Friday, August 9, 2013

Classroom Reveal Part 1: Focus Wall

I've been working like crazy in my room, just like many of you out there in blog land, and finally think I'm almost done. Isn't fixing up the room so much fun? I just love organizing and decorating in preparation for the kiddos!

When you first walk in and turn left, you'll see my closet small group area. A few years ago I covered the closet doors with black sheets and added a cute polka dot border. This year I've added clothes pins (hot glue is my best friend) so I can easily change out the weekly skill/strategy posters.
My table is at the bottom of the picture.

Here's a close up view. See my clothes pins? (I spray painted them black).
Now, it is admission time. I love having my focus wall visible because I can refer to it often and it's a great reminder for the kiddos. However, I inherited a storage system for our previous series focus wall materials that just didn't work for me. All of the items for the week were put in manila envelopes, but the vocabulary cards were in a box, and I had to write the spelling words each week. Needless to say, I didn't keep up very well with this every week. Since we're starting a new program and a great friend of mine pre-made all of the focus wall materials for my grade level for the whole year I decided it was time for a new system:

Our new program didn't provide storage boxes or crates for our leveled readers, so I decided to put them in the pink, green, and blue crates. They're in that particular order for a reason. You see the ties on the curtains above? Those colors correspond, so I'll always know that pink holds units 1-2 materials, green holds units 3-4, and blue holds units 5-6. Here's a look inside the pink crate:

I love these crates because even though we have 4 sets of leveled readers for each week, I can easily fit two units worth of readers in them, plus all of my focus wall materials. The focus wall binder also serves as a divider between the two units. You can't tell from the picture, but there are also file folder dividers between each week's set of leveled readers. Here's a closer look at what's in the binder:

Let me say up front that I did not create these awesome resources so I can't share them, but my friend who created them will probably either place them on her website or maybe in her store. (She's still trying to decide if she wants to go the store route). I basically printed all of the materials, including spelling and vocabulary words and placed them in plastic sleeves in my binder. Each binder can hold 2 units worth of materials. When it is time to change out my focus wall, I'll take the full page resources out (sleeve and all) and clothes pin them to the wall. 

It did take some time to get all of this printed and put away, but I know that it will keep me efficient in the long run, and it is a system that will help me keep my focus wall up to date. How about you? Have you tried something like this before? Or do you have a different system that works for you? I'd love to hear your ideas. 


  1. Love your focus wall. Are the headers you used available on TPT? Thanks

  2. Thanks, Beth! Unfortunately, they're not on TPT. I'm trying to convince my friend to open up a store and put them up there. Maybe she will soon. :)

  3. I love your focus wall! It looks like you have a great system for organization.

  4. I love these ideas! You mentioned a website for your friend, but the link doesn't go to a teacher's site. Has this been updated? This is my first year in 5th grade after teaching lower grades for 7 years, so this is exactly what I need! We are doing Reading Wonders, also!

  5. Did your Focus Wall headings ever get placed on TpT?



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