From Wasted to Functional {with the Primary Gal}

While you may think the title of this post is describing my weekend, it is NOT!  But rather a totally wasted corner of my classroom to a completely functional and useful space for my kids to use technology and enjoy explaining mathematics!  And let me tell ya, it took a little creativity.  :)

At the beginning of the school year, I had my desk in this corner of my classroom.  I don't know what it is about my "style" but I am not a 'front-of-the-classoom-teacher'.....whatever that means!  But having my desk in the front of my classroom just doesn't work for me.  So after a few weeks of disliking it near the front, I rearranged my entire room and ended up with this empty, wasted corner.

Many teachers in my building LOVE these shelves.  Personally, I hated them.  Maybe it is because I am still a newbie and don't have gobs of clutter but they were wasted.  Not to mention, look at the bottom it about a foot longer than the top two.  My OCD mind just couldn't handle it!  You might be asking, well what about those adorable, brightly colored bins?  They were nearly empty!  My plastic drawers with adorable labels?  EMPTY!  What a wasted corner......

So one day, I had a burst of energy and decided to just take those awful shelves down!  Why waste that space when I could use that room for more productive purposes.  Problem?  I had no clue what I wanted to put there!  I found a few ideas on Pinterest.  I even hung an awning here.  It looked ridiculous!  UGH!  So what to do?

Well, I had recently introduced the website KidBlog to my students and we had started switching from writing our Math Journals in a notebook to writing them on our own individual blogs!  And that's when it hit me.  I could get creative and use this corner as the blogging corner!  I could use the empty wall space to display our post criteria, because Lord knows the kids weren't including the things they were required to.  So I set to work and threw this up on the wall.

I also used {this} to let the kids design the iPads that would hang below the header and display the criteria for each blog post.  I left school with the intentions of finishing the wall on the following day.

Then I walked into this.....UGH!!!!  Epic fail!  I should have known.  You can never use enough tape or glue to hold paper on a cement wall.

Luckily, I was at school that evening for a ball game and had my sister-in-law with me.  She helped me rehang the paper back on the wall.  I'm still praying that it is still on the wall in the morning.

My kids were in music class when I hung the phrase "We don't do math.  We explain math." on the wall.  When they returned, one of my students said, "Ya know, Mrs. Wilp.  That phrase fits your class so well.  We never just DO math!"

{Criteria iPads say: Restate the Prompt or Question, Use Key Vocabulary in Your Response, Illustrate Your Thinking, Make Sure Your Response Actually Answers the Prompt, Proofread Your Response, and Use Complete Sentences.}

This is as close of a shot as I can give you on our post criteria.  I wish you could see their adorable illustrations of their criteria.  We use all of the same criteria outlined in my Math Journals which can be found {here}.  We did eliminate the handwriting criteria since that didn't apply to our blog posts.

I'd LOVE to hear how YOU are getting creative!  Write a quick post and link up below!


  1. Hot glue on walls works MIRACLES!!

  2. I love the kid created iPads for criteria! Adorable :) And where did you get those super cute letters? LOVE THEM!

  3. Amanda,
    I remember when you were talking about changing that area of your room!! You did such a great job on the board! Yeh, where did the letters come from?! :)
    Melissa from Mrs. Dailey's Classroom

  4. What grade do you teach? I can't imagine students typing (keyboarding) a math entry in any reasonable amount of time. Also, I'm worried that if I let them hunt-and-peck now, it will make it harder for them to learn to type by touch later on (if they even get that chance). What are your thoughts on all of this?

    As for your huge poster, I have had good luck with NAME BRAND sticky-tac, etc. The cheapo stuff does not hold very long but I've had some posters on my walls for at least 3 years using the good stuff. BTW, I call these things "fake bulletin boards."

    I was also wondering about the cute lettering on your board.

    Thanks for sharing your creativity!