Top Teaching > Beth Newingham > Take a Virtual Tour of My Classroom!

Comments: 58

Take a Virtual Tour of My Classroom!


There are times when I feel more like an interior designer than a teacher.  I'm sure there are many of you who can relate to this same feeling at the beginning of the school year. I spend a great deal of time obsessing over the layout of my classroom so that it complements my teaching style and also creates an environment that supports learning. I work hard to arrange my furniture in a way that leaves lots of places for students to gather. I also strive to make my classroom one that is cozy, interesting, and interactive all at the same time.  After many tweaks and even extreme makeovers, my classroom finally feels like my "home away from home."

Read on to view a virtual tour of my classroom, see additional pictures of classroom displays, and find downloads of useful posters and tools I use in my classroom.

Classroom Video Tour


Classroom Photos


Upon entering the hallway outside our classroom, visitors can already tell that they are about to enter Pier 13 (the name we have given our nautical-themed classroom this year).  A cruise ship deck serves as the background behind student sailor pictures and individual profile sheets.  I like having every student's picture in the hallway so that visitors can see the names and faces of the wonderful kids who reside just inside the classroom doors.



Students spend important parts of the day on our meeting carpet.  It is here that I teach reading and writing mini-lessons, share read-alouds with my students, and hold class meetings.  Students also use the carpet when completing word study activities, reading from their book boxes, and meeting in small groups for a variety of purposes in all subject areas.



A favorite place for students to read during Reading Workshop is in the dish chairs.  The tablecloth and lantern add coziness to an otherwise plain table and also complement our nautical theme.



Students store their personal book boxes on a special bookshelf in the classroom.  They retrieve the book boxes before coming to the carpet for Reading Workshop each day.  On the cupboards above the bookshelves are theme posters where we will soon post book covers of read-aloud books that share common themes.



Our classroom library is the heart of our classroom.  Check back soon for a video that describes how our library is organized!




One of the bulletin boards that I refer to often is this one that displays the "Reading Genres"  posters.  Students keep careful track of the books they read during the year and are required to record the genre code in their reading log.  These posters help remind them of the genre definitions and the codes to use when recording their books.  Download the "Reading Genre" posters.

Theme Boards 1

In our classroom, students are always looking for the theme in the books they read.  After reading books aloud, we always discuss, as a class, a strong theme that was reflected in the story.  At the beginning of the year, I create theme boards with common themes that are found in fiction texts.  I color copy the covers of the books we read aloud and add them to the theme that the class feels best fits the book.  As more book covers are added to the boards, students are able to make thematic connections between different books.  As the year progresses, students determine new themes to add to our boards.  Download the new theme posters I created this year.


Our book recommendation board is a great way to keep students excited about reading new books!  Students simply fill out book recommendation cards for great books they have read from the classroom library and post them on the board.  Classmates take each other's advice and check the board when choosing new books to read.  Download the book recommendation card template.


  • #1 Julie

    Friday, June 18, 2010 at 08:38 PM

    Hi Beth!

    You have mentioned that you use Print Shop for many of your signs, posters, etc. I am looking to purchase the same version of Print Shop that you have with hopes of creating the nautical theme you had this year. Is there a specific version of Print Shop that you use? Thank you for your help and enjoy your summer break!


  • #2 Nikki Thomas

    Friday, June 18, 2010 at 07:03 PM

    Hi Beth~Great Classroom! can you please tell me where you got all of your nautical theme decor? I especially like the plastic anchors :)

  • #3 Ms Gavin

    Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 12:15 PM

    This is a wonderful classroom! I got ideas from your site to make learning more fun for my students.5

    Thanks for being a wonderful teacher.

  • #4 Beth Newingham

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010 at 03:00 PM


    You noticed that I had many "cozy" items that looked like they might not meet the fire code regulations that you have in your school district. We actually have the same rules in our district! Believe it or not, my couch and the dish chairs do meet the California fire code laws (that we must abide by). I used to have different pillows I would put on the couch for different seasons and holidays, but now I just have some "fire-proof" pillows that I purchased with money from our P.T.O. from Lakeshore Learning. Here is a link to the pillows, but, beware, they are very expensive in my opinion!


  • #5 Beth Newingham

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010 at 02:47 PM


    I am not sure if this is the actual website where I got the pier backdrop, but here is the exact same product at this link:


  • #6 Megan

    Monday, May 31, 2010 at 02:02 PM

    Hi Beth! You are absolutely amazing and so inspiring. I have used a lot of your ideas in my own room. This year, I was thinking of doing a nautical theme too. I love your pier wall. Where did you get the paper for it? Thanks for everything!

