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Introducing…”Happy Camper” Classroom Theme!

More than likely, you’ve already seen this post.  If you’ve followed me over the years, you know that I normally save my new collections for the Reveal.  I just couldn’t do that this year.  I didn’t think it was fair for my followers to wait almost an entire year to see what I worked on over the summer!  I even questioned whether I would do a Reveal again.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I recevied feedback that many of you would prefer to see my rooms as I finished them.  From what I was told, most of you wanted to start planning for the following year as early as possible.

Ugh.  It was such a tough decision.

Ultimately, I decided to show my two personal classrooms (read the post below if you don’t know why I have two rooms – I get that question a lot!) and I would save the others for a more formal Reveal in the Spring.

I also decided to cut down on the number of classroom collections that I would create.

Truthfully, I was a little freaked out about this one.  I was so so scared that I was going to disappoint everyone.   I like to do things big, grand, and over the top (if you haven’t noticed already) and I was so worried that people would walk away from the reveal feeling cheated.   I had a couple reasons for cutting down the collections.  First, I have 70 classroom themes already listed in the shop.   That’s a ton!  Secondly, my mother, who happens to be my biggest fan and my biggest critic (you know it’s true, Mom!  Haha!)  told me over and over that I was offering too many choices.  She thought it was overwhelming for everyone.

So, like every good daughter, I decided to take my mother’s advice and just create FIVE rooms for the 2016-2017 school year.

Despite having less to choose from, these collections are packed with quality pieces and unique designs.  Although it’s short and sweet this year, I am extremely proud of our creations!

This next collection, “Happy Camper”  is definitely worth seeing again.  It is, by far, my biggest transformation yet!

Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Melanie

HappyCamper

Introducing…Schoolgirl Style’s “HAPPY CAMPER” Classroom Collection!

Happy Camper by Schoolgirl Style

I wanted to create a collection that was versatile…something perfect for every single grade level.  Some of you might think I’m crazy, but I wouldn’t hesitate using this collection from preschool all the way up to high school!  I don’t care how old you are, camping is something that every single person can relate to or has connections with.

 I LOVE the idea of learning (and teaching) under the stars!  I envisioned black bulletin board paper (night sky) and pops of yellow stars all over the room.  My FAVORITE part…adding a string of colorful lights to illuminate your outdoor paradise!

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THE STORY BEHIND THE CLASSROOM

I actually have two classrooms and  “Happy Camper” was designed for my second room.

 I know.  I know.  I KNOW what you are thinking…why would I have a second classroom?

Here’s the story (because so many of you have asked)…

My Kindergarten room has a door that connects to another classroom.  Back in the day, there were two Kindergarten classes and they shared this door.  Due to a decrease in enrollment, they no longer needed two Kindergartens, so someone turned the vacant room into a playroom for the students.

Here’s a picture, so you can visualize what I’m talking about…

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  The playroom was filled with tubs of Barbies and My Little Pony.  There was a big conglomeration of garage sale finds and toys galore lining the perimeter of the room.   As you can imagine, the kids loved it, but it drove me crazy.  I wanted so much more for that space.  I wanted the children to be engaged in developmentally appropriate activities and Centers for the children to explore.  I wanted meaningful, hands-on experiences that can help each child grow physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitvely.

I thought about this space for months.  I thought about how it would function and what the room needed to achieve my beliefs about teaching and learning.  I am also the Early Childhood Director at our school, so the space needed to incorporate everything I knew about teaching young children.

My room would include Dramatic Play, Storytelling and Puppets, a Listening Center, a Writing Center, Computers, a Science Center, an ABC Center,Pocket Chart,  an Art and Sensory Center, Blocks and Puzzles, a Math Center, and a Reading Center.

I had a HUGE job ahead of me, but I was so passionate about the project that I couldn’t wait to tackle this space!

Here are a few BEFORE pictures:

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and every closet, cupboard, and flat surface was filled and covered with items that haven’t been removed in years.

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I cleaned out every nook and cranny in that room and dragged all of toys out into the hallway.  I needed a clean slate and a fresh start!  The toys were donated to our church rummage sale and the proceeds went back to our school.

