Bright & Clean Classroom Design

If you are a teacher, you understand why a classroom should feel like a home. You spend countless hours there, and you share that sacred space with some of the sweetest kiddos. You understand why a classroom should be a place that fits the needs of teachers and children. I have always. ALWAYS. always. loved the design of my classroom, but this year I decided to change almost everything.

I decided that I wanted a classroom that was clean, bright, and kid-friendly. I wanted a space that felt less cluttered and more open. I wanted our supplies to be organized and accessible. This transformation was not possible overnight. I spent months researching flexible seating and classroom designs. I had trouble finding other classrooms that fit my design, so I started pinning pictures of bright, clean playrooms instead.

I found lots of classroom materials on clearance and saved them for the upcoming year. I also met with our school PTO over the summer and told them about flexible seating. They generously purchased ball chairs and wobble stools for our new flexible seating options.

A week before school started, I was allowed back into my classroom to start my design overhaul. I am thrilled to show you around our classroom!

To make my classroom feel more open, I asked our custodians to remove some of the student desks. I got rid of my teacher desk a few years ago, and I honestly have never missed it. When I was setting up my classroom, I had 27 kiddos on my roster. It was important that all of my kiddos have a solid work surface for when the art teacher comes to the classroom. I was required to keep some desks in my classroom so I turned them around to make small tables (all of the openings are turned inward so they are hidden).

I took the legs off of a standard table to make it low and raised another table as high as possible. This gives my kiddos lots of choices for working if they need a solid surface. They absolutely love working at the low table!

These little tables from Ikea are perfect for partners and centers. Kiddos can sit there throughout the day. During centers, we use one for STEM and one for Draw and Write.  I covered the top of one table with some chevron contact paper to give it a little extra style and protect the surface during art.

My kiddos can also choose to work while lying on the floor with clipboards, sitting in scoop rockers, or relaxing inside laundry baskets with pillows. My pillows are indoor/outdoor pillows from Walmart and the baskets are from Target. I have four little armchairs in our library areas that kiddos can also use for working and reading. I got one set at Target a few years ago and another set was donated by my mom!

Once I had all of our seating options set, I needed to figure out how to organize everything. I keep my teacher supplies on the counter in our classroom. I use Sterilite drawers and a teacher tool box to organize all of the things that used to be in my desk. I got them both from Amazon. I store my copies, books, and materials for upcoming lessons in these drawers too. You can download the teacher tool box labels  and the FREE storage drawer labels too!

Our shared classroom supplies are kept in baskets on the front table. I had to have these colorful baskets from Big Lots so I bought them and then spray painted one of them pink. The bright labels with photographs have been a huge success! We keep our morning tub materials in clear Sterilite containers on a cart from Michaels. The kids can quickly see where everything is organized, and you know they love to help clean up!

My kiddos keep their personal supplies in storage drawers from Ikea. They are really durable and perfect for holding everything we need during the day. I spread them out around the room to avoid a pile up in one area of the classroom. I attached a number to each drawer. If you're anything like me, it takes you a while to memorize everyone's number so I also wrote their names on strips of painter's tape. I stuck the tape to the front of the drawers before school started so we could all remember which drawer belonged to which kiddo. When everyone knows their number (including you) just peel off the tape!

Each kiddo also has a book bin to keep their independent reading materials and library books. These are also spread out around the room with our book baskets. Shelves from Target fit my baskets from Big Lots and book bins from Oriental Trading perfectly. You can download the colorful number and library labels.

Our classroom library also got fresh labels with photographs. All of the categories have matching stickers that print on mailing labels so it's easy for kiddos to return their favorite books. Just attach the stickers to the front or back of your books. 

Our school has a School Wide Positive Behavior System so I needed a place for my kiddos to keep their "Rocket Fuel." Everyone gets a cup that is stored inside a clear shoe organizer. The numbers are from my Colorful Calendar set. It's easy to drop in more "Rocket Fuel" into a cup during the day, but we can also take out the whole cup when it's time to count and cash in!

I wanted everything to look fresh and bright, but I still believe in the importance of environmental print in the classroom. I only hung things that I knew my kiddos would use as they grow as readers and writers. We use our word wall and word helper posters ALL. THE. TIME! You can download all of the Word Helper Posters for FREE.

After a few months of learning in our bright and clean classroom, we are still loving this space! I have lots of tips and tricks to help organize and introduce flexible seating so check back soon for those upcoming posts!

You can follow me on Pinterest to see discover more ideas for bright and clean classroom design!


Grab Those Gumballs Sight Word Game

Reading sight words quickly is one the best ways to help little readers grow! It takes a lot of repetition to learn these important words, so I am always trying to think of creative ways to practice! Grab Those Gumballs is fun for kids to play and simple for teachers to prep! It is the ideal activity for early finishers, centers, morning tubs, or even inside recess!

To make your “gumballs” you will just need some colorful ping pong balls and a black Sharpie Fine Point marker. Use your Sharpie marker to write one sight word on each ball. Once you have all your gumballs ready, drop them in a clear container. I used a big fishbowl, but clear food storage containers work great too!

To get started, kiddos will need the container of gumballs and a way to record the gumballs they picked. You can print an editable Grab Those Gumballs recording page. Kiddos absolutely love using Mr. Sketch Scented Markers to color in the gumballs they picked. These markers have a thick barrel that's easy for kids to grasp. You can download the editable recording page here and add your own sight words!

To play, kiddos reach in and grab a gumball. They read the word and color the matching gumball. They can take turns pulling out gumballs and putting them back in after each turn.

If you want to save some paper, you could give your kiddos a dry erase board and some EXPO Markers. I like this option for inside recess and morning tubs when I don’t know exactly how many copies I will need. Once the kiddos pull out a gumball, they write the word on their boards with their markers. We love all of the color choices included with the EXPO 2-in-1 Double Sided Dry Erase Markers! When it’s time to clean up, just erase your boards!

To update your activity, you can add more gumballs as you learn new sight words! Kiddos will love playing this game again and again!

For more amazing ideas from teachers, follow Go Teach! Go teach! is an amazingly loud and incredibly proud new community created to inspire, empower, and support teachers like YOU! By joining go teach! you'll connect with other teachers around the country. And receive fun, inventive projects you can use in the classroom.

Thank you Go Teach! for sponsoring my post! All opinions are my own!

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