I've been in the same classroom for about ten years now. I wanted to freshen it up a bit, but didn't want to spend too much money. I thought about what they always say on HGTV... a little paint is the easiest way to change the look of a room. So, I went down to Home Depot and bought a couple cans of spray paint.
I had this huge tan file cabinet that I needed to keep, but is was drab and boring. I used my two new favorite colors, teal and lime and went to town. I emptied out the drawers and moved it outside, so it took no time at all to dry. It also forced me to clean out my cabinet and I got rid of at least half of my stuff. I think it came out super cute.
Our language arts series has 5 reading books for each student (1.1, 1.2, 1.3....). Trying to follow common core, they are suggesting we teach by theme, so the books they read are no longer in sequential order. One week we might read a story from 1.2, the next 1.4. I have 33 first graders and this just seemed like a nightmare and a huge amount of time would be lost passing out and collecting books. I got out my can of paint, sprayed the outside of my cabinet lime. Then I painted each shelf a different color. I used a small bottle of craft paint I picked up at Michaels for less than 50¢. I needed five shelves, so I did the colors of the rainbow. Now instead of passing out and collecting the books, I can call them by teams and tell them to put their book back on the orange shelf or grab a book from the purple shelf. This seems like a simple change, but I just wanted to avoid unnecessary headaches and passing the books out myself or asking the kids to grab 1.2 just seemed problematic. And with 33 little ones, I'm already way outnumbered, so the last thing I need are problems I can avoid with a little planning.