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 Since we are a private school, all of the furniture in this room was made by the school custodian years ago.  There was nothing new in this room.  The chairs and tables were mismatched, the shades were crumbling, and the walls were a dingy yellow color.  The counters hadn’t seen the light of day in years.

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Here’s the room after I cleaned it out.  You can see all of the tables, shelves, and chairs didn’t match.

What did I do next?

I painted the entire room WHITE along with all of the mismatched furniture.  I took down the crumbling shades (I don’t think that the windows had been open in years).  I cleaned off the countertops.  I also removed the useless chalkboard in the back of the room.  I now had a clean, blank slate to start my decorating!

The finished room…

AFTER

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As you can see, the space is open, bright, organized, and ready for my little ones to EXPLORE!

I can’t wait for you to see the entire room.  It was definitely a labor of love!

2015-11-24_0001This is the view from the main door…
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The cabin is definitely the focal point in the room!  I consider this a faux cabin.  It has a front and sides, but no back or roof.  I wanted to build something inexpensive and easy.  It gives the appearance of a cabin without too much work involved.  This is used as our Dramatic Play area and the kids love it!

Here are a few more pictures of this Center…

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Adding multiple cutouts throughout the room really accentuates the theme.  As you can see, I glued cute animal cutouts to wooden sticks and stuck them in soup cans using styrofoam.  I like to create centerpieces for the tables…it just adds a little more detail to the room.

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I love the faux deer mount!  The Welcome sign was also blown up to fit in the top of the cabin.

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I’ve been eyeing this camper from The Land of Nod forever!  This is the perfect space for my little ones to read.  You just can’t help but to WANT to go in and spend some time there!  I created a camp scene with the adorable campfire (from The Land of Nod), a grass rug (from Home Depot), and few wooden stools (from Homegoods).  Reading under the stars has never been more FUN!

2015-11-24_0024Telling stories around the campfire…can’t get any better than that!

(Campfire from The Land of Nod)

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The little blankets and pillows are great for the children to relax and enjoy a good book…

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By the way, nothing has real fur (in case you are wondering).

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Incorporating religion into our classroom.  This is one of my favorite details in the room.

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Remember the coat hooks from the BEFORE picture?  I transformed the space into this awesome Writing Center!

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I removed the hooks, painted the inside white, and added all of these super cute decor accents to make this area come alive!  My husband added a wooden counter (he watched a You Tube video to figure out how to do this).  It’s super sturdy AND can be easily removed if it needs to be converted back to a coat area.

I purchased the stools from a consignment shop and painted them white .

Everyday, the kids can’t wait to come to this area to practice what we’ve learned in class!

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Here is a close-up of my Writing Center.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE the smore Word Wall Headers!  I added an alphabet, a number line, and several cutouts from the Happy Camper collection to decorate the space.  The CAMP sign is editable and can be blown up to fit any area in your room.

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I removed the large, dated chalkboard off the back wall.  It allowed me to add this green shelving unit for our Art supplies and a small bulletin board for our calendar.

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Check out this shelving unit!  Can you believe someone didn’t want this?  I found it in an area of discarded furniture.  I didn’t even have to paint it…it was already a nice shade of green and it matched perfectly with the outdoor theme.

The “Let the Adventure Begin” sign comes with my “Happy Camper” collection.  I took a thumb drive to Staples with several items that I wanted blown up and they customized everything to fit perfectly in my space.

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You’ll notice several tree cutouts throughout the room.  I made these from discarded boxes.  They aren’t perfect by any means…I free-handed all of them.  Despite the imperfections, they gave the room an outdoor feel and they didn’t cost a thing!

The crates on the shelves are from Michaels.  I found these in the clearance section.  Each one had “fruit” and “vegetables” printed on the sides.  I used brown paint from the cabin to cover the writing.  Again, this was an inexpensive way to carry the theme into this area of the room.

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2015-11-24_0015How cute is this little guy?  This is definitely my favorite poster in the collection.  To give it some presence in the room,  I mounted him on posterboard, then added a second posterboard to make it look like it was framed.  Of course, you don’t have to do this to your posters, but I like how it gives it some custom detail.

