The Evolution of My Classroom {Before & After Pics}



Disclaimer: There are links to the products I have purchased from Amazon to organize my sight word system. Some of the links are “affiliate links." This means if you click on a link and purchase the item, The Sassy Apple will receive a small commission.The price of the item is the same whether it is an affiliate link or not.

Wow! I am getting ready to start my 4th year teaching 2nd grade at my school. (Technically, it will be my 7th year overall.) I have been so fortunate to stay in the same classroom throughout that time. Decorating/organizing/setting up my classroom was one of those things I looked forward to most. However, things turned out very different than I had anticipated. I was 8.5 months pregnant when I was hired for my first contract position so putting together my room was a challenge. I realized I had to let go of my vision of what it would be and accept that things would come together over time. This was a difficult shift in mindset for me but with a baby on the way, life was changing quickly! I have had a few years to get my classroom to where it is now and I really love it. It's still a work in progress but as you will see through the pictures below, it has come a long way! I hope you enjoy seeing the evolution of my room.

I took over for a 2nd grade teacher who moved into a technology teacher position. She left a lot of her stuff which I was very grateful for because otherwise, I would have been starting from scratch. Sorry for the horrible quality of "before" pictures but I had an awful camera on my phone back in 2015!


This is the back of my room. I am lucky to have a whiteboard and bulletin board back here. Above is what it looked like when I walked in on day 1. After using the back of my room for calendar and phonics instruction during year 1, I made it my classroom library for year 2.


Year 2 when I wasn't pregnant and could climb on furniture again, I created this large display above my board. I printed out the outline of the letters onto Astrobrights and white cardstock and cut them out by hand. It has stayed up now for 2 years and still looks great.  This picture was taken before school started when I was still organizing everything.


Year 3, I changed the back of my room to my small group area. I teach a lot from this table because I spend at least an hour a day teaching guided reading and I often teach guided math groups too. I thought I would use the board more, but I didn't...so I moved it again- haha!


This is a view from my first year's writing center. I had it right by our cubby closets and door to the hallway. While I liked a lot of things about having this rectangular table, it was ultimately too big so I gave it up after year 2. Last year, I bought a smaller rectangular table from Ikea and I love it!


Year 2 I decided to cover the boards on the outside of the cubby doors. I used pink fabric I bought online somewhere. I still have a huge piece of the fabric left and I *might* throw it over piles of junk when I need to hide it!


The finished boards. I have my clip chart which is changing this year (you can read what I am doing differently here), birthday display and color star posters. That fourth board never gets any love but I printed out this poster freebie from Miss Curly's Classroom to put up. 


This was the view of the front of my room on day 1--a blank slate!!


I don't have any good pictures of the entire area but here's one side. It's not one of my favorite parts of my room because I feel like it looks cluttered. However, those schedule cards (by Missing Tooth Grins) and morning routine cards are referenced daily. 


This is my window area in the center side of my room. Unfortunately, I don't get a whole lot of sunlight from this side and I am not allowed to open the windows :( We aren't supposed to put stuff on the metal parts of the a/c unit but it's hard not to because I don't have much counter space. 


Here's an updated version of this spot from year 2. This has always been a trouble area because that center bulletin is difficult to reach. Those posters at the top were never referenced because they were just too far away to read. The only thing that was useful about this space was the pink basket with clipboards. 


This is my only picture of my classroom from this year so far (we don't go back for another week). I chose this as my big update for this year. I bought the curtains from Jet.com and the growth mindset posters from The Bubbly Blonde. 


Here's the front right side of my room. That hideous TV has finally been taken down! I had my small group teaching table set up here, then moved it to the back, and now I have it in this spot again for this year!


Here's a pic from year 1. The corner from the picture above became my classroom library. I got this green rug and some pillows and just used whatever shelving units were left in my room. I spent SO much time hanging those black laminated sheets of paper to make a word wall. It was cute but not functional as it fell down ALL THE TIME. It drove me crazy. If I have one piece of advice, it's this: If something is driving you nuts, GET RID OF IT!


I kept my library cart right next to the carpet and stored student book bins. I bought the cardboard bins from Ikea but now I hear they are too small to work for book bins.


This past year, I invested in good bins from Really Good Stuff (I can't find the exact ones but these are similar). I let my students pick out a clipart version of themselves from these labels by Learning in Wonderland.


Here's year 2. I kind of forget why I moved my table to the back area because I really did like it here! I added the black pocket chart to hold our Fundations letter cards, my pink chair, that whiteboard easel and a pink teacher toolbox. 


Year 3, this corner was back to being a library. I painted the ugly green bookshelf and intended to use the back of it to store anchor charts. That never really worked well!


Another view of the library. I bought the white shelving unit from Target. I love it so much I bought another one this year. 


This was when I walked into my room to set up on year 2. I brought my then 1 year old with me :) I didn't get a lot done that day! 


And here is my room from the beginning of last year. A lot of things have changed BUT I put up those lanterns for the table #s the first year and they have remained :) Also, did I mention they finally took down that hideous TV in the corner?! I am excited to share what my classroom looks like this year! I will be back in a couple of weeks to show you!


I hope you enjoyed taking a look at how my classroom has changed over the past few years. To any first year or newer teachers out there, just remember that your classroom is always a work in progress! You will never get everything done so just focus on one thing at a time. Your students aren't likely to remember your new classroom rug, but they will remember you. : ) Just try to breath and have fun!