Photo Essay: Profe Nygaard’s Classroom Tour

Sneak peek: An inside look at what is in my classroom!

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Since I am currently in the distance-learning model and have been for the better part of a year, I’ve really begun to miss my classroom. As such, I figured it is as good of a time as ever to show you around my classroom space! Looking through these photos is bringing back an odd, yet welcomed sense of nostalgia. I miss it, but it makes me happy that I know this is still the classroom I will eventually return to.

In the fall of 2018, it was determined that I would have to switch classrooms, and I have had it on my to-do list ever since to give you a proper tour. So that said, I actually took these photos a couple of years ago. Not much has changed, except I have added this bright and cheery Keurig to my room to perk me up during the early mornings, and to keep me going on long days when we have parent/ teacher conferences. This hot pink Keurig Mini with stickers was a limited edition that is no longer sold, but I think all these Mini Keurigs are so cute! Add some of your own stickers from red bubble to make it more personal and cheery. I actually love this thing so much that we bought a black one to have at home since it doesn’t take up much counter space.

Well, come on in… bienvenidos a mi classroom! As you will see below, I have signs at the entrance of my classroom welcoming my dreamer students and my LGBTQ students, so they know that this is a safe place for them.

At the front of the room, I have a bin for each hour where students store their weekly song sheet. This is mostly for my L2 learners because our warm-up routine is to start class by listening to our weekly song. My warm-up with my heritage students is free voluntary reading, but my heritage students sometimes ask to do a cloze song for fun as well! I think cloze songs can be great practice for heritage students because they pay attention to how the words are spelled as they write the lyrics out. I take points for misspelling since they are given a word bank. When I do a song with my heritage students I leave more blank spaces in the song than usual, and it only takes us a day or two, while it takes my L2 learners the whole week.

Inside this cabinet I store other classroom supplies like highlighters, whiteboard cleaner, and DVDs. I know that you can use streaming services now to show films, but usually when I show them it is because I have to be absent and it is so much easier to just leave the DVD instead of my Amazon password or Netflix log-in for the substitute.

The DVDs I have shown in class before are:

Cesar Chavez

The life and times of Frida Kahlo


Book of Life

Goal! The Dream Begins

Under the Same Moon

McFarland USA

El cuarto misterioso (series from our textbook)


Sweet 15

Buen día Ramón

The other ones are just old DVDs I got from my parents when they were “decluttering.” It can’t hurt to hang on to them, but I haven’t had much use for them.

I periodically switch up the desk configuration in my room. Doing this seems to act as a reset for my class, and keeps things fresh. At the time I took these photos, I had the desks grouped into pods.

I typically leave out bins of markers, crayons, and name cards. At the beginning of the trimester, I have students write down their name and some fun facts about them on an index card. I sometimes use those name cards to call on students randomly.

My front table is one of the most used pieces in my classroom. To create seamless transitions, I will often tell my class something like, “when you are finished with your quiz, grab a worksheet off the front table and work quietly.” In that way, I don’t have to interrupt the slower quiz/test-takers to keep the faster students moving forward.

Below my table is a space for my mini-fridge. This maximizes the space and gives me easy access to my lunch and favorite beverage: bubbly waters!

In this photo, you can see I had placed an emoji grouping card on the desks. This was an activity I did at the beginning of the year to assign seats on the first day. When students entered the room, they were directed to grab an emoji card based on how they were feeling that day and to find the corresponding pod. The activity acts doubly to foster self-expression and openness, while also providing a low-stress way for students to find a place to sit. I’m finding that my students have a heavy dose of decision fatigue and sometimes prefer to be given directives and direction, especially on the first day. You can get these Emoji grouping cards for free in my freebie folder.

Next, for the bulletin board, I purchased these speech bubble cut-outs on Amazon. And when I ran out, I purchased these. Whenever a student finished an FVR book, they had to see me and write a review on one of the speech bubbles. I then printed out a color copy of the book cover and added it to the board. This took us a while to fill up, but I’m really happy with how it turned out!

A lot of people ask me where I got these beautiful blue bookshelves. You can find them here. Let me also say, I’ve had these bookshelves for going on three years now, and they still look as bright and vibrant as they did out of the box! I love it when a product is affordable, functional, fun, and durable.

Books are not free, nor are they cheap. If you want more information on how I got the funding to buy these books, check out this post. For information on how to write a grant proposal, read this post. My students feel empowered in having their own library with books that challenge them where they are at in their language journey.

The papel picado above the bookshelves gives an added layer of interest to the corner.

This is where I store our notebooks for Amigos Secretos. To learn more about how I did secret pen pals with my heritage classes, read this blog post.

Because cell phones are the most difficult thing to manage in class, I made a cell phone jail out of an old ice cream pail for myself. It does the trick and it cost me right next to nothing! Can’t beat that.

I got the rugs, coat rack, and lamp behind my desk from IKEA and I love having a place to hang all my bags, coat, and even my mittens in the winter. The lamps throughout my room help make my classroom feel less industrial, homier, and more inviting.

I often pass out red pens for peer correction for grading our weekly cloze song. Sometimes, we also do peer correction on formative assessments as well because it saves me grading time and more importantly, gives students immediate feedback.

This is Lorenzo the Loro that hangs above my desk. I inherited him from another teacher. He was a holdover from my first day in my old classroom, and as your classroom changes throughout the years, sometimes it’s nice to have something that acts as an anchor. What are some of your favorite inherited pieces in your classrooms?

I try so hard to keep plants alive because they make me happy, but I don’t have much luck. My husband is the green thumb in our family, so without him in my classroom (he decided he wanted to do other things for his career), the plants are doomed. Cacti seem to last a while though!

I am lucky to have a classroom with windows! Being a teacher in the north, I love watching the snow fall in the winter- almost like I’m in a teacher-themed snow-globe.

Of course I also have a microwave in my classroom because we all know that we, as teachers, live out of our classroom. Over time you really get the sense that your classroom is your second home!

I got most of the posters and the flag decor from Teacher’s Discovery.

This bulletin board is fun to make with your students at the beginning of the year! Simply have them trace their arm and hand and then color or cut out magazine images to add things they like or things that represent them. It really seems to do a great job of showing students that while they are each unique and special, they also share many things in common with each other. When they are finished, use it as an icebreaker by having students share their work and what it meant to them in small groups.

Inside this closet, I store all sorts of props and costumes for acting out stories with my L2 learners. These are things I have collected over the years. One year, I even did a collection drive where students brought in random things from home. You’d be surprised how many great (and random) items are laying around the houses of your students. We buy enough supplies as teachers, and when it comes to props, honestly, they are better borrowed than bought anyways!

I got these turn-in bins from Dollar General and these chili pepper lights from Amazon. Using turn-in bins has helped me stay more organized because I don’t have assignments piling up on my desk. When I am ready to address grading, I just grab a bin and work on one class period at a time. I have a separate red bin closer to my desk that is specifically for turning in late work.

There is a bin by the door for storing extra copies of worksheets for students who were absent. I organize the folders by class and then within each class, I organize them further by the day of the week. That way, if a students was absent on a Tuesday they know to check the Tuesday folder for what they missed.

For my 7th grade class, I had a weekly password to enter the classroom. I got this speech bubble whiteboard from Target and would stand at the door with it for the first day or so as they got the hang of the password of the week.

Thanks for visiting my classroom (and my blog)!

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