2018-2019 Second Grade Classroom Tour

Hi, all!

It's that time again... back to school! I'm starting my second year in second grade, back in the classroom I was in last year. This is a HUGE relief. I spent last summer moving (to a new apartment, new school, new classroom... agh!!!), and I felt as if my life was in limbo. I can't even begin to explain the comfort I had at the end of last school year knowing I'd be back in my classroom again. Yahoo! So, this year, for the first time EVER, I did not go into my classroom through all of July (this is huge for me!). I was busy doing school/classroom things at home, but sparingly went in even at the beginning of August. During the last week of July and into the first two weeks of August, our building was being cleaned and we were told not to go in. I took that as a sign to take a last summer vacation! Sometimes, the universe really does have your back when it comes to self care :-).

Okay, okay... now it's September and my school brain is officially back and functioning. I've spent the last couple of weeks tidying up my classroom and changed a few things around from last year. Over the years, I've had classroom themes, and have been through different color schemes. However, what has really stuck with me for the past couple of years is simply using bright colors and trying my best to keep the "stuff" to a minimum.

Let's take a tour!

Here we are at the front door. The welcome letters are from Lakeshore and were surprisingly one of my few purchases from there over the summer! I live right down the road from Lakeshore. It's down right dangerous.

second grade classroom doorway

 elementary classroom desk arrangement

I have my student attendance "check in" along with our daily folder bin & homework bin right at the entrance to our classroom. When the students come in, they hand in their homework, daily folders, and check in!

learning with love second grade objectives board
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learning with love second grade focus wall

miss clark's spoonful how are you feeling todayI love using this type of attendance for my students. It really helps me gauge how they're feeling from the moment they walk in the door! You can grab this resource from my TpT shop by clicking the picture! 
the first grade parade classroom supply labels
My "Folders," "Homework," and "Library Books" bin labels, along with all of my other supply labels are from Cara Carroll on TpT. I love their clean, neat look! You can also get those by clicking the picture. My alphabet is also from Cara's "basic" collection.


Next to the attendance check in is our Focus Wall! This resource is from the fabulous Melanie over on TpT at Learning with Love! My goal for this upcoming year is to really keep up with timely switching our objectives for each subject. It's a great piece to talk with the students about!

the first grade parade alphabet

learning with love second grade objectives
I printed out each objective, stuck it in a sheet protector, and organized it by subject/standard in a binder. It took a bit of set up and time, but in the end was totally worth it! When we start something new, I just hang the new objective right in it's sheet protector on the board and put the used one back in the binder. My favorite part about this resource is not only the bright, clean, colors, but the fact that it's EDITABLE! If it something you'd like for your classroom, click the picture over here to grab it! 

Below our Focus Wall is the Take a Break station. During the first couple of weeks, we'll be talking about the importance of this, and practicing when/how you should take a break if needed. 

teaching in progress take a break station

Nikki over at Teaching in Progress on TpT created this UN-believable resource. My students last year really got the hang of independently using the "calming cards" and reflecting on their emotions. Grab it if you'd like by clicking the cover picture!





I stock our Take a Break station with a colorful pillow, a teddy bear (you know how they say teaching is the only profession where you steal things from home to bring them to work?), a few fidget tools, some crayons, and this Calm Down Time book that is also en espaƱol!



Then we have our classroom computers and the schedule! We use our computers during math centers as well as for a listening center during Daily Five.

the first grade parade schedule cards

Here is a better look at our schedule. These schedule cards are going strong after six years of teaching! They're a primary freebie from Cara Carroll over on TpT. Get 'em here! You'll be able to find ANY subject that fits into your day, I'm sure. I simply laminated the schedule cards and the included clock cards. It's easy enough to use a vis-a-vis marker to write (and wipe if needed) the times and draw the clock hands!

You'll notice my "half group" specials schedule in green. I'll give you the readers digest version! For our art, computer lab, library, and drama specials, the students go in half groups. On Wednesday, half of the class (Group A) will go to Library from 11:00 - 11:30 while the other half (Group B) goes to recess. Then from 11:30 - 12:00, they switch! Group A will go to recess and Group B will go to Library. The same scenario goes for Art/Computer Lab and recess/Drama on Fridays. The best part is the individualized attention each child can get during specials. To top it off, the specials teachers pick up the kids from our classes and drop them back off as well. I am so very fortunate! The only specials in which our class attend as a full group are P.E., Science, and Spanish (my assistant teacher accompanies the class to these). More on that another time!

the first grade parade schedule cards

Here is our Word Work center!

