Black & White Polka Dot Plus Brights Classroom Reveal

07 November 2014

I am very well aware that this reveal is 2 months late!   I really worked until the minute before school started setting up my classroom.  I was even on facebook the week before school started offering to pay anyone $20 an hour to come and help me cut, laminate, and paint.  I ended up getting my wonderful mom and sweet six year old nephew to help.  A BIG THANK YOU TO THEM.   I took photos of my finished first grade classroom with every intention of writing this post...then my day job got in the way.  I do LOVE my day job as a first grade teacher, but it keeps me busy.  After all, I am in charge of shaping the minds of little humans.  Bottom line: my day job always comes first.  Fast forward two months and I noticed these photos on my computer... I had forgotten all about them.   So here's to better late than, never!

There has been some backlash against "cute" classrooms via the blog world.   I always work very hard and very long on getting my classroom to look just so, and I am PROUD of it.  I say, if I have to spend most of my waking hours in a place, it is going to be a place that makes me happy to look at.  A happy teacher = happy students.   Guess what?  My students love the classroom, too.   I wouldn't describe my classroom as just "cute," I would describe it as visually appealing, print rich, and functional!  I have everything labeled.  I like to include a visual image along with the words, this helps my first graders who don't know how to read yet.   It all makes for a self-sufficient class of students.   There is a place for everything and the students know where to find it or where to put it!

How did I create this visually appealing, print rich, functional, environment?  I'll tell you how, three weeks of elbow grease,  hours on my computer, laminating sheets,  a fabulous laser printer, a fabulous paper cutter, hot glue, bulletin board paper, borders, and a lot of black paint!

Did you notice all the black in my classroom?  That was me painting everything!  I have a matching issue.  I like everything to match.   Those ugly gray shelves (an office closing purchase my dad procured for me) turned into a stunning black bookshelf oasis.

Here are photos of the finished book shelves: 

The bins are from Big Lots.  The labels are from this packet:

My mom helped me paint this old toy box.  It was actually mine from when I was a child.

Then she helped me paint these sink cabinet doors.  Those are her glasses in the photo.
The sink area after:

I painted the student mailboxes black last year, but they needed a little touch up.  I decided to hot glue some black and white polka dot ribbon on the edges, to jazz them up.  Here are the mailboxes after:
For the mailbox numbers, I printed the numbers included in my Ultimate Bright Polka Dot Decor packet at a reduced percentage.   I cut and laminated them and then hot glued them to the mailboxes. 

I also added a ribbon border to my book display.  I purchased the ribbon from Michaels. 

Our closet doors have white boards instead of bulletin boards.  So every year, I hot glue wrapping paper to it to create my bulletin boards.   I purchased the wrapping paper from Marshall's.  I got the idea to use wrapping paper from Melanie of School Girl Style!

 The hot glue comes off easily with a scraper.  You want a smooth surface to work with.

Then I go and use hot glue again!   I used double boarders for all of my bulletin boards this year.  Another decorating tip, I learned from Melanie at School Girl Style.  The tonal borders are by Frog Street Press and the black and white borders are from Michaels.  The black and white borders can also be found online at MPM school supplies (I have a link to the right of this post).

Here are the boards after:

The polka dot lanterns are from Amazon.

 The birthday board in this photo is from this packet:

The banners you see in my room are from this packet:

The "Nobody's Perfect" sign is from Hope King's Classroom Rules and Quotes packet. 
The color posters and calendar months are from my Ultimate Bright Polka Dot Decor Packet.  The actual calendar is from Michaels and I cut off the border so that it would fit.   I also felt a border on the calendar would look way too busy with my already busy board. 
The color posters are also available separately {here}.

I use the bins above my closets to store my monthly themed read alouds, craft samples, centers, and extra copies.
The lime green pom-poms and mini-daisy above are also from School Girl Style's shop. 

 Last summer, I painted my desk.  This year it just needed a little touch up on the top and it was good to go.  I added lime green desk accessories from Poppin.

 My plan book is on a cookbook stand that I spray painted green.

This is my listening center area.  The stools are from Target.

 For more info on my bathroom pass system, read this post.

