Tag Archives: setting up

Classroom Decor

13 Jan

It is kind of funny that the most popular post on this blog is the one about the creation of my Crate Stools last year.  They were also a huge hit with my students.  The kids loved having their own special furniture aside from the usual old desks and chairs.  They would often line the stools up as a reading bed, drag them to a table for “team meetings” and perch on them for news conferences.

I love having a beautiful classroom and I have seen the effect on my students.  When I take pride in ‘my place’ – they take pride in theirs.  For me, decorating my classroom is not about a display of prettiness or a shallow representation of my teaching finesse.  Teaching should not come down to superficial displays of ‘got-it-togetherness’.  For me, having an attractive and well organised classroom is a huge part of modelling to students what it looks like to show respect and, create and maintain positive learning environments for themselves and others.

This year I have re-jigged my decor just a little.  Re-covering the stools was as easy as unscrewing the bottom piece of wood and stapling the new fabric over the stuffing.  I am loving my new sewing machine and created a vintage/floral/quilted look with bright happy colours that make me smile – I hope they have the same effect on my  students.  The folding chair is a new edition and I am hoping to paint some little single tables in a folkart-esque way to match the quilt-y theme.

There will be more photos to come once my room is set up.

Classroom Preparations 2014

Classroom Preparations 2013


Zero to Hero Bloggers

10 Jan

Zero to Hero is a blogging challenge that The Daily Post is running for the month of January.   The daily challenges are designed to encourage new and experienced bloggers to really connect with their readers.  I’m already behind and probably won’t manage one task a day but I’ll do my best to complete the challenges.  I’m hoping it will be a fun way to get myself back in the swing of blogging.  If you have a blog head over to The Daily Post and check out the challenges.

DAY ONE: Introduce Yourself

Who am I?

When I began this blog I was just finishing off my final year of my Bachelor of Education: Primary Degree and was looking forward to beginning my first year of teaching on a year 1/2 class.  Check out my TOT(W) Launch to see who I was when I began this blog 18 months ago.

Who am I now?

One year into my teaching career and I am pleased to say a number of things have not changed – I am still passionate about teaching, connecting teachers from all walks and reflecting on my practice in order to take action.  One of the biggest changes I have seen in myself is the growth in my confidence.  I have tested my beliefs about teaching, tried new things and have learned to believe in myself as a professional.  I have been through bumpy bits and questioned my ability to make a difference in the complex world of education but am realising continuing to be enthusiastic and collaborative will make a difference somewhere along the line – even if only small.

Why am I here?

I am here to reflect and document my own learning journey as well as to challenge, encourage and connect with other teachers from all walks of their teaching lives.  This year I would love to hear more from you and hopefully provide other teachers with a place that they can reflect, discuss and share.

DIY Milk Crate Seats

10 Jan

      IMG_1748I am a little bit in LOVE with Pinterest (follow me, @mrswansink) and have been having a ball finding ideas for my classroom.  One of my recent DIY projects is the ever popular – Milk Crate Seat.  Crates can be bought from amazon and other storage solution suppliers; I found some at a second hand store.  This project is not my original idea however I am not sure where to source it as it is all over pinterest at the moment.  Below is how I tackled the project 🙂


  • 12mm MDF (cut to size)
  • cushion stuffing or foam
  • material for the seat cover
  • staple gun
  • 20mm screws

Step 1: Measure dimensions inside the crate lip – have wood cut (both Magnet Mart and Bunnings will cut it for you) 1/2 cm smaller on each side than the measurement. This piece will keep your seat top from sliding around.  You may need to round off the corners of the smaller square to fit it inside the lip of the crate.

Milk crates

Step 2: Measure dimensions outside of the crate lip – have wood cut 1 cm larger on each side than the measurement. This piece will be your cushioned seat.


Step 3: Cut the foam and material to size . Foam should close in size to the larger square. Allow 10 cm excess on each side of the material for wrapping and stapling.

Cut material and foam to size

Step 4: Wrap the material tightly and staple to the back of the MDF (large square).

Staple material tightly to base

Step 5: Place the smaller square of MDF in the centre of the back of the seat, screw down (we pre-drilled so as to avoid splitting the MDF).  Clamps can be used to help with this (I also found my husband incredibly useful).

Drill smaller piece to the base

Ta Da 🙂 The seats are sturdy enough to be sat on and have room underneath for storage.

Finished Project

Classroom Setup

7 Jan

I am sure many of you can relate to the feelings of anticipation as we wait for our first year of teaching to begin and contemplate what it is we need for our classroom for day 1.  For me, lots of reading is being done as I try to get my head around the programs (such as The Daily 5) that my school uses.  Uni feels like it was a very long time ago and I want to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything 🙂

In addition to reading, making templates and organising resources I have begun printing, laminating and gluing like a crazy lady so that my classroom will have some colour when school begins.   I thought it might be helpful to share with you some of the classroom displays and posters that I have found to brighten things up (as well as act as prompts for myself and my students as we get into the swing of things).

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I would love for you to share the resources that you have found/made for your own classrooms – please make sure you credit the source.  Feel free to share photos/ideas/resources on the Teacher On Training Wheels facebook page or in the comments section of this post.

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