I've had this set of drawers from Bed Bath and Beyond ever since my first year of COLLEGE. They used to live in a dorm room, then they migrated to the classroom. I digress.

The green basket on top is for a "Must Do" activity, while the drawers below house the "May Do" activities. 

word work activities

Our "Must Do" activities are often a seasonally/thematically appropriate activity that aligns with a phonics/grammar skill we're learning, or a Reading Wonders Related skill from Angelia over at Extra Special Teaching on TpT! If you are a teacher who uses the Wonders Reading Series as a resource, you have to check out her incredible supplemental activities. Click the cover image below!

grade 2 reading wonders supplemental activities 

The "May Do" activities included in our word work center are also from a variety of amazing teacher authors.

Rainbow Spelling, Spelling Number Bonds, and Magnetic Mix-It are from Erica Bohrer over on TpT. You can find these activities here!

erica bohrer word work activities

Solve and Stamp Mystery Sight Words are from Cara Carroll over on TpT. You can find the second grade version of them here!

solve and stamp sight words

How Much is Your Word Worth?, Place Value Words, and Scrabble Tile Spelling are all from Stephanie over at 3rd Grade Thoughts on TpT. They are an AMAZING tool to integrate math and literacy. Grab those here!

Word Work Mini-Bundle: Place Value, Letter Tiles & Word's Worth


Before we hop off to the front of our classroom, I'll show you our calendar. It's in the corner, next to the teacher chair.

I've been ordering THESE amazing calendars from Really Good Stuff for a few years now. They're fabulous for second grade!

These calendars are engaging, and full of information. Each calendar page features fun facts for every day of the year, and the set comes with colorful stickers to highlight holidays, field trips, birthdays, and more. Our calendar time involves reading the day/date, identifying the days we've been in school in standard and expanded form, and reading the fun fact.

You can just disregard the fact that I haven't changed our date since the last day of school in June. It's fine.

really good stuff classroom calendar

Next up.... the front of our classroom. This is where a lot of magic happens!

We meet here for morning meeting, as well as for most whole group mini lessons. We have the ENO Board, which is fantastic for videos and using interactive lessons, particularly in math. It's also a white board so you don't have to be scared about using Expo markers on it! ;-). Since it's magnetic, I keep our "Turn and Talk" popsicle sticks, timer, and other things there as well.

On the other side of the teacher chair is room for our classroom rules. The students and I will develop those together during our first week! I also keep my seasonal book display under the ENO board.

really good stuff classroom calendar

SitSpots saved my teaching life a few years ago. Fun fact, they were created in 2012 by a Kindergarten teacher who wanted to find a solution for managing personal space during lessons. If you don't have a large "classroom rug" that has squares or letters or any other marking that can be used to define student "spots," it can be tricky to have students sit all together as a group without being too squished.

Honestly, SitSpots do WONDERS for whole group mini lessons. Everyone has his or her own space, and thus the class can sit together in harmony! Grab these guys by clicking the link below.


On the other side of our whole group area is the Math Center. This is where our Math Tubs (small group math centers), Math Tubs rotation chart, and math manipulatives live as well as any other math tools! The wall is blank for now (other than the number posters) so the students and I can put up anchor charts, posters, etc. together as we learn concepts!

math tubs and math manipulatives

the first grade parade label me basic

math tubs rotation board


Next up, we have our Writing Center!

I use these drawers to store our Writing Center "Must Do" and "May Do" activities in. I took the wheels off, and removed the knobs/used full size labels for durability!


Along one side of the drawers containing various writing activities is our vocabulary center. This holds seasonal vocabulary. Right now, it's stocked with back to school words: Classroom words, School Worker words, and Playground words.

writing center

On the other side, you'll find clipboards, our "Pick a Pocket" station, for writers who are stuck on ideas, and writing genre posters.

types of writing posters

On top of the writing center is where our various writing words folders are stored. I inherited these my very first year teaching! They're simply file folders that are laminated with a bunch of themed words (transportation words, color words, holiday words, etc.) inside. They're great for building independence! For those kiddos who choose to do free writing during Work on Writing time, there's also a checklist that they can get here.

writing center

To recap, the activities and resources included in our writing center are: My Daily Five Work on Writing activities ("May Do" activities), Jen Jones's Writing Center ("Must Do" activities), Cara Carroll's Writing Center Fast Finishers ("Pick a Pocket"), and Cara Carroll's Thematic Vocabulary Cards. Grab these resources on TpT  by clicking the cover pictures below! You can even snag my Work on Writing Free Write Checklist for FREE!