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Here are a few more posters from the collection…

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These large windows are amazing and had been covered for years.  I am such a “light” girl.  I always love the light shining in…it gives me energy and makes me feel so much better.  It felt so good to open this room up and enjoy the pretty garden courtyard area…and the chickens.  Yep, we have chickens out there too.  I’ve never asked why we have them.  Haha!  I guess I should find out one of these days…

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 The greenery from the outside looks perfect with my theme.  I added a few trees to give my room that “woodsy” feel and added my adorable Woodland Animal cutouts to top it off!

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This is the theme of this room…EXPLORE.  This is exactly what I want my students to experience.

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My Listening Center…

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…and Storytelling/Puppet Center

I created Center signs by mounting the wood cutout to patterned paper.  All of this is included in the “Happy Camper” package.  The wooden signs are editable, so you can customize them any way you would like.

2015-11-24_0021Reading under the stars…

The background consists of a large whiteboard with two bulletin boards on each end.  Since most of my teaching happens in my main classroom, I didn’t have a need for this space.  I decided to create a mountain backdrop to continue my camping theme.  I used black chalkboard paper from Pacon to cover the entire area and used green and doodle border around the edge.  I knew that I couldn’t mess up with triangular looking mountains, so I free-handed each one with Crayola chalk.  It was super easy!

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I hot glued the deer on to the bulletin board paper for a cute embellishment.

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 The colored lights are my favorite part of the room, plus it helps tie in the primary colored squares in my tile.  By the way, so many of you asked if I planned to paint over or cover up the tiles on my Instagram sneak peeks.  I couldn’t think of a way to do that without ruining the tile, so I knew I had to embrace them!  I created these colored lights to incorporate the colors in the tile, plus I added turquoise (just because it’s one of my favorite colors).  I love how they turned out!

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The “Happy Camper” calendar includes the large calendar, calendar headers, seasons display, Days of the Week Chart, and several animal/camping embellishments.  Save the file to your thumb drive and take it to your favorite printing company to blow up.  I had each page blown up to an 18×24 size.  Make sure you don’t use a cardstock on this one.  I went with their least expensive paper and laminated for durability.

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I like to use Velcro to adhere my numbers and calendar pieces to the charts…

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My Art Center

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Can you believe all of these Art supplies?  I only use Crayola products in my classroom and photo shoots.  I know that as a teacher, you can tell the difference with products from other supply companies.  Crayola products are superior to anything I’ve ever used.

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I was lucky enough to have Crayola donate all of the items pictured.

Some of my absolute favorite Crayola products…crayons, colored pencils, chalk, Pip Squeaks, and oil pastels.

By the way, I don’t keep all of this to myself…I make sure to share with anyone that needs it!

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A HUGE “thank you” to Crayola for donating all of these amazing supplies.

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I also need to give a big shout out to Pacon!  Pacon donated all of their Tru-Ray paper.  Have you tried Tru-Ray before?  If you haven’t, you NEED to.  Your art projects will have never looked better!  Tru-Ray is so vibrant and it’s fade resistant.  I used Tru-Ray to create my paper chain canopy in my other classroom and it looks amazing!  *See the chains HERE.

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Pacon also donated tissue paper for my classroom.  It is definitely the nicest, most vibrant tissue paper I’ve ever used.  My mom even noticed the difference when she was helping with my animal centerpieces (see pic below).  She made several comments about the quality of the tissue paper.  I explained to her that Pacon sent it to me…she was ecstatic about it (yes, we get excited over things like this).

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The crayon caddies and Pip Squeaks were donated by Crayola for the Writing Center.

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Here are a few close-ups of my Word Wall Headers…

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I added some laminated Tru-Ray construction paper and embellished it with a tree cutout to protect the tabletop.  So far, it has worked.  I know I’ll need to give the countertop another fresh coat of white paint before next year, but honestly, the white hasn’t been bad.

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The collection comes with these editable binder covers…

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…and the view from the Writing Center

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 I still have to pinch myself every time I walk into this room.  My goal was to transport my students to another place…something more exciting than cinderblock walls and an institutional looking room.  I wanted to create a place where my students would want to come each day.  I wanted this room to promote optimal learning and development.

I couldn’t be more proud of the way it turned out!

I hope you enjoyed the tour!  To purchase the items in my classroom, check out the Shopping Guide below!

Happy Decorating!

~Melanie~

To purchase the Happy Camper Decor Collection, click HERE

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“Happy Camper” Shopping Guide

Cabin:  Wood from Home Depot in the dollar bin.