  • #7 Nichole

    Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing all of your ideas! I wish my class could be as cozy and interactive as yours. Mine use to be a few years ago,and now I have to sneak things in and out. Our safety and fire codes are SO rediculous in my county! They made me get rid of my carpets, furniture, and we get in trouble if we have "too much" materials on the walls or shelves. How do you still get away with all of that?! I am so jealous!

  • #8 Beth Newingham

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010 at 11:04 AM


    I have done about 6 different themes now. I am thinking it is time to recycle:)


  • #9 Jen

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 07:30 AM

    So . . . What will be your theme for next year?

  • #10 Beth Newingham

    Saturday, April 17, 2010 at 12:08 PM


    Here is a link to my bucket-filling post:

    I hope this helps you understand the concept more throughly!


  • #11 Beth Newingham

    Sunday, March 21, 2010 at 07:09 AM


    I will be writing a post specifically about "bucket filling" in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned!!


  • #12 Theresa

    Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    Tell me more about have you filled your bucket

  • #13 Beth Newingham

    Monday, January 18, 2010 at 06:48 PM


    Thanks for your wonderful compliments on my classroom.

    You asked about the dice stools that I have at my writing center. I purchased them years ago from Oriental Trading. However, they are no longer available from that website.

    I was able to find them at the link below, but they are much more expensive than when I bought them.

    Here is the link if you are still interested:


  • #14 Beth Newingham

    Monday, January 18, 2010 at 06:45 PM


    Many of my ideas for literacy centers come from common board games and card games. I just use tables in Microsoft Word to create cards for the games, and I use clipart from MS Word or Printshop to create the board games.

    Many of my center activities also come from teacher resource books. Here is a link to the Scholastic Teacher Store:

    If you search using the terms "centers" or literacy centers," you will find a variety of useful center materials!


  • #15 Cindi Rosell

    Sunday, January 17, 2010 at 01:14 PM

    Hi Beth, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas and things you do in your room. I am sure you are an amazing teacher and any parent would be thrilled to have you as their child's teacher. I teach 2nd grade and have been implementing many of the ideas you have shared on your site over the years. I'm not sure what you call them, but I was wondering where you purchased the dice chairs...they are neat. I would like to get some for my room. Thank you in advance. Once again thank you for sharing.

  • #16 Beth Newingham

    Friday, December 04, 2009 at 08:43 AM


    I'm glad you like the word study games I have posted on my website! Print Shop is definitely different than Photoshop (and much less expensive)! It use it for so many purposes in my classroom including my newsletter and a varity of signs, posters, banners, and games. Here is link to purchase the software:

    I hope you find it to be useful!


  • #17 Beth Newingham

    Friday, December 04, 2009 at 08:34 AM


    You certainly have my permission to use the library video for your professional development presentation. At this point, however, the only way to access the video is to play it from the Scholastic website. I hope this will work for your presentation. I apologize for any difficulties this may present, but I hope it will still work for your purposes.


  • #18 Beth Newingham

    Friday, December 04, 2009 at 08:31 AM


    You can find a link to my daily/weekly schedule on my classroom website. Here is a link to the site:

    On the sidebar menu, you will find a link to "Weekly Schedule." It is there that you will find what a typical day looks like.

    In terms of grammar, we do integrate it into reading and writing workshops as often as possible. However, you will see on our schedule that we do "morning work" every morning. During this time we also teach isolated grammar skills.

    I hope this helps!


  • #19 Dee

    Wednesday, December 02, 2009 at 02:25 PM

    Beth: I teach 4th grade, but love your word study center ideas. Where would I begin to make games for these centers. I am the only 4th grade teacher, so this may take me ages. Is there a resource book for these games that you would recommend?
    Love your room! Mine is done in an ocean theme!

  • #20 Sarah

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009 at 08:40 PM

    Hi Beth!!
    I just can't stop viewing your website!! I also was looking at your literacy games and activities for centers..Unfortunately, I do not have Print Shop and could not open a lot of them. My question is... what is Print Shop? Is it similar to Photoshop? How much does it cost? If they are different, I could maybe justify buying it! Since I bought Photoshop last year and never used it! :)
    Thanks again for sharing all of your wonderful ideas!!

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