page and propped up using a picture frame holder. The children LOVE it so much! They would rather hang out around this table and talk about their observations than play outside. It's amazing! I found the table on Craig's list for $30. I also replaced the glass top with plexiglass because I was worried about their safety.
The map in the background is used for when we travel to different countries to study the culture, architecture, government, etc Each time we stamp our passport, we scratch off the gold and reveal the color underneath. It's super fun!
I also bought 8 black and white polka dot lap trays from IKEA which the children love to use so they can sit on the floor next to a buddy and write collaboratively. Here's the link: Ikea Lap Tray
I also buy book boxes for each student so they can choose 5 boxes and store them their. They grab their boxes during our silent reading time or during Daily 5 rotations! These are super cheap!!!!!! $15 for all your students! Here's a direct link: IKEA
The trees are fake and we have a very strict Fire Marshal so I treated all the plants with a fire approved spray and attached a label to a leaf and by the fire extinguisher to let them know that the plants have been treated.
When you open the classroom door, you are greeted by this IKEA piece that houses math maipulatives such as unifix cubes, geoboards, money, games, puzzles, and more. on top, the items change depending on the theme, or time of year. The children loves having manipulatives at their fingertips. They love it! I bought the IKEA bookshelf and tilted it onto its side. I paid $30 for this piece on Craigslist.
On the right side when you walk in, my husband made me 5 very light frames out of very cheap rough wood that I hung using T pins!!!! No drilling required!!! It's playful and fun! The children enjoy seeing their worked published, so do the parents. Below is where I display our Star Student and their items. I took close-up pictures of the children and cut them out as a way to quickly identify their amazing work! Here's another shot at the beginning of the year.
Haha! I just noticed the vacuum! Like I said...The day before school started.
I bought another bookshelf like the one above and took out the shelves and base so that I could turn it into a computer station. I like it because it takes up very little space in terms of depth and it has a sleek look. We have 3 netbooks in our classroom. On the floor where the children gather, I bought and IKEA shelf that is called a 1x4 and laid it flat. I have also seem pictures where people have made long cushions to put on top and it becomes a bench. I bought this piece for $25 on Craigslist.
I bought another IKEA bookshelf and tilted it onto its side to house my teaching materials. I LOVE it! I got the file folders at target for $1.
I also bought the same bookshelves but some of them are called work station because you can attach a table. They are the best!!! I have three of these in the classroom that I use for rotations. These are usually about $40-50 on Craigslist.
The chairs are also IKEA. This was a very lucky purchase. I stumbled upon this on Craigslist. A busy used them for various functions and they didn't want them and were downsizing so they sold 17 of them to me for $30. CRAZY! I'm always on Craigslist looking for out of the ordinary good deals...they are always out there. It takes a little patience, but once you get in a rhythm, you can spot good deals. I love green, turquoise, and black because they are the colors of nature and black looks less busy and helps other items on display pop! Nothing is on the walls because it's the beginning of the year and I build everything that goes on the walls with the children so they have ownership. :)
One last item to mention for now. This is is definitely a conversation starter. Substitutes seem to always leave a comment about the Truffula Trees from the book titled The Lorax. I found the sticks while on a bike ride with my daughter, bought three styrofoam balls, and furry fabric at the fabric store and voila!
I recently had to remove my cozy chairs due to lice issues, so I found green plastic Adirondack chairs at Lowes. Here's a link. They were about $17 each!
I hope that you found some helpful hints and useful ideas and please feel free to comment if you have any questions. Have a fabulous school year!!!!