Camping Decor, signs, cutouts, string of lights, stars, animals: Schoolgirl Style Shop

Camper, animal pillows, campfire:  The Land of Nod

Art Supplies and Writing Supplies:  Crayola

Construction Paper, Bulletin Board Paper, tissue paper:  Pacon

Green grass rugs:  Home Depot

Picnic table and adirondack chairs:  Zulily

White shelves (at each end of the green table), green rug in Listening Center: Ikea

Red rug:  Walmart

Red checked fabric:  Hobby Lobby

Plaid blankets and fur bins:  Target

Wooden stools and fur stool:  Homegoods

Chairs in front of puppet theater, stools in Writing Center, vintage desk:  Fratz Consignment Shop

Wooden crates in Reading Center:  Michaels

Borders:  Schoolgirl Style Shop

*A special thanks to Laci Beltz for helping me this room.  It was a huge undertaking and I couldn’t have done it without her help.  She volunteered her time to help alleviate some of my stress and I will be forever grateful.  Thank you, Laci!

Photos courtesy of E.C. Campbell Photography in Clarkston, Michigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. Jen says

    LOVE it all so very, very much!! Your creativity and passion shine through! As a fellow Kindergarten teacher, I would love to know how you manage your center time–are students allowed to pick their centers, do you assign them to certain centers, or some of both? How much time are you able to spend in this classroom each day? I teach a half-day program, also for a parochial school, and fitting everything in is such a challenge–especially while embracing the developmental needs of kids and also doing justice to standards!

  2. Rebecca says

    I am seriously speechless after seeing your beautiful second classroom! It honestly makes me so happy to see a room organised and decorated with so much care and detail. I know the kids would love it as would any adult who was able to be in the room. It’s such an amazing inspiration (though I have to focus on the paper chain making!!) and thank you so much for sharing it with us!

  3. Katie says

    Amazing room! I just love it! It makes me want to be a kid in your class. The décor is just perfect!

  4. Heidi says

    Oh boy! I think I found my new theme for next year….”Adventures in 2nd Grade!” My loopers will LOVE it!

  5. Shelley says

    Melanie,
    I have been waiting for this theme and it so exceeds my dreams! I am an avid camper and have been waiting for this for so long! Just a question and would love to have your opinion. I would love to create this for my classroom and I don’t have a second class like many others. To create all this and spend the money, would you leave it up all year? How would you change it for other seasons in dramatic play? I wouldn’t mind spending the money but it would have to last and keep their interest all year. Any thoughts on that would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for inspiring me!

  6. Wendy says

    Wow! This room is simply amazing! Definitely my favourite of all the ones you have shown us in the past. I would be super excited going to school as a teacher or student in that setting. Fabulous job!

  7. annie says

    Wow! This is amazing! I’m thinking of doing something very similar. What were the animal pillows from Land of Nod? I see the camper and fire pit but not the animal pillows. Thank you!!

  8. Brandy Beam says

    I LOVE all of your classrooms and I am pleased with my current décor, but I am considering this because it is AWESOME! The tent is a bit expensive for me but oh so cute!

  9. Lauren Kassner says

    I am so doing this for my classroom next year. Where did you get the trees that are on the windows in the classroom.?

  10. Sarah White says

    I haven’t actually been camping…but this makes me want to go!! What font did you use for the “Kindergarten” part of the Camp Kindergarten sign? I love it!

  11. Belen says

    WOW!!!! I saw your sneak peeks and was enchanted BUT THIS!!! Nothing was left undone. It’s perfect and I love it.
    I teach English to recent arrivals to the U.S.
    I would love a multicultural/small world theme. Do you have anything similar?

  12. Michelle Dees says

    Melanie, I love love love your classrooms! I’m a high school teacher, but you make me wish I taught elementary instead! I wonder if you’d ever consider showing us a few candid shots of how your room looks at the end of a day. I’m curious how the kiddos work with your organization and what it all looks like after they’ve enjoyed it. 🙂

  13. Melissa says

    I adored this collection when you originally posted AND I adore it now. what I would give to have a space where I could recreate some of this collection. Maybe one day. It is such a gorgeous calm/ peaceful space.
    Mels

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