final classroom pictures

I didn't do a very good job of blogging my progress while working on my classroom... sorry! Here it is! I hope you enjoy the final product! My sister, Aly, took these pictures for me. Here are the before pictures.

This is the reading corner. Students will sit on the carpet and the couch while I read to them. They also have a ton of books that they can choose from. IKEA: shelves, wall shelf, rug, end table, pillows, blanket. WALMART: futon. TARGET: chair, book buckets. AMAZON: deer head (I repainted it). HOBBY LOBBY: letters. It's kind of hard to see in this picture, but the graphic by the elephant says, "READ WRITE SHARE REPEAT". My ooober talented friend, Amanda Nelson made that for me. You should check out her etsy shop!

This back corner is the "office". The computers are here (obviously) and all of the extra supplies are in the cubbies under the computers. Students can move the stools from the kitchen table over to the office. IKEA: grey tables, shelf, storage bins, curtains. HOBBY LOBBY: letters WALMART: Stools (painted blue). Donations: kitchen table, chairs, frames (painted), and quote.

My awesome friend, Katie, made this quote for me last year. 

Caroline, I put your supplies in little buckets at each table. Thank you!!

The theme for this year is "You have the power to choose." All of the quotes around my room are about making choices. 

... or about books. :)

A lot of people have asked me how I will decide who gets to sit on the couch. I have a reward system. One of the coupons they can earn is time on the couch.

This is my favorite quote. A lot of my students are born into unfortunate circumstances. I want them to know that that's not where they have to stay forever. I painted a canvas and then wrote the words with gold sharpie. 

(Ignore the ugly trash can!) Here's my desk! I found this at a garage sale for $20 and repainted it. I love the color, the space it provides, and how open it makes the room.

This picture of my guided reading table is my favorite! I love how it turned out. I made the ribbon chandelier out of embroidery hoops and ribbon. 

I love my little home away from home! I hope my students love it, too! 

* For first time readers, I worked a second job as a florist this summer to earn money for this project. I also asked for and accepted a lot of donations in the form of furniture, money, books, and supplies. It wasn't a cheap project, but it was a lot of fun and the pay offs will be big! Thank you again to everyone who donated! Matt and Jennifer Larsen, Chris and Aly Pray, Caroline Roeth and Family, Diane McKnight, Natalie and Mike Pray, Inga Lloyd, Ellen Sigety, Laura Biggs, Amanda Nelson, Ashleigh Elliott, Sister Passey, and Mark and Nicole McKnight.

THANK YOU TO MY HUSBAND, PARKER JAMES DONNER! I needed all your "oooohhh's and ahhhhh's". 


books! books! books!

After a lot of donations and one very large, very generous donation, I have 75 new books for my classroom! Not pictured here is the Hunger Games series and a few other books that I had forgotten about before the picture. Thank you to all who helped to build my library! About 15 of these books were donated. The rest were purchased on Amazon and at an awesome book store here in Denton. It's like Half Price, but way bigger and much cheaper (if you can believe it). A lot of the books I purchased are Bluebonnet books or Newberries. Woo hoo!


On Tuesday I started hauling my new stuff to my room! Whenever I get a grand idea, I always underestimate the amount of work it will take. I have like 7 or 8 weeks left of summer, so I've got plenty of time! My awesome co-worker (which I affectionately call the Gooz) helped me unload my car. 

I am in the process of taking everything off my walls and starting totally fresh. The custodians were cleaning the carpets on Wednesday, so I couldn't set much up, but here are some pictures of the room as it looks right now. Pretty bare!


somewhere over ikea.

I had been looking forward to my Ikea trip for MONTHS! I would count my money over and over and over again. I had a spread sheet of all the things I wanted to buy. I had measured the walls, made floor plans, and priced everything out. I finally had enough and Aly and I made a trip out to the land of decorating and inexpensive throw pillows!

it's all about the benjamins.

I knew I wanted to completely revamp my classroom, but the problem is that I'm broke as a joke! Not really. My husband and I do fine given the fact that I'm a teacher and am in graduate school and he is in school full time and works at a campus job (very hard by the way!). We're not rolling in it.

I talked to my sister-in-law, Alyson (who you will see in a lot of posts, because she is my BFF/partner in crime) and she suggested I ask for donations. I'm not big on hand outs. She said I'd be surprised at how many people would help. As usual, she was right!

I sent an e-mail to family and close friends and the response I got was wonderful! My first donation came from my sweet friend, Caroline. She sent me puzzles, school supplies, and a gift card for treasure box stuff from Oriental Trading. When I opened the box, I cried. People have donated tables, books, time, skills, and a whole bunch of money to my project.

Before I did anything, I had to write thank you notes to the wonderful people who have helped so far. Shout out to: Caroline and Nate, Aly and Chris, Matt and Jenny, Mark and Nicole, Ellen, Inga, Diane, my mom, my dad (in advance for letting me paint my tables in his garage), Passeys, Ashleigh, and Parker.
In addition to the donations, I've been working as a florist to earn some extra money. I do small gigs and help a florist with stuff on the weekends. All my flower money is going toward my classroom! Check out my flower blog at poppiesandpeoniesfloral.blogspot.com. You can also visit my florist friend's website! rlovefloral.com