Top Creative Classroom Ideas from 2015

As an ITRT who serves FOUR different K-5 elementary schools I am in A LOT of classrooms each week which means I get to see A LOT of really awesome things happening! This year teachers absolutely blew my mind with their classroom management techniques, creative projects and overall innovative ideas. Here just a few of the hundreds of incredible ideas I observed this year that many amazing teachers implemented in their rooms.


Using Hula Hoops to teach personal space:

I LOVED this the moment I stepped foot into this kindergarten classroom. This teacher has her students grab a hula hoop when they are doing cut and paste activities. All supplies have to be kept inside of the hula hoop. WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THIS??

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Pedal Desks keep students moving!

4th grade teacher, Beth Waggoner, wrote a grant to get pedal desks FOR HER STUDENTS. I had never seen them before so imagine my excitement when I stepped foot into her classroom at the beginning of the year :) She was able to purchase two large tables that fit three students each. Click the image below to take you to a site about these pedal desks:


Read to Self Post-It Note Anchor Chart:

This picture was taken in Katie Taylor's 5th grade classroom
I LOVE these symbols students use on their stickies as they are engaged in read to self time! They truly can make connections :) 


I have heard of Clock Buddies to partner up students. I used Compass Buddies in my 2nd grade classroom. But this year I saw iPals/Speed Dial Buddies/iPhone a Friend (whatever you want to call it!) to partner up students in a class. A student teacher in one of the 3rd grade classrooms shared this idea with me. Her professor had shared it with the class. Brilliant! The kids absolutely LOVED pulling out their phones to find their speed dial partner for different activities.

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One day in October I visited this 1st grade teacher's classroom and noticed a child's outfit hanging up on her front board. Come to find out, she hangs up the outfits she wore that month when SHE was in 1st grade! I bet her students eat this up. I know I would look forward to seeing her different outfits each month. What a great way to connect with your students!

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I LOVE this visual for the 3 States of Matter this 2nd grade teacher posted outside of her classroom. Each child cut out a picture of themselves to represent an atom. Together as a class they arranged the atoms as they would appear in each state of matter. Easy, cute and an effective visual!

One of my favorite activities I witnessed this year was created by a 2nd grade teacher, Mr.Vanlandingham, who used Tug-of-War to get his students thinking about equalities. We gathered in the gym and had the students bring their white boards, markers and erasers. Mr. V invited a random number of boys and girls to each side of the rope. Those who were seated on the side line wrote the equation (#boys+#girls)___(#boys+#girls). They solved their equation by doing the addition, comparing with the equal/unequal sign and then tested out the equation with a little Tug-of-War! This was such a creative way to teach this difficult concept and the students (and teachers) had a blast!

I got so excited the other week when I walked into a kindergarten classroom and saw this musical jewelry box sitting on the teacher's reading table. I had the same exact jewelry box when I was a little girl and it was my absolute favorite. Students were spread about the room engaged in all sorts of different centers and it was time for us to gather together for a technology lesson. All the teacher had to do was open the jewelry box and the soft, sweet music filled the air. The students immediately started to clean up and head to the carpet. IT WAS LIKE MAGIC. The teacher shared that she had learned about it at a conference and that children are more responsive to a gradual, soft sound rather than a jarring, loud bell. I had never thought of that.
Those are just a few of MANY amazing ideas I observed this year! Looking forward to what 2016 has in store :)