 I LOVE my Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener!!  It matches my decor and it sharpens anything.
 I designate caddies for specific centers.   The tablecloth is from Amazon.   I went to a fabric store and had them cut clear plastic for me.  I placed that over the tablecloth to protect it from rips. 
As I told you before, I label everything!  Even the guinea pigs are labeled.

My prize box.

I made a lunch menu holder out of a picture mat, page protector, tape, and velcro.  I love how clean it looks hanging on the cabinet door. 

The recess clips are for when we do indoor recess stations.  It prevents too many students from being at one station.  

This file cabinet holds both my Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment Kits. 

The table caddy above was a utensil organizer from CVS.  I added ribbon from Michaels and my shrunk, cut, and laminated table signs. 
For more info on the drawers, hop over to {THIS} post. 

I used polka dot fabric and a staple gun to recover this chair. 

 I found black pocket charts from Scholastic!!   I used ribbon to tie them to the ends of my pocket chart.  I did this because 1. It looks pretty.  and 2. The pocket chart was wider than my stand.

The door decor above is in a packet I made in late August.  You can click {HERE} to check it out. 

 I hope you enjoyed these photos!  Sorry for the delay!  As always feel free to pin!


  1. Wow! So glad that you remembered to share. Your room looks fantastic! I love how everything is organized and has its place. And I can't believe how well EVERYTHING matches. Go You! Thanks again for sharing. :)

    ~ Kelly
    Lattes and Lunchrooms

    1. Thank you for commenting! I am so glad you liked my classroom, Kelly.

  2. Looks fabulous! I love how the brights pop against the black, amazing effect. I would love it if we were allowed to paint our cupboards, alas we are not :(
    Thanks for sharing your classroom.

    Mrs Poultney's Ponderings

    1. Thank you and boo for not being allowed to paint your cupboards!

  3. I love your organization. It makes my OCD heart very very happy!


  4. I love love love your classroom set-up. I think it is so important to make the room your own with your own personal and stylish touches. I love how your books have the matching sticker to the bin label!! Such a great reminder to the children as they independently keep the books organized. Are the sticker files that included in the polka dot label bundle on TpT?

    1. Thank you! Yes, the mini-labels are included. You need to print them on Avery labels and cut them in half.

  5. I love the black with bright colors. I have some of my furniture painted black, but would like to do my cabinets. Not sure if my school will allow me to paint them, but I'm definitely asking after seeing your room! Looks great!

    Firstie Kidoodles

  6. Worth the wait for that adorable room! I have use brown and white polka dots this year. I do love the dots!!!! One of the cutest I've seen ever!!

    1. Thank you! That must be so pretty, the brown and white dots!

  7. Super cute & so functional! I LOVE it! And, I have to say thank you for the tip about the cookbook holder. Totally just went on Amazon & purchased one.

  8. I love your room! It's beautiful! Thanks for sharing.


    The Teddy Bear Classroom

  9. Umm.... Wow! I think I will be looking at this post over and over again! I'm in the process of re-organizing and decluttering my classroom, and they way yours looks - well, that's the goal! Amazing and beautiful, I might say!

  10. Are your shoe box labels for sale anywhere?

    1. Yes, they are included in the Ultimate Primary Font Bright Polka Dot Decor Packet.

    2. Such a cute classroom! I agree with you-if you're going to be in a classroom for 7+ hours a day, 5 days a week, it should be a space you enjoy coming to. Thank you for sharing.

  11. I am a first year kindergarten teacher, and I am planning on doing my classroom like yours! I love it so much. I was wondering where you bought your book bins in your classroom library? I have thought about purchasing ones from, but I like yours so much!

    1. Thank you, I got them from Big Lots. They hold up much better than the ones from Really Good Stuff.

  12. Love the clean, crisp look of your classroom. What type of paint did you use on the metal file cabinets? I would like to paint mine but it seems like the paint would chip.

    1. Thank you! I used the same paint that I used on my desk. You can read about it here:

  13. Where did you get your binders on your desk? They would be perfect for my black and brights classroom!

    1. Thank you for your interest! They are included in this packet:

  14. Literally my dream classroom. So many great ideas for fall!

  15. Where did you buy the rugs? I love the colors in both of them. Your room looks amazing!!

  16. Where did you get the baskets in your classroom library?


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