Daily Five Work on Writing Choices   Write On! Hello Writing: Fun Sheets for "Work on Writing" {The Bundle}   Fast Finisher Writing Activities
Thematic Vocabulary Cards For the Year (Writing)   Work on Writing Free Write Checklist

In the back of our classroom, you'll find the classroom library, CAFE Board, and Daily Five center rotation board. I painted those "READ" letters and attached them to ribbon during my very first year teaching SIX years ago, and they've been with me ever since! The confetti border and chalkboard brights circle border around my CAFE/Daily Five board is from Lakeshore. The same borders are around my Focus Wall. 

classroom library

literacy center rotation board

themed classroom library

themed classroom library

themed classroom library

fiction and nonfiction genre posters

We use CAFE/Daily Five for our balanced literacy instruction, and the kiddos LOVE it.

As far as organization goes, I mostly organize my library by theme/author/genre. The nonfiction books are all in the clear bins on the top shelf. Seasonal books are in the hot pink magazine-style bins, Picture books (Clifford, Kevin Henkes, etc) are in the light green magazine-style bins, and series books are in the dark green bins. There are genre posters hanging next to the classroom library for students to reference. Everyone is always to find a "good fit" book!

You can grab the book bin labels, genre posters, and CAFE Menu headers from my TpT shop by clicking the cover images below.

Fiction and Nonfiction Literary Genre Posters {Bright/Chevron}     Polka Dot Classroom Library Labels {Characters, Authors, Subjects, & Themes}     CAFE Headers {From the Emergent, Transitional, and Traditional CAFE Menu!}

Here is my little desk. I rescued this from being abandoned in the hallway, and stuck some Contact Paper on it to spruce it up. Not too shabby! Behind there, I keep my colored/cardstock/scrapbook paper, and a few teaching resources. On the countertop to the right of my desk are the large drawers where I store all of my seasonal center resources

There is also an extension of our classroom library with a few leveled books. Below those are where the students keep their book boxes for independent reading.

seasonal activities and resources organization

classroom clock with arrows

Here is a better look at the students' book boxes. 
classroom book boxes

Book Bin Labels | Editable Name Tags | Target Adhesive Labels

I adore these labels from sweet Maribel over at Learning in Wonderland on TpT. They're super editable, and you're bound to find the perfect little avatar to represent each one of your students!

Beyond the classroom library, you'll find the Book Hospital bin, and little filing cabinet where I store forms/ELA/Math whole group activities as well as seasonal activities.

classroom book hospital

classroom community supplies organization

All of our supplies are community supplies, and they live on the back counter! There is also a "Send home" basket for my amazing assistant teacher, as well as a basket for math journal prompts on top of the supplies.

As I mentioned before, most of the labels are from Cara Carroll's Label Me Basic collection on TpT. You can just ignore the clutter on top of the cabinet.

classroom cabinet organization

classroom community supplies organization

classroom colored pencil drawers

Student mailboxes are also housed on the back counter, along with my mailbox for any notes from home.

classroom mailboxes
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Craft supplies and teaching units are stored inside the cabinets.

classroom art supply organization

reading wonders supplemental activities

The decor on the wall above the sink is brought to you by Target Dollar Spot! The only new addition this year was this adorable "Welcome, Friends!" owl that belonged to my grandmother.

classroom sink area

Next to the sink on the other side of the doorway are our class jobs! The students rotate jobs daily. These chalkboard/brights pockets and happy stars are from Lakeshore. You can also get the pockets from Teacher Created Resources.

class jobs display

As far as desks go this year, I am so blessed to have a small crew of only 11 students!!!

I usually group students in tables of three our four, but with only 11 kiddos this year, I decided to give the whole "semi circle" thing a try. We'll see how it works! The students are rarely at their desks and use clipboards/floor space for independent/small group work, so I'm so grateful to have opened up a bunch of space.

reagan tunstall rise and shine binder

PHEW! There you have it! Just add kids.

second grade pink and green classroom

For those of you who have already started school, I hope Labor Day Weekend provided the rest and relaxation you needed after your first few weeks! For those of you like me who start next week, I hope the weekend gave you time to charge up before it all begins. I'd love to hear about your classroom this year!!!


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