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Teaching with Novels

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Meet Sra. Wienhold

Classroom Tour

I spent the summer before I started teaching obsessed with how I was going to decorate my classroom. I spent my childhood obsessed with the home design show Trading Spaces, where families designed a new room on a budget, repurposing and painting many things to give them a new life. Considering I was also planning a wedding at the time and got married 6 weeks into my first year of teaching (not the best life decision), I obviously needed to be as frugal as possible. 

My classroom started as an typical old 1950's dirty white walled room, with a mural painted by a former class, and tiny wooden desks. (Unfortunatly I do not have a picture of the room before it was painted).I was lucky that the summer I was hired the school was paying students to repaint the rooms, so I was able to choose whatever color I would like. I wanted it to be fun and inviting so I chose bright blue and green (which since I never actually saw the paint samples, turned out to be way more neon green than I expected). I then bought black chalkboard paint to repaint the profanity covered, gross, old, green chalkboard below. 

A few of my favorite projects included:
Tissue Paper Pom- Poms - $4 Dollar Tree tissue paper 

Repainted Bookshelf - free (leftover paint)

Common Classroom Phrases (above left board - printed & colored with marker)
Decorated File Cabinet (left of desk - used butcher paper & border)
Black Book Shelf (behind desk - $5 at University surplus sale)

Teal storage crates ($2 garage sale)
Hanging Absent Student Files (Made with Manila Folders)
Magazine Ads (Ads slipped in plastic sheet protectors - can be rotated)
***I use hot glue to stick everything to whiteboards & concrete walls***

Hanging Flags (printed in color, laminated & tied together)

Maps (laminated free old National Geographic Maps that school was going to throw away)
Soñar, Creer, Alcanzar Banner (printed in color, laminated & tied together)
**The banner was a free printable, but I can not find where from. Please let me know so I can give credit!**

All of the above pictures were from my classroom my first year. Since then, my room was donated new tables and rolling chairs. (I love the tables for stations and activities, but the chairs are terrible for high schools and I do not recommend them.)

Giant Proficiency Rubric (black electrical tape & copied card-stock)
(The kids are doing our weekly viernes (Friday) chant, which they love. 
The idea is courtesy of Creative Language Class)

My advice for those planning their first classroom is as follows:
  • Your room does not have to be complete day one. It will always be a work in progress. Leave room to display student work & have them assist in decorating.
  • Ask if you can raid the maintenance & storage rooms. This is where I got free paint, paint supplies, electrical tape, string & a new desk chair. 
  • Check out garage & surplus sales. I was lucky enough to find a garage sale of a retiring teacher, and once she found out I was a 1st year teacher she started giving me supplies for free. 
  • Start collecting stuff early. I got the large maps from the school library where I student taught, and bought decorations while abroad. 
  • Laminators are your friend. By laminating everything, decorations will last for years and look much more professional. There are great poster templates online that you can have printed poster size & laminated at your local copy shop. (Our CopyWorks even gives teachers half off!) I am so obsessed with laminating that I bought my own on Amazon to quickly laminate authentic resources including letter size ads and magazine articles to use in class.
  • My Classroom Year 2
  • Have Fun! You are going to spend a lot of time here, so make it a place you enjoy spending time in and reflects your personality.
Happy Decorating!


  1. Colega, Cool blog! Una dudita... could you tell me about hot-gluing to whiteboards and concrete? Does it pull right down? Any pushback from maintenance or admin? Gracias!

    1. Gracias! I have found that hot glue is by far the best option to get things to stick to my walls. When you pull it off the wall, you just have to do so carefully so it does not pull off paint. I have made the mistake of quickly ripping something off my wall and may have lost a little paint...but luckily I know where the extra paint is and just touched it up myself. :) I have found that no one gets mad if you are willing to fix your own classroom mishaps!

  2. So needed to read a post like this! I totally understand obsessing over decorating a classroom, I am going to start my first year in August and I am also planning my wedding (August 2)- this makes for a busy summer! Good to know someone else has been there :) Thanks for the advice!

    1. Wow that is a busy summer! My advice is relax and enjoy your wedding. Your classroom doesn't have to be perfect day 1!


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