Welcome to the Jungle

I hope visions of Axle Rose were swirling in your head as you were reading…ahem, SINGING…the title of this post :)  Yes, you can thank me for that later.

I was going through some old posts on my family blog the other day and I ran across an entry I made when I was teaching 2nd grade.  This was all before I started The First Grade Parade.  I took some pics of my 2nd grade classroom back in the day and thought I’d share just incase anyone is looking for some ideas.  I couldn’t find the original pics on my EHD…{I didn’t really look very hard}…so I had to copy these from the blog.  They aren’t the best quality, but you get the gist!  I absolutely LOVED having a jungle themed classroom!!! 

Random back story:  I inherited this room from my best friend, Kara {we like to call ourselves C/Kara squared because we’re high school like that}.  Kara was working at my previous school and she decided to stay at home with her babies.  I ended up interviewing for her position, got the job, and took her room.  She already had a jungle theme goin’ on in her room, so she left a lot decorated for me :) 

Here was my door.  I loved it.  It was the first door I ever had as a teacher.  The school I was in before this one had an open concept floor plan…NO doors!!!!!!  Just 3 walls and a big gaping hole where a door would’ve been a lifesaver.  It got LOUD in Kindergarten!  HA!


I painted my little door banner to fit the jungle theme.   The parents were responsible for decorating the hall and 2nd grade went with a grade level baseball theme for the hallways.  Loved it!


Now let’s take a walk on the wild side, shall we?!  On the left is a picture of my “Monkey Math” wall…that’s where the kids went for Mountain Math.  I made vines and oversized, stuffed leaves out of butcher paper to trail along the walls.    On the right was my white board.  This was clearly before the invention of Pinterest and teaching blogs…kinda plain and sad!


Just to the left of the white board was my little area for King/Queen of the Jungle {my star of the week board}.  Kara had the walls covered with black butcher paper and one of her moms came in and painted those animals!  I couldn’t get rid of them…they were TOO perfect!!!! 


Here are a few little nooks and crannies.  My sad little schedule on the left…I didn’t have my schedule cards back in the day.  My little teacher storage space in the middle and then to the right was my little welcome desk next to the door.


This was the heart of my classroom…and the reason the fire marshall wasn’t my best friend.  I LOVED that tree!  I made it using butcher paper and fake greenery.  The kids LOVED to read underneath it!!  As the year progressed, I would hang student work from it.  We did a little study on Stellaluna and I had little upside down bat writing projects hanging from the branches.  SO fun!   My student work wall was to the left and my word wall was on the right.  Right underneath the word wall was a little bench that housed all of my “listen to reading” supplies.  Directly behind that painted bench was my desk.  I couldn’t find any pictures of that, but it was a scary sight I’m sure!  You’re not missing anything!


Here are just a few more views.  The pic on the left was the view you’d see when you walked into the room.  The other two showcase my Café/Class Meeting area.  The snake on the wall was painted by the same mom! 


This was the first closed-door classroom I’d ever had and the first time I ever had to think about arranging a room with desks.  Prior to teaching 2nd grade, I was in Kindergarten for 7 years.  I was only working with tables when I taught K, so the desks sorta threw me for a loop!  HA!

I love to look back and remember how I used to do things.  I can definitely say I’ve come a LONG way!  I think we all have!!!  Especially since so many teachers are sharing their ideas online!  THANK YOU!!!!  Each one of you and all of your fabulous ideas have helped me do things SO much better than I ever could’ve done on my own! 

Now I’m off to start working on a theme for my NEW classroom!!!  Stay tuned!!!


  1. I thought for sure this post was going to reveal your new theme/classroom...but a blast from the past was just as fun to read! Thanks for sharing :)

    The Learning Tree

  2. You were amazing even before pinterest!! I love that little teacher storage cabinet!! Can't wait to see your new room!!

  3. Looking forward to hearing about your new classroom, grade level, and set-up! Is this a teaser that you are back in second?

  4. I really hope you are still teaching 1st! I LOVE getting ideas from your blog!!!

  5. This proves how amazing you were before amazing was all over the internet! Such a rock star through and through!

  6. I am so obsessed! It looks wonderful! :)


  7. I can't wait to see your new theme; I am sure Axel Rose would give you a jungle loud applause! SMILES

  8. LOVE your jungle theme!-Yvonne :)

  9. Love it!! My room was Jungle themed last year and it was my absolute favorite...but our school is changing themes again and we are required to follow along. So, this year it's Space. Which, should be fun too. I can't wait to check out your new room!!!!! :)

    Fun In First

  10. I know all about open classrooms. My classroom is that way, except we don't even have four walls. There is a class in front and back with no walls. We kinda made our own over the years with bookcases and such. And I have no bulletin boards! So seeing all these cute ideas on blogs and Pinterest really makes me sad. Especially when I want to try CAFE and D5.

  11. I love this room! I just made a tree for my classroom and I am pretty sure the fire marshal is going to hate me, oh well! =) Funny story (and so high school) My best friend's name is also Lauren, and we called ourselves Lauren Squared! It made me giggle when I read about you and your bestie! Love your blog, swing by if you have a chance!

    Miss Augustine's Kindergarten

  12. Oh my goodness! This is a FANTASTIC classroom. Such detail and EVERY component fits into your classroom jungle theme. Iam currently reworking my classroom theme and am also excited to share the final results. I will be checking back to see what you created for this year!

    Damien of The Reading Buddies

  13. Thanks for sharing...hmmmm, is sharing your 2nd grade pics a HINT to what grade level you may be moving to this year? It'd be one sad day for all of us firsties that are so obsessed with The First Grade Parade, lol!

    I so love all the decor in your room! Sadly, we cannot staple into the walls. I'm really hoping that pesky little rule goes away this year! Thanks for sharing!

    A+ Firsties

  14. Cara, I completely agree with you...it's amazing how much we all have changed as teachers since so many of us are blogging now. Thanks for sharing your ideas and being a true inspiration to soooo many of us:)
    Shining and Sparkling in First Grade

  15. Even pre-Pinterest it was darling!

  16. Wow, your students must love your classroom! It looks like so much fun to learn in. I love the way you did the 3D border around your boards. Thank you for sharing!



  17. What a gorgeous classroom! I want to read under the tree, too! :)

  18. Can't wait to see your new theme. The teacher next door to me has a jungle theme and does a play using the book Rumble in the Jungle. Our fire marshall is so strict they measure the percentage of walls we have covered with paper...ugg. So jealous of your pretty walls.
    Primary Paradise

  19. Love the jungle theme!! Can't wait to see your new room :)
    A Cupcake for the Teacher

  20. Love this post! I feel like I could have written the part about switching from tables to desks! Last year was my first year in first and my first year with DESKS. I really got thrown for a loop! My classroom is a huge mess right now because I switched rooms, so I feel your pain. It's kinda fun to redecorate things though... Watch out for that fire marshall!

    A Tale of 2 First Grades

  21. Is this a hint??? Tell me you're teaching 2nd grade!!

    Across the Hall in 2nd

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Your jungle-themed room looked great! You'll have to link it up here twhere we are hosting a classroom theme linky party. Then you will have to come back and link up your NEW room when you get it finished! Looking forward to seeing it!
    - Julia

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Adorable!

    I cannot wait to see your room this year...and of course, we are dying to know what grade you are teaching. =)

    If you get the chance, I would love for you to come read about the Hug your Heart jar I made. =)

    Heather's Heart

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Cara,

    I was not able to download the schedule cards. Do you have any other ideas on how I can do that. I could not get them through scribd and I could not download the PDF read due to my anti-virus software on my computer.

    Thank you,